Solar power has become more readily available to the average homeowner in recent years, but is it an economical option and how many will you need to install? With solar panels, you can harness the clean, renewable energy provided by the sun but the panels themselves can be quite costly. Before you decide whether to make the switch to solar, you need to consider the pros and cons and make the choice that’s right for you.
Pros for Solar Energy
The top three advantages of solar energy are its low monthly cost, its environmental benefit, and its ability to add to the value of your home. When you install solar panels on your home, you no longer have to rely on your utility company for electricity – that means you don’t have to worry about constantly changing utility rates. In many cases, switching to solar power can drastically reduce or totally eliminate your electric bill. Solar panels can last for 25 to 30 years, or more, which could equate to decades of savings. For this and other reasons, having solar panels installed can greatly improve the value of your home, should you decide to sell it.
Not only can having solar panels save you money on your electric bill, but there are a number of solar incentives out there which might give you a serious tax credit on the cost of the solar panels. You might also be able to take advantage of net metering or solar renewable energy credits to earn money or bill credits for the extra energy you don’t use. As other homeowners are faced with rising costs for energy, you enjoy a low fixed rate or no charge at all. Finally, switching to solar power can greatly reduce your carbon footprint because it is a clean, renewable source of energy.
Cons for Solar Energy
The top three disadvantages of solar energy are the upfront cost, the slow return on investment, and the fact that it is not ideal for all homes. Yes, solar energy can save you a lot of money but you have to factor in the upfront cost of purchasing and installing the solar panels. Even if you choose to lease the panels instead of buying them yourself, you still have a monthly payment to the solar energy company and, at the end of your lease, you might still have to pay to purchase or upgrade the panels. If you do choose to purchase the panels you’re looking at an investment of up to $30,000 – maybe more – and it might take twenty years for your solar panels to earn back that money.
Another downside of solar energy is that not every home is an ideal candidate. You need a large, square roof with direct south-facing sun exposure for the maximum benefit. If your roof is slated too much, shaded too much, or facing the wrong direction, it could limit the efficacy of your solar panels. The lower your solar energy output, the lower your savings will be as well. In some cases, it doesn’t end up being worth it to have the panels at all, except of course of the environmental benefits which are always applicable even if the financial benefits are lost.
As you can see, there are convincing arguments to be made both for and against solar energy. The environmental benefits of solar energy are indisputable – the real question is whether it is a cost-effective and practical option for homeowners. Take the information above into account and do some additional research to determine whether solar energy is the right choice for your home.