Solar Energy Pros and Cons

Solar power has become increasingly popular in recent years. As more homeowners are looking for ways to adopt eco-friendly habits and go green, the benefits of solar power and other renewable energy sources can help us to reduce our carbon footprints. However, the high up-front costs and space requirements of solar panel installation put off many people from installing them on their homes without first considering solar energy advantages and disadvantages. Many people in areas without a sufficient amount of sunlight also may not benefit as much as those in sunnier locales.

Read on to learn the pros and cons of solar panels and decide which option is right for you.

Advantages of Solar Power

One of the biggest benefits of solar energy is that it is environmentally friendly. Solar panels do not produce any air pollution or greenhouse gases and are more sustainable than fossil fuels like natural gas. Once solar panels are installed, they have a life span of 25 to 30 years. Every kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar energy that is generated significantly reduces the emission of harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Another one of the advantages of solar energy is that you may be eligible for government tax credits and rebates. There is a federal residential solar energy credit that homeowners can claim for a percentage of the cost of installation of the system. This can help offset the initial cost of installation, making it more affordable for people interested in renewable energy. Additionally, many states offer incentives and rebates for individuals who chose to use renewable energy sources in their homes.

A further solar advantage is that solar panels can help you save money on your energy bill. Depending on which state you live in and how much sunlight you get each day, solar panels can end up saving you thousands of dollars over the course of their life span. While the costs to install solar panels may seem high, they last for a long time, mitigating the costs over time.

Not only can solar panels help you save money on your monthly energy bill, but they can also increase your home’s value. A recent study showed that having solar installed can increase a home’s value up to 4.1%, which is more than $9,000 for a median-valued home in the United States. This is another one of the added benefits of solar panels for individuals who plan on selling their homes in a few years.

What Are the Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

One of the most commonly cited disadvantages of solar energy use in the home is the high cost of installing the panels. Solar energy currently has the highest initial cost of any form of renewable energy, and depending on where you live, the return on your investment may not be that high. Even though tax credits and rebates exist, many Americans can’t afford the high up-front cost of solar panels.

Additionally, homes that have a limited amount of sunlight annually may not benefit from installing solar panels. Residents in locations with latitudes far from the equator, like Canada, may not get enough sunlight for the installation costs of solar panels to be worth the investment. Similarly, locations that have a high percentage of rainy or cloudy days might not have enough sunlight to generate enough power.

Because solar power relies on the energy of the sun, another one of the disadvantages of solar power is that it can be somewhat unreliable. If homes are off the traditional power grid, they should have a solar battery. Solar batteries are able to store solar energy and discharge energy when the panels are not able to generate enough power.

Written by Joe Robertson