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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Solar



Solar power is a revolutionary energy solution for property owners of any type. But like any energy decision, choosing to go solar has various advantages and disadvantages you should keep in mind.

The main advantages of solar energy:

  1. Solar can drastically reduce or eliminate your electric bills. This top benefit of solar panels is pretty straightforward – when you install solar power for your home, you generate your own electricity, become less reliant on your electric utility and reduce your monthly electric bill. A solar panel system typically has a 25-35 year lifespan, meaning you can cut your electricity costs for decades to come by going solar.

  2. Solar improves the value of your home. The consumer reality and the undeniable benefits of having solar panels on a home complements recent studies that found property values increase after solar is installed. Even if you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment when you sell your home.

  3. Solar reduces carbon emissions. Solar is a clean, renewable source of energy that can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lower our impact on the natural environment. Unlike traditional fossil fuels like coal and oil, solar energy does not lead directly to pollutants (like carbon dioxide) being released into the atmosphere and water supply. Even compared to nuclear energy, solar comes out on top in terms of being a more environmentally friendly solution.

  4. Going solar gives you control over rising energy costs. Many homeowners face anxiety when it comes to their electricity bills because, in most scenarios, there is nothing you can do to control your utility electricity rate. While the cost of solar has decreased by more than 70 percent in the past decade, the cost of electricity has risen by about five percent, and that trend is expected to continue. Going solar puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to energy generation. Utilities are quickly adapting to the rising adoption of renewable energy and the U.S. government is increasing its goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, which means there’s really never been a better time to be energy autonomous.

  5. Solar can pay you money while you’re earning back your investment. Due to a number of solar incentives in the U.S., solar panels can actually turn you a profit in addition to generating bill savings that pay off the cost of the system. Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and net metering are two key advantages of solar energy that allow you to earn bill credits (or even extra cash) as your system produces electricity. You can be compensated for the electricity that your solar panels generate. If you live in a state where either of these incentives apply, you can expect both immediate and long-term returns from your solar investment.

The disadvantages of going solar:

  1. Solar panels don’t work for every type of roof Rooftop solar panels are installed by connecting a mounting system (also known as “racking”) to your roof. Certain roofing materials used in older or historical homes, such as slate or cedar tiles, can be difficult for solar installers to work with. If your home has skylights or other rooftop additions like roof decks, the solar installation process may be difficult or costly. If your home doesn’t qualify for a rooftop solar installation, you can install ground-mounted solar panels or buy a share in a community solar garden.

  2. Solar isn’t ideal if you’re about to move. Solar is a great financial investment, but it can take some time to reach the break-even point. The average solar panel payback period in the U.S. is around seven and a half years. For a young homeowner who may be moving in the coming years, putting solar panels on his or her roof might feel like an unworthy investment. But solar can improve your property value and increase your return when you do sell your home. So if you plan to buy your system with a cash purchase or loan, this disadvantage of solar energy can be easily avoided.

  3. If your electricity costs are low, so are your solar savings. The ultimate benefit of solar energy is that it will reduce your use of utility-provided electricity and save you money every month as a result. However, that condition assumes a homeowner has sizable electric bills to begin with. For a homeowner in a state where the cost of electricity is 25+ percent lower than the national average, installing a solar panel system isn’t nearly as attractive as it is to a homeowner in Hawaii who pays more than double the average electric rate.

  4. If you can’t access solar financing, up-front solar costs can be intimidating. The total out-of-pocket price tag for a solar panel system depends on tax credits, rebates, and the financing option you choose. Though you can easily get a figure for the average cost of solar in your state or even a personalized estimate for your home, the simple answer is that the up-front cost of solar is sizable if you don’t qualify for a zero-down solar loan.

  5. Finding quality, local solar installers and comparing quotes can be difficult. Solar is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and there are plenty of companies that are deploying aggressive sales tactics to get their fair share of the market. As a result, for many people, shopping for solar can be a stressful and confusing scenario. Luckily, there are easier ways to shop for solar that puts the homeowner in control. Take your time to do some comparison-shopping that allows you to review solar quotes from top pre-screened installers in your area.


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