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Pros and cons of solar energy
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Pros and cons of solar energy

15 mins 21 Sep 2020
Today everyone seems to be talking about solar energy. The Internet, TV, newspapers… even next-door neighbors! It's for the sake of our planet, they say, that we should install PV systems and go solar. If we don't, we are the fifth wheel to the coach of Sustainable Development, which drives society towards a better and greener world. But are the benefits of solar energy really worth it? Let's weigh some of the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy and see if it is another trend or an essential part of the new reality.

PROS of Solar Energy

1. Reduce your electricity bills

1. Reduce your electricity bills

This one is a pretty straightforward, but weighty advantage. Going solar opens up new opportunities, such as generating your own electricity and offsetting your electric costs by selling the excess energy to the utility. Solar panels can save you a substantial chunk of change, an average of $100 per month, which means zero electricity bill for residents of some states. Check the map to calculate how much solar panels might save you.

2. Invest in the future

2. Invest in the future

Investing in solar energy will pay off in the near future. There are awesome solar incentives in the U.S., thanks to which solar panels can turn you a profit in addition to bill savings. Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and net metering are the key benefits of solar panels. They allow you to earn bill credits or even extra cash as your system produces electricity.

If you are lucky to live in the area that has both incentives, the payback time for your solar panel system will be as little as 4 years. Once the PV system is paid off, your solar panels will generate free power for your home for the lifetime of the system! Not to mention that the energy rates are increasing all the time and the demand for clean energy now is getting higher than ever.

3. Become less reliant on electric utility

3. Become less reliant on electric utility

If you decide to go solar, you should also consider how much energy-independent you want to become. With a basic grid-tie system you draw the energy from the utility only in case of deficiency. Off-grid and hybrid systems negate that necessity allowing to store the excess energy for later. Hybrids also give you an option to draw the power from the utility during off-peak hours or put it on the grid when the rates are the highest. If you prefer to live on your far away ranch, consider an off-grid panel system. While extending the grid costs a fortune, solar panels are a cheap alternative to becoming powered-up and energy-independent. If you want to know more about different panel systems check out our grid-tie, off-grid and hybrid panel system comparison guide.

4. Produce less greenhouse emissions

4. Produce less greenhouse emissions

Another advantage of renewable energy is that you join the global fight against carbon dioxide emissions. Over 25% of the World's greenhouse emissions come from fossil fuels. As solar technology doesn't imply fuel combustion, it doesn't affect the environment as much as natural gases, oil and coal.

5. Increase your home value

5. Increase your home value

You probably love your home the way it is, but there are plenty of circumstances which might force you to move house. To keep an eye on your property value is always a good idea. Installing solar panels in your house can increase its value by up to 4.1%, according to Zillow's research.

Solar energy benefits are quite easy to find, aren't they? But our solar energy pros and cons review won't be complete without describing its disadvantages.

CONS of Solar Energy

1. Might face legal obstacles installing the panels

1. Might face legal obstacles installing the panels

We all share the goal of making the Earth a better place. Yet not all the states actively encourage clean energy usage. Some of them simply lack solar access laws, some go as far as blocking clean energy initiatives. However, even if your state provides solar access laws, homeowners association (HOA) may still put restrictions on how you install solar panels on your property. So, if you plan on going solar, you definitely should check how solar-orientated your state is.
Solar access laws facilitate solar panels installation and usage.

2. Can't use your energy credits at a new place

2. Can't use your energy credits at a new place

Once the solar system is installed, it becomes an integral part of your house. Net Metering Agreement fixes your energy credits to your property. If you decide to move somewhere else, you won't be able to use your energy credits there. The only way out is to literally move the house, which is hardly an option.

3. Need a battery to accumulate energy for the night

3. Need a battery to accumulate energy for the night

As the sun doesn't shine at night, solar is called an intermittent source of energy. To use solar power at nighttime, you will have to purchase a battery bank. It stores the energy gathered during the day for later use and keeps you powered up during the outages. Not only is the battery expensive, but it also needs to be replaced every 5-10 years.

4. Depend on the weather

4. Depend on the weather

Modern solar technologies made it possible to collect solar energy on cloudy and even on rainy days, but at much lower rates. The power output specified by the manufacturer is achieved only on sunny and clear days, and these can be rare in some states. You should take into account that solar panel efficiency and amount of money saved may differ from state to state.

5. Need professional help to dismantle the panels

5. Need professional help to dismantle the panels

It is hard to foresee how long you will live in your house for. Once you decide to move on, you will probably want to take your solar panels with you. However, removing the panels is expensive. An average bill of dismantling works is about $1,500. Some may want to do all the work themselves, but we strongly recommend against it. Don't risk your health or your panels and hire the professionals.

Summary Pros

Summary Pros

    1. Reduced electricity bills
    2. Investment in the future
    3. Lesser electrical utility reliance
    4. Little environmental impact
    5. Increased property value

    Summary Cons

    Summary Cons

      1. Legal obstacles in some states
      2. Energy credits fixed to the property
      3. Need a battery to store energy for later use
      4. Low output on cloudy days
      5. Expensive dismantling works
      Illustrations – Marina Fionova