Fun facts about solar

Pros and cons of solar energy

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 do so, we automatically become the fifth wheel to the coach called Sustainable Development, which is driving society towards a better and greener world. But is solar energy really worth it? Let's weigh some advantages and disadvantages of solar energy to see if it is another trend or an essential part of modern life.

PROS of Solar Energy

1. Reduced 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 below to calculate how much solar panels might save you.

2. Higher value of your home

No matter how much you love your two storey house by the ocean, nobody can guarantee you will live there till the last breath. There are plenty of circumstances which might force you to move house. So, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your property value and make sure it's increasing, for example, by having solar panels installed. According to Zillow's research, installing solar panels in a home can potentially increase the home's value by up to 4.1% more than comparable homes with no solar panels.

3. Energy independence

Having solar panels makes you less reliant on the electric utility, which comes in handy in case of outages, for instance. It means you'll never have your bread half-baked, TV show half-watched or clothes half-washed. Take power into your own hands and control where your home is getting its energy from.

4. Eco-friendly

Another advantage of solar energy is that it is clean and renewable. Opting for solar, you will join in the global fight against carbon dioxide emissions. Solar energy has a substantially reduced impact on the environment compared to fossil fuels, such as natural gases, oil and coal. It is achieved due to the technology behind it, which does not require any fuel combustion.

5. Investment in the future

The last but not the least thing to keep in mind: investing in solar energy will pay off in the near future. There are some 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 two key benefits of solar that 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 four years. Once the PV system is paid off, your solar panels will generate free power for your home for the lifetime of the system!

Well, advantages were quite obvious and easy to find. Let's now have a look at 5 disadvantages of solar energy to make our review unbiased and objective.

CONS of Solar Energy

1. High initial cost

There's no such thing as free energy. Even if the production costs are low, you do need to fork over quite a sum for your PV system. A typical 6kW system would cost you $11,544 after claiming the 26% solar tax credit. Moreover, don't forget about installation costs and some extra expenditures, because you might want to buy a battery or an optimizer in addition to the basic kit. The actual cost of a solar system depends on the state and the incentives that you qualify for.

2. Solar panel doesn't work at night

Some experts believe that moonlight can also power PV cells, so your panel might produce around 10 W a night. It will be enough to keep the light on in the bathroom all night. Just in case.

It is obvious, but yes, the sun doesn't shine at night. And this is why solar is called an intermittent source of energy, which cannot be relied on 24/7. However, there is always a way out, such as a cost-effective battery solution. Batteries will allow you to store the solar power generated during the day and draw energy from it at night, if needed.

3. Weather dependence

Modern solar technologies make it possible to collect solar energy even during cloudy and rainy days. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the PV system drops. The power output specified by the manufacturer is achieved only on sunny and clear days, which can be rare in some states. So, if solar panel efficiency may differ from state to state, which should also be taken into account.

4. Additional space

Power density is how much power can be derived from an energy source within a certain area, measured in watts per square meter (W/m2).

If you buy a residential solar power system, you are unlikely to face the space issue, since a roof will almost always have enough space. However, it may be a problem with large grid-scale solar installations. The thing is that solar panels have a lower power density in comparison to those of fossil fuels. This means, for example, that you need a larger area of solar panels to produce the same amount of energy that a coal plant would.

5. You can't take solar system with you

Once the solar system is installed, it becomes an integral part of your house. First, removing solar panels may be even more expensive than installing them. Second, the net metering agreement with your utility is fixed to the property, which means that you won't be able to use your energy credits at a new place. So, the only way out is to literally move the house.

Summary Pros

1. Reduced electricity bills
2. Increase your home value
3. Energy independence
4. Eco-friendly
5. Investment in the future

Summary Cons

1. High initial cost
2. Solar panel doesn't work at night
3. Weather dependence
4. Additional space
5. You can't take solar system with you

With a degree in Linguistics, Tatiana uses her vast experience in technical translation to deliver complicated concepts in simple words. She joined the company in 2020 as a contributing writer to become the person to influence Blog’s development.

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