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The Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

The good news is there are a lot of advantages to adding a solar panel system to your home. Still, there are a few drawbacks that you may not have thought about.
Solar Panels
9 minutes
Written by:
Joey Cheek
Updated on:
December 9, 2022

Making the decision to invest in solar panels is a big one and one that's worth making after looking at both the pros and cons of solar panels. Not only is solar power a significant investment you’ll make in your home, but it is also a big change in how you power your home. The good news is there are a lot of advantages to adding a solar panel system to your home. Still, there are a few drawbacks that you may not have thought about. If you are considering moving to renewable energy with the use of solar energy systems, we at SmartSolar.org can help. Reach out to us now to learn a bit more about the use of solar panels and what it could mean for your home.

Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

As you consider your investment in solar panels, spend some time learning about solar energy, including how it works, what you can expect from a solar energy system, and how it works to produce electricity to power your home. Turn to reliable sources for additional information on how solar energy works, such as the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Understanding how the system works can help you to see the value of adding them to your home.

Solar Energy Pros

Here are some of the most common reasons people turn to solar power today.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

If you want to do your part to reduce the impact of energy consumption on the planet, you'll benefit from moving to solar power. One of the most important solar power benefits for the plant is that this type of solar does not rely on the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, generate carbon emissions that damage air quality. They are also significantly limited and will eventually run out. That's not the same with solar energy – there is no limit on it, and it helps you reduce your carbon footprint.

Reduce or eliminate electric bills

Solar panels take you off the electric grid, for the most part. When you install solar panels on your home, the panels will produce electricity to power most of your home’s needs. That means that you are using the sun’s energy to produce energy instead of pulling energy from the electrical grid managed by the local utility company.

That’s important to realize when considering solar energy worth. Using solar panels allows you to see your electric bills drop significantly, and sometimes they are fully eliminated due to using solar panels. The energy produced by the sun hitting the solar panel, which is then converted into electricity and stored in a solar battery, does not cost you anything to create after the initial cost of the solar panels. That means you can see your bill drop to almost nothing in some areas, saving you money month after month. That also helps you beat rising electricity costs – your costs are not likely to rise even as your neighbors’ costs do.

Installing solar is more affordable than ever

If you want to do your part to reduce the environmental impact of your home, investing in solar panels can help. You may know that solar panel costs have come down significantly in the last decade, dropping as much as 70 percent in some cases. This has enabled more people to generate power for their homes without relying on utility companies to do it for them.

As you consider the initial costs for solar panels, also recognize that there are a few ways to save money. That's due to solar incentives that are often available at the federal, state, and local levels. You may qualify for a solar tax credit, for example, if you've invested in solar panels that qualify.

Solar panels can improve your home’s value

The investment in solar panels could help to make your home more attractive to home buyers in the future. It may also increase your home’s overall value. Many of today’s homeowners are looking for ways to tap into solar energy, and buying a home with a system already there will be well worth it. With rising power prices, if you plan to sell your home in the coming months to years, having solar cells on your home could help many people make the decision to buy your home instead of another.

Net metering could help you save even more

If you produce excess energy through your solar cells, you may be able to sell that excess energy back to the electric grid and utility company. That could mean that you are eliminating your electricity bills while also improving your overall ability to make some extra money. Keep in mind that net metering is different in each state. You can check out your state’s net metering rules before deciding to invest in solar cells. Solar companies can also shed some light on this for you.

Become energy independent

There are a lot of reasons to make the move to solar panels. You may want lower energy bills and a renewable energy source. Yet, it is also important to consider energy independence. If you want to be free from the risks of not having electricity when you need it – such as a storm taking down your power for long periods – then the move towards solar installation may be worthwhile.

Solar Panel Cons

The cons of solar energy are out there, and they differ from one area to the next. It is a good idea to fully understand your limitations regarding energy production and overall cost before you switch to this energy source as your sole option. Here are a few of the most common disadvantages of solar panels.

Solar panels can be expensive in some cases

While the cost of solar panels has fallen significantly over the last few years, the investment is still a significant one that you need to consider as you decide whether or not to make the switch. It’s a good idea to meet with solar installers to discuss the needs of your home. Then, work with them to determine the actual cost of installing solar for your home.

If the initial cost exceeds what you’re willing to pay, you may wish to consider alternatives. For example, you can use solar loans to help cover the cost. Keep in mind that if you do this, the solar loan will come with interest, which means your expenses are higher, and the value of installing solar on your home may be a bit lower.

Solar doesn’t work everywhere

While solar energy is present worldwide, some areas may not have enough direct sunlight to make the investment in a solar panel system beneficial. Even with solar energy storage to pick up indirect sunlight, you may find that the solar panel system cannot provide enough energy for your home.

Before you decide this is not the right decision for you, do some research. You do not have to live in a hot climate with direct sunlight daily. Discuss the amount of energy produced by homeowners in your area with a solar panel system. Talk to solar installers about the financial benefit and how much your electric bill will actually go down. If it’s not enough, this may not be a viable investment for your property.

Your home has to be ready for it

Solar panels generate electricity best when they are placed on the roof of the home. The roof needs to be facing the right direction to pick up the solar radiation at a high enough level to convert it into energy you can use. If your home is not facing the right direction, that's an issue.

The other factor to talk to solar installers about is whether or not the roof’s condition is in good shape. Solar panel systems can be heavy and require a roof that’s in good condition. That does not mean you need a brand-new roof, but it does mean you’ll need to ensure it is structurally stable enough for the solar panel system.

Installing solar panels is hard work

Adding a solar system to your home may be your ideal goal. Still, it is also important to consider the overall process of installing solar panels. It is often best to have a professional install solar panels on your home. That is because it needs to be done properly to minimize any risk of damage to the roof or the solar panels themselves. More so, professional solar installation may be a requirement to ensure your solar panel warranty is in place. If you don’t want to have a professional do so, you may find this is one of the solar energy cons you cannot overlook.

In nearly all situations, you will need to have solar batteries as a part of your home solar system. Batteries help you to store excess solar energy when it is collected. That way, you have power for all of your needs, whether the sun is shining or not. Investment in solar panel batteries is common, but it is a cost to consider when determining if you should invest in solar. A solar installer can give you more insight into the space solar panels and batteries need to have in your home and how you can manage the entire process.

Let SmartSolar Help You

If you feel the solar energy benefits are ideal in your situation, it may be time to consider the move to clean energy. Solar panels can be an excellent step into improving your home’s energy independence while reducing many of your frustrations with rising energy prices. Let SmartSolar help you. We can provide you with more information about how well solar energy will work for your home or business, giving you insight into what solar panels produce in your area, the options for excess energy production in your region, and the overall cost of solar panel installation. Contact us now to learn more.

Joey Cheek

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have additional questions about using solar panels in your home or business. Our team at SmartSolar is always available to answer them. Here are a few common questions we receive.

What Are the Major Drawbacks to Solar Power?

The biggest drawbacks to adding a solar power system to your home are that it may not yield enough power to reduce your electricity bills enough, and there is a substantial cost to installing solar panel systems on your home that can be hard to pay for out of pocket. Though solar technology continues to improve, understanding solar energy disadvantages can help you determine if these factors impact you and, if so, if there are other solutions available.

What Is the Biggest Problem with Solar Panels?

The biggest challenge with solar panels is their efficiency. Solar panels convert a small amount of the solar radiation they receive through direct sunlight into usable energy. That means the best quality solar panels require a significant amount of direct sunlight to work at their best. If you have old solar panels, they are not likely to be able to generate as much power as you may need to get off the energy grid. The key in this situation is to ensure you have the best possible solar energy system in place and that they the solar panels produce as much energy as possible in your area.

Meet the author:

Joey Cheek

Joey Cheek spent 10 years on the US National Speedskating Team where he competed in two Olympic Games, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. He attended Princeton before diving into the startup and tech world. In 2011 he launched a livestreaming platform for sports before leading a team of engineers building next-gen news and content apps for Fortune 100 companies. He is the CEO and co-founder of SmartSolar.org, whose mission is to move the earth to cheap, abundant, carbon-free energy.

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