Solar Energy: What Are The Key Conclusions?
Solar energy is an incredibly powerful and important renewable resource. It is a free, unlimited resource that can generate electricity, heat water, and even power automobiles. Solar energy is efficient, cost-effective, and, more importantly, doesn’t generate pollution. Solar energy is also one of the most sustainable sources, as it will never run out and can only increase as technology evolves.
Solar energy is already being successfully used in many areas, particularly in remote locations where other sources are unreliable or too costly to deploy. Solar holds great promise for the future and is essential to a low-carbon future.
If you want to install solar panels on your home, a wealth of information is available. This might make determining whether or not solar panels are suitable for you challenging.
To assist you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list that analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of solar.
Solar energy pros and cons
- lowers the electric bill
- Protection against rising energy costs
- Solar is now more affordable than ever.
- Look for a return on your investment.
- Environmentally conscious
- Energy self-sufficiency
- High initial investment
- a source of intermittent energy
- Panel manufacturing has an environmental impact and necessitates the use of space.
- Requires space
- Not ideal if you intend to relocate.
The case for the ordinary American homeowner installing solar panels for their home is stronger than ever, as the advantages outweigh the negatives.
Let’s look deeper at each of these advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.
The Benefits of Solar Energy
lowers electric bill
One of the most significant advantages of solar panels is that they may give you significant savings on your power bill. Many states require utilities to provide net metering, which allows homeowners to offset their electric bills with energy generated by solar panels.
They can then sell the extra energy to the utility company. This is often credited to their energy account as a credit that may be used to offset future electricity expenditures.
In many areas, putting solar panels in your house may result in annual savings of more than $1,000. California residents that go solar save an average of $99,181 over the life of their solar system!
Net metering will not be around indefinitely. Net metering rules are evolving across the country. This implies that solar panels no longer save households as much money as they once did! Even solar-friendly California revised its net metering regulation, resulting in lesser solar savings. As a result, it's critical to go solar as soon as possible to ensure you obtain the greatest net metering rates available!
Protection against rising energy costs
Most householders are aware that power is becoming increasingly costly. Electricity prices have risen gradually over the last decade, with an average annual increase of around $0.2. Electricity prices will continue to climb in the future, which means your energy bill will rise as well.
Solar panels shield you from growing energy expenses. You don’t have to buy that pricey electricity from the utility since you generate your own. As a result, growing electric expenses are a thing of the past! Rising prices may be beneficial when installing solar.
Assume your utility costs 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of power. With net metering, your utility will pay 12 cents for every kWh of extra power produced by your solar panels and sent to the grid. If your utility boosts its electricity price to 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, the power you supply to the system is worth 13 cents.
So, each time your utility company raises its rates, net metering saves you more money!
Solar is now more affordable than ever
While electricity prices continue to rise, solar costs continue to fall. Solar is now more affordable than ever; the cost has dropped by more than 70% in the last decade. These low prices make solar more affordable than ever for homes.
Solar installation is less expensive if you use solar incentives. For example, if you install a solar system before the end of 2032, you can take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit.
This tax credit equals 30% of the total solar system cost and is applied to your income taxes. In addition to the federal tax credit, numerous other solar incentives are available locally.
Look for a return on your investment
Solar panels, like purchasing a home, are an investment! You pay a one-time fee but save money on your power bills in the long run and protect yourself from escalating utility costs. You can save even more money depending on the incentives in your area!
Other performance-based incentives, such as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), are available in some jurisdictions and can earn hundreds of dollars annually, depending on where you reside.
The money you make through net metering, along with additional incentives, helps you pay off the cost of your system. In regions with all of these incentives, the payback period for a solar panel installation can be as low as four years.
Once your system has been paid off, your solar panels will continue to generate free electricity for your home for the rest of their lives!
Another significant advantage of solar is that it is a renewable energy source. This indicates that using the resource does not deplete the source. So, we do not deplete the sun’s energy by converting the sunlight that strikes the earth into electricity.
Furthermore, electricity generated by solar panels emits no greenhouse gases. Nothing is released into the atmosphere when we generate electricity with solar panels. Clean energy is the only thing that has been generated!
Solar panels enable homes to generate electricity, providing energy independence. This implies that a solar home is less dependent on the regular power grid. This lets you seize control of your home’s energy supply and direct where it comes from.
On a larger scale, switching to solar and other renewable energies would allow the United States to attain energy independence. The United States would not have to rely as largely on other countries for oil and gas as it does now.
Using energy produced in the United States rather than relying on foreign sources benefits national security and the economy.
Solar energy’s disadvantages
High initial investment
One of the most significant disadvantages of solar panel systems is their high initial cost. As of January 2023, the average cost of solar in the United States was around $3.00 per watt. Before the federal tax credit, a 6 kW solar panel system would cost around $18,000 on average.
The actual cost of a solar system may vary depending on your state and the subsidies you qualify for.
Fortunately, solar financing solutions are available. You may qualify for a zero-down solar loan in many circumstances, allowing you to save money on your power bill while reaping the benefits of having a solar system.
Solar energy is a variable energy source
Solar is considered an intermittent source of power for three primary reasons:
- At night, the sun does not shine. As a result, solar panels do not generate power at night.
- The sun’s intensity varies depending on location, time of year, and day of the week.
- The number of solar energy panels produced can be significantly influenced by cloud, snow, and vegetation cover.
All these factors have been used to argue that solar power is unsuitable for base load or mission-critical applications. However, this is changing as more cost-effective battery solutions become available. Batteries enable homeowners to store solar electricity and draw energy from them when their solar panels are not producing energy.
The Tesla Powerwall, a 13.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, is the most popular home solar battery. Other manufacturers like Sonnen, LG, and Enphase also make excellent solar batteries for home energy storage. Ongoing developments in battery storage indicate that intermittent solar electricity may be fine for a long time.
The production of solar panels has an environmental impact
While the power generated by solar panels is emission-free, it is important to note that manufacturing solar panels produces some pollution. Some solar panels emit hazardous pollutants, such as sulfur hexafluoride, which is more potent than carbon dioxide. However, carbon dioxide has a much greater impact on the climate than sulfur hexafluoride.
Solar panels have a negligible environmental impact compared to the damage caused by extracting and burning fossil fuels.
Solar panels require space
Solar panels require room to satisfy energy demands. A roof will nearly always have ample room for residential installations. However, space can be a concern when it comes to huge grid-scale solar projects.
This is due to the decreased power density of solar panels. Power density is the amount of power that can be extracted from an energy source in a given area, measured in watts per square meter (W/m2). Solar panels have a poor power density when compared to fossil sources.
This means that a larger area of solar panels is required to produce the same quantity of electricity as a coal plant. However, the amount of land mined for fossil fuels should be considered in this calculation.
So, while both a large solar power plant and a small coal plant are required, coal mining destroys acres upon acres of land, whereas solar power plants have a lower environmental impact.
You cannot bring sunshine with you
One downside of solar panels on your house is that moving them might be costly if you relocate. Your utility’s net metering agreement is attached to the property. Finding someone to remove and reinstall your solar panels might also be expensive.
However, solar panels add value to your home, so even if you move, the value of your solar panels is likely to be reflected in a higher sale price. If you want to relocate shortly, buying your solar panels outright is advisable. If you have a solar lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA), the new owner must take over your agreement, which can be difficult.
Should you consider installing solar panels?
The benefits of solar energy exceed the drawbacks. The cost of installing solar is currently lower than ever, the solar tax credit has been extended until 2035, and the power price will only grow more. The sooner you convert to solar power, the sooner you can start saving.
- Before making a choice, homeowners should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of solar panels.
- Some primary benefits of solar panel installation are lower utility bills, a higher return on investment, energy independence, and environmental friendliness.
- Installing solar does have certain drawbacks, such as high upfront costs, the need for a lot of space, and the inability to take them with you if you decide to move.
- Installing solar panels is a smart investment for households in general.
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Is an environmental and renewable energy specialist with over 10 years of expertise within the renewable and solar industry.
With over a decade of experience in various organizations within the field, He runs MySolarPerks as a passion-driven project that promotes sustainable renewable energy ideas and products.