Pros and Cons of solar energy in 2022

You can discover a lot of information online if you want to put solar panels on your house. Because of this, deciding if solar panels are the correct choice for you might be challenging.

We’ve put together a comprehensive summary that compares solar’s advantages and disadvantages to assist you.

Solar energy pros and cons

When thinking about installing solar panels for your home, it’s crucial to analyze the benefits and drawbacks of solar energy from the viewpoint of a homeowner.

Here are some of the more typical ones:

Main solar energy pros and cons

Pros of solar energyCons of solar energy
Reduces electric billHigh upfront cost
Insurance against rising power pricesIntermittent energy source
Solar is cheaper than everManufacturing panels has some impact on the environment
See a return on your investmentRequires space
Environmentally friendlyNot the best if you’re planning to move
Energy independence 

The argument for the average American homeowner to install solar panels for their home is now better than it has ever been, as the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these solar energy pros and cons.

Advantages of solar energy

1. Reduces your electric bill 

One of the main advantages of solar panels is that they can significantly reduce your electric bill. In many places, utilities are required to offer net metering, which enables homeowners to reduce their electric bills by using the energy generated by their solar panels.

The utility can then purchase the surplus energy they have. Their power bills will typically include this as a credit that may be applied to future electricity payments.

Solar panel installation can reduce your annual electric cost by more than $1,000 in several areas. Californians that switch to solar power save, on average, $99,181 over the course of their solar system!

2. Insurance against rising power prices 

The majority of homeowners are aware that electricity costs are rising. Over the past ten years, there has been a consistent rise in the cost of power, with an average annual increase of roughly $0.2. The price of electricity will keep increasing in the future, which means your electric bill will also keep increasing.

You are shielded from these escalating electricity expenses by solar panels. You are not required to purchase that costly power from your utility because you are producing your own energy. Thus, concerns about growing electric prices are now history! In fact, if you install solar, rising prices can be advantageous.

Say, for illustration, that the price your utility charges for a kilowatt-hour of power is 12 cents. Accordingly, if you used net metering, your utility would pay you 12 cents for each extra kWh of electricity your solar panels generated and sent to the grid.

Your power to the grid would also be worth 13 cents if your utility increased its pricing to 13 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

Therefore, each time your utility company raises its prices, net metering saves you more money!

3. Solar is cheaper than ever 

The cost of solar has decreased even as the price of power has increased. The cost of solar has decreased by over 70% over the last ten years, making it more affordable than ever. With these low costs, solar is now more affordable than ever for homes.

Utilizing solar incentives can make installing solar even more affordable. For instance, you might be qualified for the 30% federal tax credit if you install a solar system by the end of 2032.

This tax credit, which is deducted from your income taxes, is equal to 30% of the whole cost of your solar system. Numerous localities also provide various more solar incentives in addition to the federal tax credit.

4. See a return on your investment 

Your electric cost can be completely eliminated by solar panels, but they can also generate extra revenue. As we previously established, net metering enables you to make money by charging your utility for any excess energy your solar panels produce.

Other performance-based incentives exist in some jurisdictions, such as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which, depending on where you reside, might net you hundreds of dollars annually.

Your power bill savings and other incentives, along with the money you make through net metering, all go to covering the cost of your system. The payback period for a solar panel system might be as small as four years in places with all of these incentives.

Your solar panels will keep producing free electricity for your home once the system is paid off for the rest of its useful life!

5. Environmentally friendly 

The fact that solar energy is a renewable energy source is another key selling feature. This indicates that the resource doesn’t become exhausted as you use it. So, by converting sunlight that strikes the ground into electricity, we avoid utilizing up the sun’s energy.

Furthermore, there are no greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generated by solar panels. By using solar panels to generate electricity, nothing is discharged into the atmosphere. Clean energy is the only thing that has been produced.

6. Energy independence 

Homeowners that have solar panels can produce their own energy, providing them energy independence. In essence, this means that a solar-powered home is less reliant on the conventional electric grid. This gives you the opportunity to assume control and decide where your home gets its energy from.

On a bigger scale, switching to solar energy and other renewable sources would enable the United States to become energy independent. In contrast to presently, the US would not be as heavily dependent on foreign nations for its oil and gas needs.

Utilizing domestically produced energy and reducing reliance on imports is excellent for both national security and the economy of the United States.

Disadvantages of solar energy

1. High upfront cost 

One of the greatest disadvantages of solar panel systems is the high upfront cost. In the United States, solar energy now costs roughly $3.00 per watt as of January 2022. Therefore, the typical cost of a 6 kW solar panel installation would be $18,000 before the federal tax credit is taken into account.

According on your eligibility for incentives and the state where you live, a solar system’s real cost will vary.

Fortunately, there are ways to finance solar energy. Many times, you can be approved for a zero-down solar loan, allowing you to buy a solar system and still save money on your electricity bill.

2. Solar energy is an intermittent energy source 

There are three main reasons why solar is considered an intermittent source of power: 

  1. The sun doesn’t shine at night. Therefore solar panels don’t generate power at night.
  2. The intensity of the sun varies based on the location, the time of year, and the time of day.
  3. Cloud, snow, and foliage cover can have a significant effect on the amount of energy produced by solar panels.

The argument that solar power cannot be trusted for base load or mission-critical applications has been made using all of these concerns. However, this is altering as more affordable battery alternatives become available. Batteries enable homeowners to store solar energy and use it when their solar panels aren’t generating power.

The Tesla Powerwall, a 13.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, is the most well-liked residential solar battery. For household energy storage, several producers also provide excellent solar batteries, including Sonnen, LG, and BYD.

Continuous improvements in battery technology indicate that solar power’s intermittent nature might not be a problem for very long.

3. Solar panel manufacturing has some environmental impact 

Although there are no emissions produced during the generation of solar power, it is crucial to remember that solar panel production results in some pollution.

Some toxic chemicals, such as sulfur hexafluoride, which is more potent than carbon dioxide, are present in solar panels. But compared to sulfur hexafluoride, carbon dioxide has a significantly bigger effect on the climate.

Solar panels have a negligible environmental impact in comparison to the harm caused by the mining and burning of fossil fuels.

4. Solar panels require space 

Space is needed for solar panels in order to provide for energy needs. A roof usually always has ample room for installations in homes. However, there may be a space issue with massive grid-scale solar arrays.

This occurs as a result of the decreased power density of solar panels. Watts per square meter (W/m2) is a unit of measurement used to express the amount of power that may be produced by an energy source inside a specific space. Compared to fossil fuels, solar panels have a low power density.

This implies that more solar panels are required to provide the same quantity of energy as a coal plant. However, this assessment does not take into account the amount of land that was mined for fossil fuels.

The mining of coal so damages many acres of land, whereas the solar power plant does not, even though you would need both a huge solar power plant and a small coal plant.

5. You can’t take solar with you 

The cost of moving solar panels, should you decide to relocate, is one drawback of having them on your house. The net metering contract you have with your utility is attached to the home. Additionally, it can be expensive to hire someone to take down and reinstall your solar panels.

However, solar panels do increase the value of your home, so even if you decide to relocate, the value of your solar panels will probably be reflected in a higher sale price.

It is advisable to buy your solar panels outright if you do want to relocate soon. You will need the new owner to take over your deal whether you have a solar lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA), which can be a problem.

Should you install solar panels?

The benefits of solar energy much exceed the drawbacks. Solar installation is now more affordable than ever, the solar tax credit has been extended through 2035, and the cost of power will only go up. You may start saving money as soon as you convert to solar power.

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