On every corner, there is a solar panel salesperson. It could be challenging to distinguish between sales presentations, gimmicks, and the actual benefits of solar energy. Choosing to invest in solar energy may be a significant financial decision. The cost of installing a domestic solar panel system is substantial. It is something you cannot escape for at least twenty years. There are many different aspects to take into account while choosing solar. The weighting of all pros and cons of solar panels will depend on your energy and financial goals.
Solar power is an effective way to keep the environment safe and balanced. But there are also disadvantages of solar energy, which we will cover in this blog. Before that, let’s figure out what is solar energy.
What Is Solar Energy?
The sun is a powerful energy source; even if we cannot gather a portion of its energy, harnessing this power by installing solar panels can significantly impact the globe.
While it has been extensively attacked for being costly or inefficient, solar energy has now shown to be incredibly helpful – not just for the environment but also for the private economy. Moreover, as technology has developed, solar energy has also seen several developments in its structure and functioning.
Top Advantages of Solar Energy
There are plenty of pros and cons of solar energy if you opt for one. Let’s focus first on the 10 advantages of solar energy you acquire by implementing one.
Reduced electric bill
Solar panels give consumers interested in cutting costs the most excellent opportunity to do so by lowering or even doing away with their monthly power bills. This is also how most solar salespeople will begin their presentation to potential customers.
One of the main objectives and advantages of solar energy is to produce energy. The attention is then pumped back into the system. Your utility provider will deduct the energy you send into the system from the electricity it uses. In any given month, generate more energy than you consume. Afterward, you could not have an electric bill for that month depending on how much electricity you return to the system.
The term for this kind of charging is called “net metering.” Reside in a community that utilizes net metering. You will be able to get bill credits for any surplus energy that your home generates.
How does it work? Easy! For instance, In September, you produce 200 kWh of electricity but only consume 150 kWh of it. Therefore, credit for the additional fifty-kilowatt hours of power will be applied to the amount you owe for October. Though there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, so it is essential to investigate the net metering legislation in your area.
Reduced carbon footprint
Many people choose solar energy as a way to reduce one’s overall carbon footprint. By lowering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, solar energy is a clean and sustainable source of energy that has the potential to minimize humankind’s adverse effects on the environment. Moreover, in contrast to conventional fossil fuels such as coal and oil, solar energy does not immediately result in the emission of pollutants (such as carbon dioxide) into the environment and water supply.
In terms of providing a solution that is less harmful to the environment, solar energy, even when compared to nuclear energy, comes out on top.
Rising power prices
The majority of property owners are aware of the fact that the cost of power continues to rise. Over the previous decade, there has been a consistent rise in energy costs, with an increase of around $0.2 per year. Because the fuel price is expected to keep going up for the foreseeable future, you can expect your monthly electric bill to keep increasing. However, you can easily avoid those long-piling bills by opting for solar energy now. To utilize solar energy, you only require to invest once. Later you need to maintain the plants, and you can use mother nature’s energy for your electricity consumption.
Wide range of choice
There are many variations of solar panel products available, and yet these are other significant benefits of solar panels.
Solar panels developed for performance are available for purchase for individuals seeking a high-end system that will function for an extended period. There is also a vast selection available for homeowners who are interested in a system that is friendly to their budget. Thermal solar panels can also be purchased by those who use solar energy primarily to heat their homes in an effort to reduce their energy expenses. Solar panels that are integrated with a battery storage device are available for purchase by homeowners who want to store their electricity during the day and use it at night.
Due to the wide range of options, homeowners have a distinct advantage because they may acquire customized solar panels to their needs and tastes.
Return on investment
You can make additional money by selling any surplus energy your house produces back to the grid. If these are not the solar energy advantages that will make every skeptic change their mind, then we don’t know what are. You will see a return on investment from your solar panels after the system has been paid for in full. The potential for solar panels to provide their owners with cost-free income is a significant selling point for the technology.
Some homeowners may make system updates specifically to enable them to resell the additional energy they generate to the grid. The US government offers incredibly appealing Feed-In Tariffs that homeowners can use to receive payment for any excess energy they do not use. These kinds of tariffs frequently vary from one state to the next and determine the price per KW, which is a great way to accelerate system payback and save money over the long term. The two main forms of taxes are fixed-rate and time-varying rates.
Some specific all-in-one systems, like Enphase, incorporate solar batteries as part of the package. Using these solar systems, you may store the electricity you make during the day and then utilize it instead when you need it at night. When you store electricity, you reduce your reliance on the grid.
Homeowners could be able to save even more money as a result of this. However, to reap the full advantages of solar energy systems, it is recommended to invest in solar panels of a higher quality. Solar panels of higher quality often have better performance and create more energy so that you can store more power quickly.
Top Disadvantages of Solar Energy
When thinking about installing solar panels, you should consider solar energy pros and cons. Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of solar energy, it’s time for you to familiarize yourself with some cons of solar energy.
High upfront cost
The price of an average solar panel system with a 5 kW capacity in the United States is $15,000. The price tags for larger systems may easily exceed $20,000 very rapidly. It’s not precisely changed from the pocket.
There are a lot of individuals who choose to finance their solar panels, which means that they will have to pay interest on top of their initial investment. It is a significant choice in terms of finances; once you make it, there is no turning back. Installing solar panels is often a long-term investment lasting at least 20 years. If you are on a budget, these might be significant cons to solar panels and solar energy system installation as a whole.
Long payback period
We have established that solar panels may be expensive; hence, they may take many years to pay for themselves; this period is referred to as their payback period. The amount of time it will take for solar panels to pay for themselves depends on many factors, including the price of power in your region, the number of subsidies you get, the amount of electricity generated by your system, and the total cost of your system. Follow this calculation to calculate the length of time it will take you to get your money back:
Gross cost – Incentives = Total cost
Total cost ÷ Annual savings = Payback period
Here’s an example. The total cost comes to $18,500 after incentives of $6,500 are subtracted from the gross price of $25,000. The total cost was $18,500, and the annual savings were $2,000. This equates to 9.25 years.
Even though it may still be possible to harvest solar energy on days with clouds and rain, the solar system’s effectiveness will be significantly reduced. This is because solar panels can only successfully capture solar energy when sunlight is exposed. As a result, only a few days of overcast and wet weather may impact the energy system.
Suitable for specific roof types
Mounting systems, often known as “racking,” are attached to a building’s roof to facilitate the installation of rooftop solar panels. Certain roofing materials, such as slate or cedar tiles, which may be present on older or historical houses, may be challenging for solar panel installers to work with. This may prevent solar energy from being widely used. In addition, many houses and apartment complexes have skylights or other extensions to their rooftops, such as roof decks; this might make the whole process more difficult and expensive.
These disadvantages of solar energy may be avoided by installing solar panels on the ground or purchasing a share in a community solar garden. You always have choices even if your house does not meet the rooftop solar installation requirements.
Intermittent energy source
Solar power is categorized as an intermittent source of electricity for the following primary reasons:
- The sun does not appear in the night sky. Because of this, solar panels are unable to produce electricity throughout the night.
- The strength of the sun’s rays may change significantly depending on factors such as latitude, season, and time of day.
- Environmental elements like cloud cover, snow cover, and vegetation cover may greatly impact how much energy solar panels produce.
It has been argued that solar power cannot be depended on for mission-critical or base-load applications. All of these criteria have been cited to support this position. This, however, is starting to change as more and more cost-effective battery alternatives become available. Batteries enable homeowners to store the electricity their solar panels produce and use the stored energy when the panels aren’t producing enough.
Require considered amount of space
There are more disadvantages of solar energy to keep in mind. They will need a substantial quantity of land, which might result in the deterioration of land or the loss of habitat for various species. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can be retrofitted into preexisting buildings. However, more extensive utility-scale PV systems may need anywhere from 3.5 to 10 acres of land per megawatt. In contrast, CSP plants require anywhere from 4 to 16.5 acres of land per megawatt. On the other hand, the effect may be mitigated by situating the plants in low-quality locations or along existing traffic and transmission lines.
Solar panels have a lower power density when compared to other types of energy sources, such as fossil fuels. This is the amount of power that can be produced by an energy source inside a particular area, and it is measured in watts per square meter (W/m2). Consequently, space is a significant concern, particularly in installing large-scale solar systems. Put another way, the greater the power your house requires, the more area on your roof will need to be devoted to solar panels.
Environmental effects of solar panel production
Specific solar technology can only be manufactured using very scarce materials. On the other hand, this is a challenge for PV technology as opposed to CSP technology. In addition to this, the problem is not so much a scarcity of known reserves as it is an incapacity on the part of the current output to satisfy anticipated future demand. Instead of being the focus of concentrated mining operations, many of the rare elements are produced as unintended consequences of other processes.
Recycling photovoltaic (PV) material and advances in nanotechnology that increase the efficiency of solar cells may both help enhance supply. Still, it’s also possible that finding material substitutes that are more readily available could have an impact.
Fortunately, the typical roof provides sufficient space for residential usage to install adequate solar panels to satisfy your required power levels. However, the looks of your home might be altered by the solar power system you choose to install. Unfortunately, you don’t have many alternatives to match the appearance of your roof to the design of most solar panels, which are black rectangles. If you don’t like the look of that, then solar energy may not be for you.
Limited surroundings options
In crowded urban surroundings, there is less space available for solar panels, which is one of the primary issues that make it more difficult for individuals to take advantage of the benefits of solar energy. This does not, however, imply that buying a home in the suburbs will fix the issue. Consider the scenario when you reside in an area with lots of trees. It’s probable that you won’t be able to use solar power in that situation. As might be expected, trees have the potential to block sunlight from reaching solar panels, which reduces the ability of the panels to generate the greatest amount of power. Additionally, solar panels might not be the best option for your property if you can’t cut the trees down or clip the limbs.
It is crucial to examine your plans since installing a solar power system is a long-term commitment. Even if you are prepared financially, and your home is ideal for a solar power system, you should still evaluate your future goals. For example, if you are going to relocate shortly, you should probably rethink your choice to install solar panels since you will not have enough time to take advantage of the savings they provide.
In addition, if you buy solar panels and then decide that you don’t like them, you can’t just take them back to the shop as you do with a refrigerator or a vehicle. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you’ve already committed to a finance plan for the price of the panels.
Should you install solar panels?
Homeowners receive numerous benefits of solar energy: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs, and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from house to house. So don’t forget to include the cons of solar energy we have listed when deciding.
In this article, we have described what is solar energy and the most significant pros and cons of solar energy. The technology behind solar panels is continually refined, indicating that it is not yet completely developed. Your investment will eventually turn a profit, but it can take some time. Solar energy also leaves a one-time carbon footprint and is abundant, clean, and sustainable. However, installing a solar power system will reduce the carbon impact for many years to come. More solar energy than the world’s population can use in a year is reflected off the planet’s surface daily.
Let’s keep working toward putting this tremendous power to good use so we can harness it. It will be fascinating to see where we are in the solar sector in the next couple of years since efficiency is improving, prices are decreasing every day, and new technologies are being tested.