Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Energy – 7 Pros and Cons
Sep 23, 2021
by EmPower Solar
It’s no secret that solar energy is good for the environment. Reducing reliance on harmful fossil fuels alleviates strain on limited resources and ensures the planet will remain a healthy habitat. But when bringing solar into your own domain, there is much to be considered. Take time to get acquainted with the benefits, and natural drawbacks it can present to both business and homeowners. If you are interested in making the switch to solar energy, it is important for you to know the full scope of your investment, so we’ve tackled the top advantages and disadvantages of making the change.
|Advantages of Solar Energy||Disadvantages of Solar Energy|
|Reduces Electricity Bills||High Initial Costs|
|Provides Tax Incentives||Time Consuming|
|Pairs with Solar Battery Storage||Weather Dependent|
|Environmentally Friendly||Stringent Criteria|
The Advantages of Solar Energy
#1. Solar energy reduces your monthly power bill
One of the most significant benefits that solar energy will present to you right away is a lower utility bill. Because your energy needs are being met by your new solar system, your energy bills will drop significantly. In fact, you may even receive credits for the surplus energy that your system produces, which will offset your bill even more.
#2. Solar energy provides lucrative tax incentives
The most talked-about benefits of solar energy are the tax incentives associated with it. Right now, qualifying homeowners who opt to get solar panels can get 26% of their total initial costs back in a federal tax credit. New York State also has a $5,000 tax credit. These incentives have not only given homeowners a faster return on investment for their solar power expenditure, but have also created jobs and caused the solar energy industry to dramatically expand in a relatively short amount of time. The catch is that the incentive programs do have expiration dates, so waiting to install in the future could mean missing out on incentives and major reimbursements.
#3. Solar energy can be paired with solar battery storage
Solar panels and battery storage are an ideal combination when paired together. Battery storage allows you to store electricity and discharge it for later use, which is perfect for people who want to self-produce all of their own power and don’t want to be reliant on the power grid or use fossil fuel generators. Home battery backup systems are designed to charge during the day and homeowners can either use that power at night, or save it up to power the house when the grid is down. We recommend having more than one battery installed to be sure that you have enough energy to power your home whenever you need it. Our standard package is two Tesla Powerwall units.
#4. Solar energy is environmentally-friendly
Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource. Many Americans are looking for ways they can be more environmentally-friendly, and solar power checks a lot of boxes. Solar panels are, of course, powered by the sunlight, so as you’re powering your home, you greatly reduce the emissions you put out into the environment. Additionally, solar energy is not generally associated with pollution, so you will lessen your carbon footprint.
The Disadvantages of Solar Energy
With all the benefits that solar energy provides, there are some drawbacks that need to be discussed.
#5. Initial costs can be high
Even though renewable energy sources have greatly reduced in cost over the last decade, buying a solar system isn’t cheap on day one. In fact, the initial cost of purchasing a solar panel system can be fairly high because you are essentially pre-paying your next 40 years of electricity. While the savings is enormous, not everyone can purchase a system outright, so financing packages are available to allow homeowners to pay-as-you-go and start saving from month one.
A solar system includes solar panels, inverters, wiring, and installation, all of which need to be paid for upfront. That being said, installing solar avoids utility electric bills, so it more than pays for itself over time. Switching to solar with a high quality company maximizes your investment and helps you make the best financial decision you can when it comes to solar. Many banks now offer great financing options and offer free online quotes so you can have all the information you need to move forward.
#6. The permitting process can be time consuming
Many people don’t know this, but before installation can occur, you need to have an approved permit from your local government office. Going solar is unlike getting a new roof or replacing your home’s windows. Government restrictions can add weeks to months to a project installation. Depending on how strict your local government is and how quickly permits are approved, the process can be drawn out. Because this can be a time-consuming and burdensome procedure, we take on that responsibility by managing the entire permitting process with your local government. Going into your solar project, keep in mind, that this step can add time to a project. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the timeline provided by your installer and to stay in close communication with your project manager to make sure this process go as smoothly as possible.
#7. Weather Dependence
Because solar panels rely on the sun to produce energy, you may produce less electricity on cloudy or rainy days. Luckily, however, solar panels don’t need 100% sunlight to work and, depending on the cloud density, your solar panels will still be able to pick up some of the sun’s energy to give you ample amounts of power your home can bank. Additionally, many users generate excess energy credits in the summer months that can be used during periods of less sunlight like evening and winter time. So if the sun isn’t shining, your credit bank is working for you!
#8. Not every roof will meet the criteria for solar
Individual energy needs, available roof space, roof orientation, roof material, shading, and orientation all factor in to determining if your home is suitable for solar. For example, a large, south-facing roof without roof obstructions (like vent pipes and skylights) would be ideal for solar, whereas a system on a small, west-facing roof surrounded by tall trees may not be able to produce the same amount of energy.
We’d love to power the whole world with the sun, but we’ll be honest if your home isn’t ideal for solar panels. Luckily, community solar is available in our region. You can subscribe to a local project to virtually offset your bill with renewable energy and save an average of 10% monthly.
Get a Free Solar Estimate Today!
There’s a reason solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular. Their environmental and financial benefits prove to be worthwhile. Curious if your home or business would be a good candidate for a solar power system? Contact us to start the conversation!