With architecture and lifestyles becoming “greener,” you may want to look at making your house more sustainable. One way to do this is through solar panels. While the upfront costs of installation can be high, you will save money in the long-term as using solar power helps lower your electricity bills, adds value to your home, and even earns tax incentives.
So, what are the pros and cons of installing solar panels on your home? Read on to find out more.
What Are the Pros of Solar Panels for Your Home?
Most homeowners are aware of solar power and have heard about the benefits that come from installing a solar system. But solar energy truly is one of the best ways to turn your house into a more sustainable home while saving you money and electrical costs, to name just a few advantages. The following are more benefits to switching to solar power:
Adds Value to Your House
Though the initial installation of solar systems is high, the value-added to your house is immense. In resale, homes with established solar paneling and working energy conversion systems are highly sought after and are sold at much higher rates. Installing solar panels has been shown to increase your home’s value by up to 4%, or around $6,000 for every 1kW installed.
Diversity of Use
Solar energy is a diverse form of power. You can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal) from your paneling, giving you more options for a sustainably powered home. You can even install a solar propane tankless water heater that heats your water using amplification of the sun’s rays.
Because solar technology has come so far in recent years, your solar paneling can be integrated into the materials used for buildings, such as transparent solar energy windows, adding to the diversity of physical applications.
Low Maintenance Costs
The good news is that solar energy systems typically do not require a lot of maintenance. If you keep them clean and exposed, solar panels will work. And because solar power has no moving parts, you do not have to worry about wear and tear.
The only part of solar systems that usually needs replacement is the inverter, as it constantly works to convert the collected energy into electricity and heat, but that will be 5 to 10 years after installation. So, after covering the initial cost of getting the solar system installed, you can expect minimal maintenance or repair expenses.
Reduce Your Electricity Bills
Using the sun to generate electricity is a terrific way to save money and reduce your electricity bills. How much you save will be dependent on the size of your solar power system and your home’s electrical or heat usage. Moreover, you can potentially receive payments for any surplus energy you generate and export back to the grid through a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
Renewable Energy Resource
One of the largest benefits of solar panels is that solar energy is a genuinely renewable energy source. We cannot run out of solar energy, and it is endlessly harnessed around the world every day. This is one of the only truly renewable energy sources that cannot be overused and depleted. Harnessing a portion of this energy for your own house is a great option for so many homeowners because, after the installation costs, solar energy is essentially a free source of power.
Solar Tax Credits
You may be able to save money on your solar system through a series of rebates, incentives, and tax savings. Many state and local governments offer savings to homeowners when they install solar panels, and the federal government even has incentivized programs to encourage going green with solar paneling.
Even solar installation companies themselves often provide incentives, specials, and packages to help reduce the initial cost of solar panels. In the US, an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners and businesses to deduct up to 26% of the installation cost for solar systems from federal taxes!
The sun is one of the most important sources of energy and using solar panels to tap into that power is a fantastic way to become more sustainable in your daily life and energy usage. Because it is a fully renewable resource, solar energy is one of the most sustainable ways to convert power for your own use. There are no fossil fuels, extreme emissions, waste products, noise, or water pollution to worry about with solar panels—just clean electrical energy.
Because solar power is one of the hottest industries today, companies are dedicated to research and advances in nanotechnology and solar science. Solar paneling continues to become more efficient, long-lasting, and cost-effective for consumers. With financing incentives and state policies supporting solar power research and technological advancements, the price of solar systems has lowered significantly, dropping around 9% in recent years.
Solar power systems have gained popularity in recent years for a reason—they are a long-term, cost-effective, and sustainable method of generating your own power, electrical, and heat. It is undeniable that solar systems have changed the way sustainable energy is harnessed and will continue to become more efficient and effective.
What Are the Cons of Solar Panels for Your Home?
While there are many benefits to installing solar panels and using solar power in your home, there are also some disadvantages to residential solar power. The following points are some of the cons:
Solar paneling will not work on every building, and there are considerations like shading and roof orientation to keep in mind. Solar panels require plenty of roof space that gets plenty of sunshine throughout the day to function optimally.
Another concern is how much space solar panels will take up, as some roofs are not big enough to accommodate the number of solar panels you want to have. And while installing solar panels in your yard is an option, tree coverage becomes an issue, as well as space considerations and potential extra costs for insuring the panels.
Cost of Initial Installation
The upfront cost of installing solar paneling can be daunting for some homeowners. It does come with a hefty price tag and may not be as cost-effective for every person who is interested. But the high initial costs do include the panels, inverter, batteries, wiring, and installation, and with the technology constantly evolving, we can assume that prices will go down in the future.
Expense of Storing Solar Energy
To use your solar energy during the night, you will have to purchase a system to store the solar energy gained during the day. These solar batteries do cost quite a lot and will have to be stored away from any water that will damage the coils. You must also buy reliable accessories like high-quality cords and replaceable cells and pay for supporting hardware, equipment, and installation. Solar batteries are essential for energy but can be expensive.
Intermittency and Weather
Because of the basic premise of solar power needing the sun’s presence to function, intermittency can be an issue. While solar energy will still be collected during cloudy or rainy conditions, your solar panels will not work as effectively when the weather is uncooperative, or the panels are covered in snow. Solar panels will not generate electricity at night, and depending on where you live in the world, your sunshine levels may be less than optimal.
Although most people who install solar panels are trying to be more sustainable, the actual production and manufacture of solar panels are associated with pollution. The environmental impact is lessened, but toxic materials and hazardous products used during the manufacturing process for solar photovoltaic systems still do affect the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions have also been linked to the transport and installation of solar systems.
Even though there are disadvantages to installing solar panels, it is important to step back and take an objective look at the pros and cons and how your situation will be impacted by each. Solar paneling can be a smart choice that saves you money and energy usage but also saves the planet.
Easy Solar Panel Maintenance
Though solar systems require little in the way of maintenance, it is important to maintain the upkeep of your solar panels to ensure they are running efficiently and generating optimal energy. Here are some tips to keeping your solar system at peak performance:
Keep Them Out of Shade
To keep your energy production efficient, make sure there are no interferences between the sun and your panels.
Green Inverters are Good
Keep an eye on the solar panels and make sure your inverters are flashing with green lights. If they are not, you are losing money by no longer compensating for electrical use.
Keep the Panels Clean
Make sure your panels are free of debris, leaves, snow, and other blockages. You can install automated solar panel cleaners that function like sprinkler systems or hire solar panel cleaning companies for more intensive jobs.
Document Day-to-Day Performance
Keeping track of energy production and efficiency is important for ensuring the system is consistent, and your energy conversion process is effective. You can either write down notes on this information or install a monitoring system for your solar panels that will track the statistics for you. Monitoring systems can also show how you are benefitting the environment, like lowered levels of CO2 emission into the atmosphere.
Once solar panels are installed, they are a low-maintenance addition to your home. With just some simple ways to ensure your system is running smoothly, you can expect your solar panels to last you many, many years.
Insurance and Solar Panels
If you decide to install solar panels on your house, you want to protect your investment. Because rooftop solar energy systems can cost between $11,000 and 15,000, you will want to be insured against damage, be it from a storm or other event.
Luckily, solar panel insurance coverage is included in most homeowner’s insurance policies. Because the solar panels are permanently attached to your rooftop, they are considered a part of the property, much like how insurance for a patio or in-home security system applies.
You may need to increase the amount of coverage on your home’s plan to account for the cost of the solar system. Certain systems, however, such as ground-mounted panels or a solar panel carport (also known as a solar canopy), may require an add-on or separate insurance policy, depending on your policy type.
Make sure to talk to insurance providers to ensure your solar system is covered and what kinds of natural damages it is insured against. Even if you need to expand your premium or coverage limit to account for a new solar system, installing solar panels and tapping into a truly renewable energy resource is a great idea for homeowners who want to lower their costs and become more sustainable.
Solar Panels on Your Home
In the end, the cost of solar panels can be outweighed by all the benefits that you will gain. From increased sustainability to savings, tax incentives, to minimal maintenance, solar panels are a wonderful way to increase the value of your home and reduce your carbon footprint.
And because solar systems have been steadily decreasing in price over recent years, as value and tax incentives have risen, you can find and install a solar energy system within your budget.
And because solar systems are typically already covered in your current homeowner’s insurance policy, you do not have to worry about losing money on your solar panel investments. It is time to soak up the sun and start going green with energy conversion.