Solar energy is one of the fastest-growing markets of 2021. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many people have sought to switch from traditional electricity to solar energy. Is the switch to solar worth it, though?
To answer this question, we have created this comprehensive article about the pros and cons of switching to solar energy in 2021. Let’s get started.
Pros Of Going Solar: Top 5 Advantages Of Solar Energy
Going solar comes with a number of advantages. Here are the 5 most important advantages that come with solar energy:
1. Reduce Carbon Emissions
One of the most important advantages of going solar is that solar energy reduces carbon emissions. The reason for this is that traditional energy from the grid is sourced from nonrenewable energy, while solar energy is sourced from renewable energy.
In short, nonrenewable energy is energy that is sourced from things like coal, oil, and gas. As we convert nonrenewable energy into electricity, the total amount of nonrenewable energy sources decreases. Additionally, converting nonrenewable energy into electricity produces carbon emissions, which are a leading cause of climate change.
In contrast, renewable energy is energy that is being replenished constantly. Solar energy is sourced by the sun, which is a constant and natural energy source. No matter how much energy we source from the sun, it will still provide us with ample energy.
When we convert the sun’s energy into electricity, zero emissions are released. As a result, it reduces the number of carbon emissions, making the world more livable for future generations.
2. Decrease Electric Bill
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, switching to solar energy also decreases your electricity bill. The reason for this is that you will be producing your own energy instead of buying energy from a local utility.
In fact, some people even report that solar panels completely eliminate electricity bills. Of course, the amount that you will save will depend on a number of factors, such as sunlight exposure, current electricity cost, and the amount of energy needed to sustain your home.
To find out how much you could save from going solar, you can use this solar energy calculator. With this tool, you will be able to better estimate savings based on your exact circumstances.
3. Increase Home’s Value
As your solar panels decrease your electricity bill, they also increase your home’s value. Studies show that installing solar panels can increase the home’s value by nearly 3% to 4%. The reason for this is that the solar panels will save money on electricity.
So, you will receive a complete recoup for the initial cost of the solar panels as well as a premium, which increases the value of the initial investment for the solar panels.
With that being said, it is important to mention that solar panels only increase a home’s value if they are owned. In other words, third-party ownership, or leasing the solar panels, will not increase the home’s value.
4. Earn Return On Your Investment
Installing solar panels costs quite a bit of money upfront, but they save you a lot of money over time. As a result, installing panels should be viewed as an investment. Luckily, you will receive a high return on this investment over time.
You can even make more money from your solar panels than what you paid for them, resulting in a surplus of money. You can calculate the approximate amount of returns for your panels by dividing the benefits by the cost of the initial investment.
There are serval factors that you need to consider in order to better approximate this number:
- Electricity rates: Current electricity rates determine how much you can save. The higher your current electricity rates, the more you can save, and vice versa.
- Financial Incentives: Local and state governments may offer financial incentives for switching to solar energy. If you receive financial incentives, the amount you earn is grouped in with the panel benefits.
- Property Value Increases: As we have already discussed, solar panels increase the home’s value. This increase of value should be factored into the panel’s benefits.
- Technology: Certain solar panels and technologies are more efficient at converting energy to electricity. The more efficient your system, the more money you can save, and the higher the home’s value can be.
- Environment: Certain environments provide more sunlight exposure. More sunlight exposure results in greater returns. For example, solar panel owners in California will receive higher returns than owners in New York.
- Cost: Solar panels cost quiet a bit of money to install. The cost of the solar panel is the same as the cost of the initial investment.
These factors will help you to better determine how much return you can earn on your initial investment.
5. Boost Energy Independence
People love to be independent, but very few are independent in terms of energy. The way the current electricity system is set up, citizens are dependent on local utility for energy and electricity. By converting to solar energy, though, you boost your own energy independence.
Additionally, boosting your own energy independence boosts the nation’s independence. The more people that are on solar energy, the less energy the nation has to provide. This can protect citizens from price fluctuation in global energy markets.
Cons Of Going Solar: Top 5 Disadvantages Of Solar Energy
Although going solar has a number of highly advantageous benefits, it also has some disadvantages. Here are the 5 most pressing disadvantages of solar energy.
As we have mentioned, solar panels are highly expensive to install. As of 2021, solar panels can cost anywhere from $11,144 to $14,696 after solar tax credits. More so, the solar panel price per watt costs between $2.51 and $3.31.
The exact cost of your solar panels will vary based on area, number of panels, and panel efficiency. You can use SolarReviews’ Solar Panel Cost calculator to estimate how much a solar panel installation will cost based on your zip code.
With that being said, it is important to remember that solar panels are investments. Yes, they cost a lot of money upfront, but you will earn a return on your investment and save money over time.
2. Doesn’t Work With Every Roof Type
Another disadvantage of switching to solar energy is that solar panels do not work with every roof type.
In order to install solar panels, the panels must be connected to a mounting system that is attached to your roof. Certain roofs are not suitable for mounting systems, though. Historical homes or roofs made from slate or cedar tiles are especially resistant to mounting systems. Additionally, roofs with skylights or other additions may be resistant to solar panel installation.
If your roof is not suitable for rooftop solar panels, you are not completely out of luck. Today, you can look for ground-mounted solar panels or buy a share in community solar gardens. Although these solar panel options may require a bit more research, they will work just as rooftop panels do.
3. Waste Of Money If You’re Moving Soon
You will also find solar panels disadvantageous if you are moving soon.
Although solar panels will increase the value of your property, the increased value will not cover the cost of the initial investment. So, it is unwise to install solar panels purely to increase the value of your home.
Even if you are planning to move a few years after solar panel installation, the initial investment cost still may be too high for the returns you’ll experience. The reason for this is that the solar panel payback period is very long. To even break even on the investment, you normally need around 7 years of solar panel use.
So, installing solar panels can be a major waste of money if you are planning to move within 7 years of the initial installation. In order to get your money’s worth, you need to use the solar panels and see a decrease in your electricity bill over several years.
4. Savings Depend On Electricity Costs
Another negative aspect of going solar is that savings depend greatly on your current electricity costs.
If you live in an area with abnormally low electricity costs, you will save much less than someone who lives in an area with abnormally high electricity costs. In areas with low electricity costs, the solar panel payback period is much longer, discouraging many people from installing solar panels.
5. Difficult To Install
Finally, the fifth downside of switching to solar energy is that installing solar panels can be difficult, costly, and confusing.
Since solar energy is one of the fastest-growing markets, there are a lot of up-and-coming installers and companies that promise a lot. As a result, it can be difficult to choose the best installer based on credentials, knowledge, etc., making the experience much more confusing and stressful.
In addition, simply finding an installer can be extremely difficult, especially if you live in a rural community or area that is resistant to the solar switch. If you live in one of these communities, it can be difficult to find a solar panel installer, and, when you do find one, they can be astronomically expensive.
Overall, solar panels and switching to solar energy is a great option in 2021. It can save you money, increase your home’s value, and save the environment all at once.
At the same time, though, solar energy is not for everyone. It is expensive, difficult to install, and not suitable for all roof types.
With this in mind, it is important to remember that solar panels are investments that can save you a lot of money over time. Additionally, they are investments that are aimed at preserving the planet so that your children and future generations have a happy and healthy planet to call home.