Pros and Cons of Going Solar

Should I install solar panels?

You should install solar panels if you’re looking for a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. When it comes to solar energy pros and cons, we might have heard that it’s for hippies, it’s too expensive or it doesn’t work. While upfront installation costs can be high, the cost-benefit is clear: installing solar panels on your home is financially and environmentally responsible. The number of solar panels installation on homes and businesses has risen now more than ever. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills and earn tax incentives. While the panels are also good investments because they add value to your house and are exempt from property taxes. Of all the common benefits and drawbacks that come with going solar, here are a few of the ones that consistently rise to the top.

Solar energy advantages and disadvantages

Benefits of solar panels

There are many advantages of solar energy to consider when you’re deciding whether or not to install solar panels, such as:

1. Reduce Monthly Energy Expenses

Probably the most incentivizing reason to switch to solar energy is for the savings it will net you on your utility bill. The cost of residential solar has risen every year for the past decade and the trend isn’t likely to fall anytime soon. Switching to solar energy usually has a high initial expense for installing the system, but it’s actually an investment in sustainable energy for your family and business. Over a 20-year period, you could save anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on your state, home size and electricity usage. Unlike paying utility bills, paying off a solar panel system gets a return on investment. Once the savings and potential earnings start to roll in, the payback on investment continues for years to come.

2. Lucrative government incentives

While it’s true that solar energy systems are a significant investment, most homeowners won’t have to swallow the full cost of equipment and installation by themselves. Installing solar panels becomes even more appealing when you take government incentives into account. State and federal programs are in place to encourage people to invest in renewable energy.

The main incentive is the 26% federal tax credit for going solar. This credit will cover 30 percent of your equipment and labor costs, which is deducted from your total tax liability, or amount you owe to the government on your taxes. This program is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. Every dollar in credit is a dollar less that you pay in taxes at the end of the year. So if you buy a $10,000 system and receive a $2,600 credit, you will owe $2,600 less in taxes at the end of the year.

Above and beyond the federal government’s incentive, certain states offer local incentives that can be claimed in addition to the federal credit.

Solar rebates: These are offered as a flat amount or percentage off your total equipment and installation costs, or a variable incentive based on your system output.

Production-based credits: These are offered as a credit or cash incentive, and are usually distributed through your energy provider.

Sales tax exemptions: In some states, like Florida, homeowners are not required to pay any sales tax on solar equipment, which can represent a savings of thousands of dollars.

Property tax exemptions: Solar power can increase your home’s property taxes, but some states, like Arizona, have an exemption for these added taxes.

3. Reduces carbon emissions while helping U.S. move towards energy independence

Solar energy is renewable, sustainable and abundant, and it produces zero harmful emissions to the environment as it creates power. The most admirable and patriotic advantage of solar power is the fact that it benefits our environment while simultaneously helping our country make the necessary transition away from fossil fuel.

4. Solar Adds Value to Your Home

One of the lesser known benefits of solar power is that it’s actually been shown to boost property values, particularly in areas where electricity bills are high. Home-buyers see solar as a major selling point and they are willing to pay a premium to move into a solar powered home. Even if you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment. In fact, the Lawrence Berkeley National Library conducted research that shows that solar homes fetch an extra $14,329 increase over a non solar home.

Disadvantages of Solar Panels

1. If you can’t access solar financing, up-front solar costs can be intimidating

Solar is expensive - at least upfront. To build a system that would power the average American home (which uses 897 kWh of electricity every month), you might pay $8,000-$10,000 depending on the products you choose. The total out-of-pocket price tag for a solar panel system depends on tax credits, rebates, and the financing option you choose. Though you can easily get a figure for the average cost of solar in your state or even a personalized estimate for your home, the simple answer is that the up-front cost of solar is sizable if you don’t qualify for a zero-down solar loan. Nevertheless, solar technologie are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will go down in the near future.

2. Space Requirements

Standard solar panels measure 39” wide by either 66” to 72” tall (for 60-cell and 72-cell panels, respectively). The more energy you use, the more space is required in order to host more solar panels. If you’re burning a lot of energy the rooftop might not be enough. For companies that own large office buildings, it is less of an issue. However, if you’re an individual homeowner, your ability to rely on solar energy will depend a lot on how much space available for the installation of panels.

3. If your electricity costs are low, so are your solar savings

The core benefit of going solar is that it will reduce your use of utility-provided electricity and save you money every month as a result. However, this assumes that the homeowner has high electric bills. For a homeowner in a state like Louisiana where the cost of electricity is 25+ percent lower than the national average, installing a solar panel system isn’t nearly as attractive as it is to a Hawaii homeowner who pays more than double the average electric rate.

4. Finding quality, local solar installers and easily comparing quotes can be difficult

Choosing a solar installer can be the most challenging part of your solar buying process. There’s a common association that many homeowners have with solar. It has to do with pushy door-to-door solar sales reps that pressure consumers to sign a 20-year solar contract before they explain the full scope of the offer or the credibility of the solar company.

Solar is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and there are plenty of companies that are deploying aggressive sales tactics to get their fair share of the market. Luckily, there’s an easier way to shop for solar that puts homeowners in control. Home Bros is a 100% online comparison-shopping platform that allows you to compare solar quotes from top pre-screened installers in your area.


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