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17 PROS and CONS of Solar that will change your mind about Solar Energy

The solar industry is growing faster than at any other time in the past decade, so the question is, does going to Solar help reduce your electricity bills and help in climate change? Read more to understand the pros and cons of Solar because that will enable you to understand whether Solar is a good option or not for you.

Pros And Cons of Solar
Pros or Cons of Solar: You decide

After working in the Solar industry for almost ten-plus years, there is one thing I hear over and over again from homeowners who have installed solar and there is no going back. It is exciting to see your meter running backward and your electricity prices are nearly zero. The other common factor among Residential Solar owners is that they would love to add an energy storage system to their house to be entirely off-grid.

Check out the PROS And CONS of solar energy systems and see if solar panels work for you.

PROS of Solar Energy

1. Solar Reduces your electricity bill or eliminates your bill

One of the significant solar energy benefits of Installing solar panels for your electricity needs is that you either reduce your electricity bills or eliminate them. This reduction is also suitable for your bottom line and your carbon footprint. Solar Power is becoming the cheapest form of energy globally, and its prices continue to drop as years go by, giving more access.

Net Metering is another way to reduce the cost of your electricity bills. Net metering systems enable customers to sell their excess electricity produced back to the utility grid during the daytime. As a result, this will ensure bill credits for homeowners and thereby reduce the cost of your electricity or energy needs, which helps save money.

2. Solar increases the value of your house.

Solar Panel Installation increases the value of homes and sells faster than non-solar homes.

It’s not a well-known fact, but the reality is that using Solar as a source of electricity increases the house’s value. Solar Energy systems installed on a home are viewed as an improvement upgrade, just like a finished basement or upgraded kitchen with the latest and greatest appliance. The Berkeley Lab [1] has reviewed this and assessed the homes. On average new homeowners were willing to pay a premium of $15000 for a home for an average-sized system (3 kW); see How to install Solar. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without those upgrades.

3. Solar Energy is Clean Energy

Solar Power Systems are clean, which is a well-known fact because it uses energy from the Sun to convert electricity using Solar Panels and Inverters. By converting electricity from Sunlight, we can eliminate greenhouse gas emissions like Carbon Dioxide C02 and other air pollutants generated by burning fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. Also, Solar is a renewable energy because its inexhaustible and will never run out. The other aspect is that there is little or close to zero land or water pollution, as with the extraction of fossil fuels from the ground.

4. Solar Energy is used where conventional electricity is hard to reach.

Solar Energy is used in hard-to-reach places.

Almost the entire United States receives Solar Energy compared to conventional energy sources from natural gas and Coal. So, practically, Solar Energy can generate electricity in areas where traditional electricity, like the poles and wires approach, is hard to reach or makes zero economic sense to pull wires to a specific location.

5. Solar Energy has a low maintenance cost.

Unlike other renewable energy, solar energy has no moving parts, like onshore and offshore wind, hydro, and other conventional electricity sources like transformers and substations. Therefore, the central feature requiring some maintenance would be replacing an inverter once every 15 years.

6. Solar Energy has Long Life Span

Solar Energy uses Solar Panels as the primary energy-generating device, and these panels have a typical life span of close to 20-25 years from the installation date. The inverters, which are the other device, convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) with a life span of close to 15 years, and even some of the latest inverters have close to 25 years. Hence the primary two devices that convert Sunlight to solar energy have long life spans.

7. Solar Energy is becoming cheaper every day.

Solar Price decline curves in Residential, Commercial, and Utility-Scale PV

The cost of installing solar panels has dropped enormously; solar has fallen by 99% since the 1970s. In 1977, a solar PV cell’s price was $77 and generated just one watt of power. Today’s solar cells are far more efficient, and the cost to generate just one watt is around $0.13 per watt or about 600 times less. Currently, China is the leading manufacturer and exporter of solar panels worldwide, which helps the world to have cheap.

8. Solar Energy is versatile

Solar Energy is used to generate power for a home, a community, or a city and is called one of the most versatile forms of energy available. 

Rooftop Solar Systems are solar panels installed on your home or business roof to generate power used up in that location only.

Community Solar is a way for local-area residents to purchase solar energy without installing rooftop solar panels on their property. The local community or entities authorized to sell power to the local-area residents in that area manages the community solar farm.

Utility Solar is a solar facility that generates power and feeds it into the grid, like how Coal-fired or natural gas generator supplies utility companies with energy. 

9. Solar Energy is Quiet

Unlike diesel-powered or natural gas generators, solar panels generate power without noise or smell. That’s because the photons in the Sunlight strike electrons in a silicon panel mixed with phosphorus and a related chemical, and that sub-atomic level movement forms an electrical current. In natural gas or coal-powered generators, burning Coal or natural gas emits noise and smells associated with that generation.

10. Solar Energy creates jobs.

With the increased number of solar energy deployments within a given region, more related jobs are associated with that region in welders, installers, electrical inspectors, and utility inspectors. Hence, there are more employment opportunities in the solar energy sector, ultimately stimulating the local economy.

11. Solar Energy technology is constantly improving; both Pros and Cons of Solar can be considered.

Early solar cells had an efficiency of just 1% [2]. Today’s solar panels are hitting the 25% mark [3] and above in the highest efficiency solar panels available today. Today, larger, more powerful, and more efficient solar panels globally, including bifacial technology and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). In addition, there are floating solar farms—what some call “floatovoltaics” to concepts such as solar skins, solar fabric, and even solar roads; there’s no shortage of ideas and new products. Fun Fact: Adventures on the Rock found that it would take approximately 7.85 billion solar panels to power the USA

12. Solar Energy has Tax Benefits.

Today when you install Solar panels, be it a residential or commercial system, an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), known as the federal solar tax credit, applies to the system. This Credit allows you to deduct 26% of the installation cost of installing a Solar Energy system from your federal taxes. This ITC applies to all kinds of Residential and Commercial systems, and the best part of it all is that.

How much Solar I need to run my entire house
Solar Investment Tax Credit Schedule

There is no CAP in the amount of its installation. One of the direct advantages of this ITC implementation is that the residential and commercial solar space has grown by more than 10,000% since its implementation in 2006.

Currently, the ITC is set at 26 percent, following which The ITC then steps down according to the following schedule:

  • Twenty-six percent of all solar power projects planned to begin construction in 2021 and 2022 receive the ITC.
  • Twenty-two percent of all projects planned to begin construction in 2023 receive the ITC.
  • After 2023, the residential Credit drops to zero while the commercial Credit drops to a permanent 10 percent.

13. Solar Energy Systems installed size expanded as prices kept dropping.

One of the most remarkable factors is that as solar panel prices keep dropping, you can add more solar panels to your existing configuration, thereby increasing the system’s generating power associated with the system’s overall size. The result enables us to either use the energy generated for our needs or sell it back to the grid to make extra cash. One thing to note is that with a central / string inverter, you have to ensure your inverters can handle the extra power generated by the solar panels. On the other hand, with Microinverters attached to the back of the solar panels, you can increase the size of their system. Yet, you should be ready to purchase an additional inverter alongside the solar panels.

CONS of Solar Energy

1. High Cost

One of the main cons of solar power is the cost of going solar, which many still describe as a significant disadvantage of a solar panel system, and we find this surprising. Aside from the 30% federal tax credit and local incentives in many places, companies have lowered the cost further by slashing, known as soft costs [4]. Soft costs are any costs that are not the product costs of solar panels.

2. Intermittency / Expensive Storage

Although Solar panels only produce energy during the day, the main disadvantage of solar panels system is that they can’t produce electricity at night. Therefore, you would have to use some other energy source at night, most likely the traditional utility grid, to cover your nighttime usage. That means you’re still dependent on generating electricity. To use solar energy at night, you must have a way to store the solar panels’ power overproduce during the day. However, energy storage is still expensive because the solar battery is not your typical battery [5]. Adding batteries to an existing project can be as much as 50% cost of the original project. Though expensive batteries may be actual for now, low-cost energy storage is on the horizon. Many companies are working on this, including Tesla and others. Industry trends show that batteries would be cost-affordable within five years.

3. Land Usage

Energy Informative, a website for going solar for the homeowner, states that power density (watt per square meter) is vital when looking at the amount of power derived from an area. Solar’s average solar power density is 170 watts per square meter, much less than oil, gas, or nuclear power. Of course, if you live in the south, the desert, or both, your area will get more Sunlight. Though this may be a concern for large-scale solar farms, this is not a concern for residential Solar. Most homes have at least enough roof space to install solar panels. If more solar panels are needed, there’s always the option of putting ground-mounted systems in the backyard.

4. Pollution

Energy Informative points out nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) as a pollutant when manufacturing solar cells. There needs to be a clarification here. First, an LCD  uses NF3 (LCDs), which are in higher volume than solar cells, without any environmental benefits from the actual products. Secondly, the NF3 is produced with silicon-based thin-film solar cells. Thin-film solar cells have not reached the efficiency and cost level required for residential rooftops.

The critical takeaway from reading this article is that there are many advantages and disadvantages to going solar. Although the pros and cons of solar help us understand solar energy, it is up to you if you think going solar is worth it’s shot. Then read our guides on how much solar electricity you need to power an entire house.

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