Undoubtedly, the sun is one of the most powerful energy sources. Although we are not able to collect a fraction of this energy, harnessing this power by installing solar panels can make a significant difference to the planet.
Solar energy technology has been immensely improved the recent years and has been complemented by solar battery storage systems, turning solar into a significantly more efficient source of renewable and clean energy. However, there are always downsides no matter the energy source you choose to analyse.
We have outlined the key pros and cons of solar power in the following points:
- Significantly Lower Power Bills: As a replacement for grid-tied properties (anywhere with access to power lines), solar power costs just a fraction of what you pay the utility company each month. A properly sized system can drop your electric bill to $0, and can even assist you with an additional source of income.
- Environment Friendly: Sunlight is an infinite resource. It’s not like fossil or oils, which we extract from the Earth and spend when we use it. The sun’s rays can be harvested for energy over and over again without depleting the source.
- Accessible Anywhere: If you live in a remote location, it may be too expensive or impossible to run power lines to your house. Solar power systems generate energy when you can’t hook into the power grid.
- Increases Property Value: Homes with customised with solar systems sell about 3% more than equivalent homes without a solar system. Solar homes sell for about $14,000 more on average. Off-grid solar also enables you to buy affordable undeveloped property in rural areas, as you will be decreasing dependence to power lines.
- Diverse Applications. Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (through light via photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distil water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space.
- Low Maintenance Costs. Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. Most reliable solar panel manufacturers offer 20-25 years warranty. Also, as there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to be changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity and heat (solar PV vs. solar thermal). Apart from the inverter, the cables also need maintenance to ensure your solar power system runs at maximum efficiency.
- Promising Technology Supporting Solar. We are just rubbing the surface of the breakthrough on solar energy. In the past years, more and more companies and talents focus on solar research and making it more accessible to the public.
- High Up-Front Cost: Even smaller solar panel systems for residential use cost a few thousand dollars. A full-scale systems for a family home can reach a five-figure hefty price tag. Although it is a sure-wininvestment, as solar panel systems usually pay for itself in the long run, it can be prohibitively expensive to get started.
- Storage is Expensive: Solar batteries is most likely the most expensive part of a solar system. If you need them to store power, either off the grid or as backup for your grid-tied system, that will eat into your return on investment. They should be used out of necessity, or to provide peace of mind in areas with unreliable power.
- Weather Dependence: Shade, snow and other obstacles reduce the output of your solar panels. If your panels don’t get a lot of sun, they won’t work as efficiently as advertised. Other objects, such as birds’ nests, leaves from trees, and dirt can also decrease the performance of your solar panel.
- Takes Up Space: Solar panels are over 3 feet wide and 6-7 feet tall depending on configuration. An average residential system might contain a few dozen panels. They take up a lot of space on your property, so you need to make sure you have somewhere to put them.
Make informed decisions on solar panel installation
There is plenty of literature and research about the pros and cons of solar energy. If this has sparked your interest about solar energy and would like to learn more, our representatives at Evergreen Solar can assist you and answer further inquiries you have.