Using solar energy to match your power requirements does not only make you more planet friendly, it may actually save you money. It’s a win-win situation, but only if you’re in for long-run. Of course, it depends on where you live since how much energy your panels can harvest, and consequently save you money, depends on variable factors such as time of day, season and weather, but also geographic traits such as climate and latitude. Before you decide to grab solar panels to add to your home, look at these six pros and cons of solar energy to understand some basic facts about solar energy.
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Pro: Your Energy Bill is Greatly Reduced
This is one of the main pros and cons of solar energy that people look at. When you use solar energy, you rely less on power companies to give you electricity, your monthly bills go down, and you even earn a credit on your statement. Electricity companies also pay customers for using panels for their extra energy they don’t use in a month, so you make money.
Con: They are Expensive to Install
While you save money by using less energy, you spend a lot of money upfront buying solar panels. The larger your energy needs, the more your cost is, and you can spend thousands of dollars. The government can give you credits for installing solar panels to offset these costs. Regardless, some installers are actually offering interesting ways to fund your installation, so you don’t need to invest a large initial capital to get going. Depending on where you live and your payment plan, your energy savings could equal your monthly payment. Also, thanks to advances in energy conversion and manufacturing, solar panels are more affordable today.
Con: Storing Solar Energy is Expensive
You use solar energy during the night hours through batteries charged during the day, so you don’t worry about not having electricity in the evening. These batteries run from a few hundred dollars to over $1,500 and weigh from 60 to 420 pounds. Find a place to store them that will not get wet and damage the battery, get accessories such as a cord and replaceable cells, and replace them about every 15 to 20 years. Consider, however, that now we have Tesla batteries! Tesla’s Powerwall battery comes in 7 or 10 kilowatt modules, and costs $3000 and $3500 respectively.
Pro: Solar Energy is Accessible in Remote Areas
The cost of installing and maintaining solar energy panels may be high in the beginning, but for areas that aren’t able to receive electricity the traditional way, adding these is a huge benefit. Some areas are remote. These areas use the solar power so that they might use devices such as the Internet, a microwave, and washer and dryer. If in some states it’s debatable whether or not solar can beat the grid in terms of cost, when remote off-grid locations are concerned solar almost always beats a diesel or gas-fired generator.
Although the upfront cost of installing solar energy panels is high, over time you will save money on your electricity bills. Some even sell the energy back, and earn a profit.
Con: It doesn’t work very well everywhere
Areas closer to the equator have far greater potential for producing solar electricity than those closer to the poles, and areas with consistent sun have greater solar potential then areas that are frequently overcast. Luckily, most of the United States has huge potential for solar energy.
New Mexico and Arizona are huge solar markets, and California, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Colorado also have large areas highly favorable for PV development. If you live in one of these states, consider this point as a “pro” on your checklist. Also, another point you should consider at this point is air pollution. With solar power, you disconnect from the grid, thus generating less demand which is generally met by coal power plants. This effectively reduces pollution.
Pro: They Are Whisper Quiet
Solar panels make absolutely zero noise since they don’t contain any moving parts, unless you order an array with a rotational axis that follows the sun throughout daytime. Even in this case, the noise and annoyance is minimal to the point that’s unnoticeable.