Frequently Asked Questions

What are the pros and cons of solar energy?

We have compiled the most important pros and cons of solar energy.

Pros

Environmentally Friendly: The production of solar energy doesn’t cause any greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike electricity produced from coal or natural gas power plants, solar panels don’t emit any harmful pollutants. Electricity produced by solar panels doesn’t require any water, either. The only fuel for solar panels is FREE sunshine. You don’t have to mine for coal or frack for natural gas. As numerous studies have shown, mining and fracking are extremely harmful to the environment.

Abundant: Solar power is abundant and unlimited. Did you know that you can produce all the electricity needed to power the United States by setting up solar panels in just a 130 mile by 130 mile square block of land? Instead of one big solar project, you could also power the entire country by just installing panels across the rooftops of homes and businesses.

Energy Independence: With a solar power system paired with battery storage or a generator, you could achieve 100% energy independence from the grid. With such a solution, you could stay powered on during power outages caused by grid failure or extreme weather events.

Reduced electricity costs: You could save tens of thousands of dollars in electricity costs by switching to solar power. Solar panels last for 25+ years and, with solar power, you can eliminate or substantially reduce your utility bills.

Protection from utility rate hikes: With solar power, you can lock-in your rates for 20-25 years, which is the typical life of solar panels. Utilities have increased rates 3-5% per annum in the United States, with some increasing it even more. Say NO to rate hikes with solar power!

Silent Energy Generation: Solar panels don’t make any noise while generating electricity. Other alternatives to locally produce power such as diesel or natural gas powered generators are really loud.

Low Maintenance: Solar panels don’t have any moving parts so there is no wear and tear to worry about. While solar panel performance can be affected by dust accumulation,he occasional rain shower keeps them plenty clean, leaving you with a no-hassle power generating system. If your solar system contains string inverters, they may need be replaced every 12 - 15 years.

Long Lasting: Solar panels last a really long time: 25 years or more. Most solar panel manufacturers also provide production warranties for 25 years, that provide compensation or replacement equipment if the panels produce less electricity than expected.

Aesthetics: Early solar panels weren’t much to look at. However, with advances in technology, the latest solar panels come in a sleek all black design with black solar cells,black frames, and a black backsheet). These look beautiful on your roof. Tesla has recently announced the roll out of a solar roof that embeds the solar panels directly in the tiles - these come in a variety of colors to match your taste.

Government Incentives: Solar power is getting incredible support from federal, state and local governments. The federal government. provides a 30% income tax credit, effectively making your net cost only 70% of the total price. In addition, many state and local governments offer rebates, tax incentives and solar generation credits to make the economics even better.

Increase in Property Value: Recent studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have shown that solar panels increase the property value. They analyzed the sale prices and homes with and without solar and found that homes increased in value by more than what they paid for the panels. Win-Win!

Cons:

Intermittent: Solar panels don’t produce power when the sun is down. In addition, there is variability in performance when there is a cloud cover that obstructs the sun. Intermittency is not a problem when the solar system is connected to the grid or a battery. Any shortfall in production is bridged by electricity from the grid or the battery. Likewise, excess production can be sent to the grid or the battery for future use.

Space Requirements: To produce solar power, the panels need to be installed on land or a roof that is exposed to good sunshine and generally free of shade. Each panel, which typically produces 270 to 350 W of power, requires about 18 square feet of surface area to install.

Expensive Storage: If you need to store the electricity that is produced by the solar panels on site rather than take advantage of your state's Net Metering laws allowing excess production to flow to the grid, it may add significant costs to the project. While battery storage costs are coming down, including battery storage in your project makes economic sense only in some instances, such as absence of a grid connection, poor grid reliability, or expensive grid usage charges.

Capital Costs: The costs associated with solar are mainly a result of the equipment and installation. Once the system is installed and operating, there is no fuel cost and hardly any required maintenance. With so many zero-down options now available, including loans, leases, property tax financing (PACE) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), it is easier than ever to go solar with $0 out of pocket for those who qualify.

Moving: One of the downsides of rooftop solar is that it is hard to take it with you when you move houses. While one can always find an installer who will be willing to un-install the solar panels, your new home may not be suitable for solar or may require different system configuration. However, it has become increasingly easy for solar customers to transfer the loan or the lease to the new home owner who is purchasing the house. Homeowners can even buy out the solar system lease or loan and increase the home’s sale price.

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