As the technology behind solar energy continues to grow, so does its popularity in US households and commercial premises.
Yet apart from the obvious benefits, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start with considering whether solar energy is the best fit for your home. This article provides an overview of some of the pros and cons of home solar panels, and some of the potential pitfalls to look out for.
Why Use Home Solar Panels?
With fossil fuels running out and governments under pressure to increase utilization of renewable energy sources, there is increasing investment in solar energy. This includes research and development to optimize the technology further, as well as government grants, loans, and incentives to encourage homeowners to take the plunge into solar.
I watch more than my fair share of Tiny House Nation, Tiny Paradise, Tiny Luxury, and Tiny House World. One thing that they all have in common? Finding renewable and sustainable energy sources to heat and cool their homes. Plenty of windows to allow the sunlight in, small fireplaces, and, you guessed it – solar panels.
In addition, Dominion Energy, our local electricity supplier, is offering homeowners deep discounts if they participate in the home solar program. I’ve been trying to talk our landlord into going solar for the past three years but he’s an elderly man and not willing to budge on his position and consider it. If this were my home – we would totally have solar panels installed immediately.
For homeowners, the most tangible benefit is a saving on your monthly electricity bills. Once you have paid for your home solar panels (more on that later), you can make a saving with solar provided you spend more than around $1,200 per year on electricity.
Financially, you will also improve the value of your home. Official estimates found that a professionally installed home solar energy system can add over $20,000 on average to your home.
There are also clever incentives associated with home solar usage. Schemes such as net metering enable homeowners to feed excess energy into the national grid. In return, they can draw from the grid during autumn and winter when their home system may have insufficient sunlight to function optimally.
As with everything, there are a few flipsides to consider with home solar installations.
The main one of these is the upfront cost. However, there are creative ways around this. Google solar companies near me to find professionals in your area. As well as carrying out the technical aspects of your installation, they can also advise on solar loans and local state incentives for home solar panels. With this, solar panel costs can be spread over several years, or in some cases subsidized.
When considering solar panels for your home, factor in how much you pay for electricity. If your annual costs are below about $1,000, you are unlikely to make a significant saving from installing home solar panels.
There is also no denying that although it is completely renewable, solar energy can be an unreliable power source. As well as seasonally, the sun can also fluctuate during the day. The use of a solar battery enables you to store power during excess periods, which helps to offset fluctuations in sunlight.
Some home solar panels can also be a little unsightly. Your local expert should be able to work with you to find the most aesthetically pleasing installation to suit your property.
The Bottom Line
Consider your purchase carefully. When you do, factor in that it can take almost a decade to realize a return on your solar investment. In short, installing solar panels is probably not wise if you plan to move anytime soon.
That said, solar panels are a great investment for most US homes. Good luck with your new venture!