Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on Earth. It can be both captured and used in several ways as a renewable energy source. Therefore, it is essential for a clean energy future.
- What Is Solar Energy
The sun does more than for our planet than just provide sunshine as our natural lighting. Each particle of sunlight that reaches Earth contains energy that fuels the whole planet. The sun, like any star in the Universe, is a massive nuclear reactor that provides massive amounts of energy that we ‘register as light and heat. This solar power is the greatest source of renewable energy we have, and it can be harnessed and converted to usable energy using photovoltaics or solar panels.
2. Pros of Solar Energy
If you ever considered investing in solar panels, you have probably been exposed to some form of solar marketing. With many spammy ads promising free solar panels and a knock at the door salesmen, you need to be able to distinguish between the real pros and cons to truly evaluate whether the benefits you will gain with solar energy can outweigh the associated costs. The pros of this investment are the following.
Lower electricity bill
Although the initial payment of solar installation can be pricey, the ROI on solar panels is high because it can significantly cut your Direct Energy monthly expenses. Studies have shown that customers save from $44 to $187 per month on average during the first year of owning solar panels. This means that they could pay off within half of a decade as you could save anywhere from $528 to $2,244 in a single year. As long as you’re in it for the long-haul, they will pay off for themselves. You will earn your money back even faster if you live in a country that provides subsidies for going solar. The average system saves consumers more than $20,000 over 20 years with some areas reaching even $64,000.
Increased property value
If you intend to sell your home at some point, any investment of this sort directly increases the value of your property due to the benefits it will provide to future owners. One study by the Department of Energy showed that home buyers are willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home equipped with just an average solar system.
Reducing your dependency on electricity providers
Investing in solar panels equates to protection against rising costs of electricity that happens each year. The less you depend on expensive electricity providers, the better. You can even sell your surplus energy back to the grid, rewriting the script of who’s reliant on whom.
Reduced carbon footprint
Using any form of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels directly reduces carbon emissions. To put it in figures, a residential solar panel system, has the capability of providing for the electricity needs of an entire home with about 80% lower carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. A single solar system installation offsets 178 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years, which is equivalent to planting 10 football fields full of trees. But the fact that this energy does not harm the environment, unlike burning fossil fuels, is what truly makes all the difference.
- Cons of Solar energy
Although their cost decreasing, buying solar panels is quite an investment. The installation process can also be expensive, especially if your country does not provide tax incentives. But, there are also a few other factors to consider.
Doesn’t work for every roof type
Certain roofing materials used in older homes, such as cedar tiles, can make the installation of solar panels quite challenging, making the process difficult or costly. Fortunately, you have other options to circumvent this barrier through ground-mounted solar panels or buying a share in a community solar garden.
Not ideal if you’re about to move
For this investment to pay off, it will take time. Reaching break even takes about seven and a half years. However, if you buy your system with a cash purchase or loan, this disadvantage can be annulled as you can get your money back when selling your house through increased property value.
Limited savings potential
The lower your electricity costs are, the lower your savings will be. For the ultimate benefit of cost savings to take place, you need sizeable electric bills to begin with. If you live in a country where the cost of electricity is lower than average, this investment loses its savings appeal.
Takeaway – Solar is a revolutionary energy solution for property owners of any type, but like any energy decision, choosing to go solar has various advantages and disadvantages you need to evaluate closely to see what’s in it for you. But if you do choose to invest in solar panels, you are giving the planet a helping hand.