Should You Go Solar? The Pros and Cons

solar panelIf you’ve been researching solar energy, you know how difficult it can be to separate legitimate information from sales pitches. Because of that, it can be difficult to determine if solar power is the right option for you. The only way to make an informed decision is to weigh the pros and cons. After all, only you can determine if residential solar power fits your needs.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss the pros and cons. Using this information you can determine if solar energy is the right call for your home or business.

The Pros of Going Solar

You can reap many benefits by getting solar panels for your energy needs. These are the advantages that you and your family will enjoy after hiring someone for solar panel installation.

Saves You Money

Let’s start with the most obvious benefits. Going solar will help you save money in the long term. Even if you factor in the cost for the solar panels and installation, the investment pays for itself eventually because the generated energy is used to power your home or business. Depending on the number of panels that you have installed, they could generate enough solar energy to reduce your monthly power bill or eliminate it altogether.

How long will it take to get your investment back? Typically, solar energy adopters report breaking even in roughly 10 years. This is great since most solar panels last upward of 25 years, sometimes longer. Thus, after making a return on your investment, you’ll still have plenty of years left of pure savings.

Lowers Your Carbon Footprint

Of course, going solar isn’t just the right move for your wallet. It also helps you do your part for the environment by lowering your home’s or business’ carbon footprint. This means that you’re doing your part to make the environment cleaner for future generations.

In most cases, when you use energy off a power grid, you’re using energy that’s produced by nonrenewable resources. These include gas and oil. The less that everyone can rely on this kind of power, the better it is for the environment. For this reason, environmental groups have been pushing businesses to consider commercial solar power.

Qualifies for Federal Solar Tax Credits

For many people, one of the biggest pitfalls is the upfront cost of solar panel installation. However, there are ways that you can reduce this upfront cost thanks to a federal solar tax credit. The U.S. government is in the middle of a big push to get companies and homeowners like yourself to go solar. As the technology and cost of making panels continues to drop, the pressure increases.

As part of that push, the government offers a federal solar tax credit. Many local governments offer a tax credit too. While this push won’t last forever, you can take advantage of it now to reduce the cost of going solar.

Earns Money Through SRECs

Solar Energy Credits are an incentive-based program that allows you to earn real money for every kilowatt-hour or megawatt-hour of electricity that your home generates using solar energy. In some cases, the credits that you earn through this program can be sold for hundreds of dollars.

It’s a little different from net metering, which is an agreement between you and your power company. With net metering you get credit off your energy bill for any extra electricity that you produce. With SRECs, you earn money to put right back into your pocket. Let’s face it, there are very few business and home appliances that you can buy to generate money, but solar panels can.

Helps the Community

Offsetting your high energy bill is great, but what does that do for your community? Actually, it regulates the cost of energy. The more energy that you produce, the less strain that you put on the power grid. As more people adopt solar panels, the strain on the power grid will be further reduced, lowering energy costs for those in your community who can’t afford to have solar panels installed.

Provides Energy at Night

When people first started switching to solar energy, one of the biggest problems was that power was only generated during the day when the sun was shining. Because of that, they were still forced to draw power off the grid at night and on cloudy days. Now, however, solar backup batteries provide power on cloudy days and at night.

Backup batteries are the perfect complement to solar panels. They are charged by the sun and store the energy until you need it. During a power outage, you can still run basic appliances for one or two days depending on your power usage. At night, the batteries take the night shift and continue to supply your home or business with the power it needs.

In short, solar panels combined with backup batteries can give you the energy freedom that you need.

The Cons of Going Solar

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits of going solar, but there are some cons as well. Let’s discuss those cons so that you can make the best decision for your home or business energy needs.

Has a High Upfront Cost

While solar panels can save you money in the long run, the upfront cost is still high. Even with the cost of solar panels dropping every year, the amount of money you have to pay upfront is a major hurdle for some families and businesses.

This problem is only exacerbated if you can’t get a federal tax credit or participate in SRECs in your state. While SRECs are great, they aren’t available everywhere, so you might live in an area that doesn’t have such a program.

Doesn’t Work for All Buildings

Solar energy is fantastic, but you need sunlight to make it work. If your home or business is located in an area that doesn’t receive a lot of sun throughout the day, installing panels might be a waste. Typically, you want your roof to receive at least four hours of sun every day. Otherwise, your investment may not make enough to pay itself off.

What happens if there are long stretches of days without much sunlight? A battery can help, but if your home or business doesn’t receive enough sunlight, you might not be able to bank enough energy to make a difference.

Saves Less With Low Energy Usage

People often talk about all of the money that you can save if you switch to solar power. However, these savings are dependent on you using a lot of energy. The more energy efficient your home or business is, the less savings you’ll see. In short, if your building is too energy efficient, you might not make enough to pay off the panels in the average 10 years.

Has a Carbon Footprint to Manufacture

This downside is a double-edged sword to be sure. Having solar panels installed on your home or business can lower your footprint, which is good for the environment. That said, making solar panels actually releases the same greenhouse gasses that they prevent.

There’s a silver lining, though. Solar panels offset the greenhouse gasses that they release over time. It typically takes about four years to offset the greenhouse gasses that were released to make them. Since solar panels can last 25 years or more, they do more good than harm. However, there’s no dying that producing solar panels leaves behind a carbon footprint.

Likewise, there’s no widespread method used for recycling solar panels. After their life cycle, many of them end up in landfills. Hopefully, a good recycling method will be more widespread in the coming years.

Is Complex to Install

Installing solar panels is no easy feat. In fact, it’s recommended that homeowners and businesses owners don’t try to install the panels themselves. Along with there being a lot of labor involved, you have to know how to hook up the solar panels to provide power. Doing this incorrectly could cause a number of issues, so it’s better for weekend warriors to leave installing the panels to professionals.

John and Brooke Wenman


Get a Professional to Install Your Solar Panels

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to having solar panels installed on your home or place of business. However, it’s still up to you to determine if the pros outweigh the cons. If you determine that solar panels are a good fit for you, consider reaching out to Wenbrooke Services. We offer solar panel installation services and can equip your home or business with eco-friendly solar panels today.