Weighing Residential Solar’s Advantages and Disadvantages

Is Going Solar Worth It?

weighing the benefits of going solar

If you’re like many homeowners, then you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot more solar panels in your neighborhood than their used to be. Residential solar panels, once a rare sight, are now far less so, and in some cities, they’re even becoming commonplace.

Should you choose solar energy for your home? What are the pros and cons to going solar?

The Benefits of Solar Energy

There was a time when going solar was an expense that most homeowners simply couldn’t justify. But solar technology has become much more affordable than it was even a decade ago. Not only have the prices of solar equipment fallen precipitously, but new financing options have also become available, making a shiny new solar array available to just about anyone who owns a home.

While its true that purchasing a solar system outright nets the greatest long-term financial benefit, you now have the option to lease solar panels or purchase your power from a solar provider via a power purchase agreement.

Buying Vs. Leasing Solar Panel Systems

There are differences between the two, but both arrangements allow you to go solar without having to foot the bill for a new solar array. And both arrangements will typically allow you to save money on your power bill every month.

There are also environmental benefits to going solar. By now, most people are aware that if we don’t take action on climate change now, we and our descendants will be in for a rough ride in the future.

By going solar, you’ll be shrinking your own carbon footprint and doing your part for a cleaner, greener future. Your great, great grandkids will thank you.

By the way, did you know that solar panels could actually increase your home value? It’s true. The National Bureau of Economic research found that buyers were willing to pay a premium of more than $20,000 extra for solar-equipped homes. What’s more, many state and local governments exempt these value gains from property tax. Tax-free equity sounds like a winner to us.

Potential Cons of Solar Energy

OK, so now you know: solar can help you save money, boost your home’s value, and contribute to a brighter future for the children of tomorrow. But what are the drawbacks?

Well, solar is much cheaper than it used to be, but it’s still a substantial investment. We’d argue that the ROI is well worth it, and financing options make it more affordable than ever, but the $15k-$20k price tag of a residential new solar array is nothing to sneeze at.

Then, there’s the fact that solar panels don’t provide energy when the sun goes down. Battery backup systems are improving all the time, though, and it seems we’re approaching a time when storage will be a simple and relatively inexpensive addition to any photovoltaic array.

Finally, there’s no denying that solar panels add a rather distinctive visual accent to any home. Whether that’s a benefit or disadvantage is a matter of opinion. However, there are some really attractive options for those who would like to go solar but also want to preserve their home’s old-school curb appeal. Solar shingles are commercially available and hardly noticeable.

The Future Is Solar

There’s no doubt about it: solar energy isn’t going anywhere. It may have a few disadvantages, but by and large, it’s a smart investment for just about any homeowner.

[Photo via: Telegraph]