Solar power is an option for those wanting to use a more natural source of electricity or live off-grid, but there are so many sources writing about it, that you can easily get lost trying to decide to use this form of power or not. When we purchased our home five years ago we knew that we would invest in solar power. We made a pro and con list to figure out if it was worth the investment! Pro and con lists are a simple and effective way to organize your thoughts on decision-making processes, so why not organize this idea into that list? Here are some pros and cons of using or getting solar power to know.
Pros of Using Solar Power
Solar power can give you energy that reduces your carbon footprint and improves your impact on the environment. Not only that, but it can be very sustainable when in the right placement as well as reduce your electricity bill.
If you feel out of control of your own bills or energy costs due to rising costs of electricity, solar power can help reign that in and give you control again. You also have more control over how you wish to live (i.e., off-grid living).
Using solar power doesn’t just mean using the sun’s energy for your electricity, but it can also be used for many different projects or types of energy such as a heat source. Solar power has been used for many types of projects involving energy as well as integrated into building projects too.
Since technology is consistently improving and continuing to evolve, solar power can become superior to non-renewable energy sources. Solar panels are being made to have much less maintenance and better energy output.
Cons of Using Solar Power
Long Term Commitment
You wouldn’t want to invest in solar power if you aren’t in a permanent home due to the costs of installment and removal. Similarly, solar power doesn’t work great for all places or roof types and may need alteration if you are in a less than ideal place or home for solar panels.
High Startup and Storage Costs
The installment and purchase of solar panels can become very pricey, which means this is an investment. If you wish to use solar power for all day and night use, you probably also have to get batteries to store the energy for later use which are also expensive.
Full disclosure, we paid about 20K for the solar on our home. We got a federal tax credit back that was $7,500. Solar is a big investment so make sure it’s right for you before purchasing!
Solar Power May Not Be For Everyone
While solar power can save you money, if you have a relatively low electricity cost or energy bill you may not be saving enough to make up for the costs of installing and getting solar panels. Basically, the less you’re currently spending the less you may save.
It’s also important to be aware of the end of year solar costs. In California and if you are a PG&E customer, when you have solar your home is now an energy producer, not just an energy consumer. You will receive monthly Net Metering Statements and an annual True-Up Statement. Whenever your solar is generating more power than you use at that day, you send the extra energy to the grid, and PG&E gives you credit for the value of the energy. When your home needs more power than your system is producing at that particular moment, you draw on power that PG&E generates through the grid, and PG&E tracks the value of that energy. This allows them to track the “net” energy, which is basically how much energy your system sends to the grid and how much energy your home draws from the grid.
Once a year at the end of your “true up” period, PG&E sends you a True Up Statement. It details the amount of credits that you earned by sending power to the grid and the charges that you incurred for using power that PG&E generated. If you incurred more charges than credits, you will need to pay PG&E for the cost of the power you purchased from them. If you produced more power than you used over the course of the year, you don’t owe PG&E anything more than what you’ve already paid monthly to be connected to the grid.
Since solar power is becoming more popular and increasingly more marketable, so many more companies are emerging and pushing themselves onto homeowners for installation. It can make finding a reputable and comparably priced company a lot more overwhelming and difficult.
This list of important benefits and drawbacks to solar power usage can help anyone wanting to learn more about solar power or trying to decide whether to use it or not. You can use this yourself or share it with friends and family, and it can be super useful in thinking about sustainable or alternative energy sources for households. Hopefully, this list of pros and cons of solar power can help you or at least teach you something new and interesting.