Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Tabraiz
There is a big movement toward clean, sustainable living. Because of that, many homeowners are considering the switch to solar power. It’s a hefty undertaking, so many are wondering if the money, time, and effort are really worth it in the end.
Often, people dismiss solar power because they simply don’t know about the benefits solar panels offer, both immediate and long term. Solar power is constantly advancing and presenting new and exciting opportunities for homeowners everywhere. It might just be time to consider the partnership of solar power and your home.
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Are solar panels worth the expense?
Solar power and solar panels are still relatively uncommon in residential areas. Larger corporations and even some municipalities use solar panels as a supplemental power source, but those are still the minority.
So for those who are considering solar panels for their homes, there are many questions and some unknowns. Both the benefits and drawbacks of this alternative power source should be considered before making the investment.
Pros of Solar Panels
Solar panels offer a number of different benefits. Most of the benefits are financial, but there are other advantages that make solar panels appealing.
The most apparent advantage of solar panels is the decrease in overall utility costs. Solar panels gather energy from free-flowing sunshine and lessen the need for more traditional electric power. So a house that uses solar panels, even as a supplement to its electrical power source, will save money.
Using residential solar panels also helps offset the rapidly rising energy costs. Energy costs are determined by the demand for power, the availability of power plants and generators, and fossil fuel costs.
Solar panels require none of those things. The more people who switch to solar power, the lower the demand for traditional power, and the lower the energy costs.
Solar panels also help increase the value of a home. Recent studies have shown that the appraised value of a home increases immediately after the addition of solar panels. This increase helps offset the initial cost of installing the solar panels because homeowners know they can get an immediate return on investment.
Additional Incentives for Solar Panels
Installing solar panels at home is encouraged by a number of federal programs and grants. This means you will be eligible for credits and cash payouts because you switched to a clean energy source. Solar panels can help you earn money from your investment.
Solar panels can also be a passive source of income. There are some scenarios where solar panels can gather more energy than a household uses. This means energy can be stored and sold back to different entities. Solar panels can help you turn your home into a power plant and make a little extra cash.
For those who are more environmentally conscious, solar panels are a great way to reduce individual carbon footprint. Using solar panels doesn’t add to carbon emissions or dangerous atmospheric pollutants. Solar power even tops nuclear power in terms of clean energy.
Cons of Solar Power
Solar panels do, however, have a few drawbacks. More often than not, solar panels are added to a home’s roof. The positioning, condition, and material of a roof all must be evaluated before installing them.
This means that there are homes that don’t have workable roof conditions for solar panels. You might be interested in solar panels, but your roof just isn’t going to work.
The solar panels themselves are very pricey. This means the upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar panels at home can be expensive. The savings can be substantial, but the initial cost is something to consider.
Solar panels are also not moveable. If you are interested in solar power as a long-term energy choice, you can’t move solar panels to a new home. This could mean you have to make the higher upfront investment more than once. Consider how long you plan to be in a home before installing solar panels.
Finding solar panels installers can also be a significant hurdle. The installation process itself is very specialized. There may not be local installers and those that require travel will cost more.
What can solar panels power?
Solar panels are customizable and offer some personalization. It is possible to power your entire house with solar panels, but it isn’t an all-or-nothing situation. Solar panels can be used as a supplement to traditional electrical power as well as a main source of power.
If you choose to make the transition to full solar power, then your initial investment will be higher. The total cost will depend on how many solar panels your home will require. To get a rough estimate of the number of solar panels your home would need, you need to know your home’s electrical consumption and the equivalent solar panel production.
How much does it cost to install?
The biggest cost associated with solar panels is the solar panels themselves and the cost of installation. The cost is dropping as technology continues to advance and the general understanding of solar power increases, but it’s still a large investment. Even after a federal tax credit, the installation cost of solar panels is upwards of $10,000.
How much money will you save with solar panels?
The amount of savings for a home using solar panels depends on their average electrical consumption and the state in which they reside. Electricity prices are highly volatile and change frequently, so determining exact savings is difficult. The average savings over a 20-year period can range anywhere from $13,000 to over $40,000.
It is important to note that even after you install solar panels, you will still receive a bill from the electric company. If your house remains power grid-connected, then you will get a bill. You won’t always be paying money on that bill, however. It all depends on your specific solar panel setup.
How environmentally friendly are solar panels?
Solar panels are an incredibly environmentally friendly energy source. They don’t burn fossil fuels, so there are no emissions or greenhouse gases produced. The concern, however, is the amount of energy required to manufacture a single panel.
Fortunately, the clean energy produced over the life of a single solar panel far outweighs the energy needed to produce that panel. A single solar panel will last between 20 and 30 years. In that time frame, a solar panel will produce four or five times the amount of energy needed to produce it.
If you are still concerned, though, there are other ways to invest in cleaner, more environmentally friendly options. Consider making smarter choices in little areas of your life. Even things like LED outdoor lighting can have big impacts on your carbon footprint.
How do solar panels affect my insurance coverage?
It’s important that any large financial investment is protected. Luckily, most home insurance policies cover the addition of solar panels. This means there won’t be dramatic changes to your policy itself, but there are a few things to consider.
You might consider increasing the amount of coverage. Because solar panels are so expensive to purchase and install, replacing even one can be a large financial burden. Increasing the coverage will help offset any repair or replacement costs down the road, but it will also increase your premiums.
There are some more specialized solar panel systems that may not be covered by the traditional home insurance policy. Systems, like ground-mounted panels, can require a separate insurance policy. This is something to research and consider before making the investment in your own home-based solar panels.
Laura Gunn researches and writes for the insurance comparison site, USInsuranceAgents.com. She is passionate about solar power innovations and enjoys sharing that passion with others.