Pros and Cons of Residential Solar Systems

Pros and Cons of Residential Solar Systems

You hear a lot about solar energy as a good source of electricity for homes. One of the nice things about it is that an individual can have a solar system installed on their own home. Many other green forms of energy can only be implemented by the power company. So is residential solar energy a good idea? Like anything else, there are pros and cons.

Pros

Production of solar energy does not pollute the environment. There are no greenhouse gas emission released into the air by solar panels. This may not seem like a big deal when you’re only talking about one house, but it adds up.

Solar energy is plentiful and renewable. Other forms of energy are found in finite quantities. When supplies get low, prices go up. And a lot of the resources we use come from foreign countries. Not only are we financially tied to these countries, but we inevitably get more involved politically than we would otherwise. Solar energy is everywhere and will continue to be here forever.

Solar cells require very little maintenance. Years ago solar panels had the reputation of being unreliable and easily broken. That’s not true anymore. Today’s solar panels will last for many years with very little upkeep.

A solar system can make you self-reliant. If the power goes out in the neighborhood, you’re not affected. Rolling black-outs in your city? Not your problem. What if the power company raises their rates. Your electric bill is only affected to the degree that you buy power from them.

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You can still use the power company as a backup. There are times that your system may not be able to produce enough power for your needs. You can still be hooked up to the grid and buy power to supplement what your solar system makes.

A solar power system is scalable. You pay less for the first unit of energy than you do for the last unit that you buy each month. Even a small system will replace the most expensive units of electricity that you would otherwise buy. You can figure out what the optimum size system for your house is. You can use the mix of solar and purchased power that makes the most financial sense to you. Some power companies will even buy excess electricity back from you!

Cons

There are disadvantages too, and you need to take them into consideration before making a decision. The cost to install a solar system are quite high. Prices have come down in recent years, and they may come down further. Nevertheless, it still take several years to recoup the costs.

Solar panels cannot collect power at night. This weakness can be mitigated by purchasing some means to store the energy or by buying power from the power company at night. Panels also collect less energy when there is less direct sunlight. This impacts some geographical locations more than others. Many power companies don’t have the infrastructure to buy back your excess power – yet.