Are solar panels worth it?

Solar panels are popular choices among homeowners looking to save on their home energy bills. They collect clean, renewable energy from the sunlight and convert it into electricity. However, solar panels are not solely used by homeowners. Many commercial businesses and manufacturing plants rely on solar energy to power their infrastructures. 

The amount of solar panels information out there has greatly increased within the last decade. Millions of homeowners have made the decision to incorporate solar energy into their overall home energy consumption. 

The age-old question of “Are solar panels worth it?” does not have a cut-and-dry answer. In fact, each homeowner has a unique energy need that may or may not benefit from the addition of these panels. Learn more about solar panels to see if they can help lower your energy bills and provide you with clean, renewable energy. 

Solar Panels: How They Work

Solar panels harvest clean, renewable energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. The harvested electricity can then be used to power homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Solar panels are made up of many individual solar cells comprised of silicon, phosphorous and boron. They need both a negative and a positive charge to initiate an electric current. 

Most solar panels for your home are small enough to fit on your roof, even if you have a small house. Any unused electricity generated from these panels is stored on the main power grid, which can be used to power the home at night.

Most companies perform an analysis of your home to determine an approximate amount of energy that the panels can harvest. Certain homes may not be cut out for solar panels due to their location or amount of shade.

Benefits of Solar Panels

The most obvious benefit of installing solar panels on your home is the incentive of saving money. Homeowners can save anywhere from $75 to $200 each month after installing panels on their roof. Of course, the total savings depends on the total amount of energy harvested.

Solar panels for your home are designed to harvest and store light energy for later use. On a sunny day, for example, the total amount of energy stored is likely going to be greater than the total amount of energy consumed by household members. That energy can be saved and used on a cloudy day, when the panels do not store a high amount of energy.

When it comes to solar panels information, total savings fluctuates based on location. Homeowners must account for local energy costs, climate and shade percentage. Many residents underestimate the total amount of money they can save over the long run. 

Some solar panel companies offer free installation and charge homeowners electricity at a reduced rate. In these cases, the companies are leasing roof space while owners only have to pay the cost of electricity. 

The solar panels facts speak for themselves. Homeowners can receive up to 30 percent of the total cost of installation as a federal tax break. This means that on a system worth $25,000, owners save $7,500. There are many other state and local rebates available, as well as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC).

Drawbacks of Solar Panels

Like anything, solar panels come with a few disadvantages. The initial cost of purchasing and installing a solar system is expensive. Homeowners pay for the panels, batteries, wiring and the inverter. 

Also, solar panels do not guarantee quality energy. They are weather dependent, and the efficiency of the system on a cloudy day is sub-par. Also, the panels do not collect energy at night. Months with higher than usual cloudy days and rain can take a toll on the system. 

When solar energy is not used immediately, it can be stored in large batteries. However, charging these batteries is expensive and will sometimes offset the cost of the energy stored.

Solar panels for your home are installed on your roof, which may not be large enough to account for the total amount of electricity you need to produce. Some owners install panels in their yards, but not all yards are exposed to the sun.  

Are solar panels worth it?

Choosing to install solar panels requires some careful consideration. Will the installation costs offset the cost of electricity? When will you see the savings? These are just a couple of questions you must ask yourself before installing a solar energy system.

Solar panels for your home require at least average sun exposure. If your home is shrouded with trees and other shade sources, the system may not prove very useful. You should also consider the direction that your house faces. Houses that are built along the east-west border can feature panels on both sides, providing maximum energy harvesting.

Consider your current monthly electricity costs. Energy usage rates vary depending on where you live. If your costs are not substantial, it may not be worth it to pay upwards of $20,000 for a solar system. Those who pay high electricity rates save the most when they switch to this system.

Solar panels are most effective in sunny areas of the country. Some regions do not experience ample sunny days. For example, Seattle is one of the wettest and cloudiest areas in the country. If you live here, you may consider alternative energy options. 

When it comes to the cost of solar panels, information is a bit inconclusive. Depending on where you live and the size of your solar energy system, you can expect to pay $15,000 to $24,000. Most homeowners do not readily have these funds and take out a loan to finance the cost of a solar system. If you are not comfortable financing an energy system, it may not be a viable option for you.