Solar Panels: Are They Worth It?

Solar energy seems to be where the future is headed, but do the pros outweigh the cons? Heres an analysis.

Alternative energy sources are good for the environment, but are they good for your wallet? Using solar energy is certainly beneficial for the environment. However, there are pros and cons as it pertains to installing solar panels for your home. Here we will highlight some of the pros and cons of purchasing your own solar panels.

Average Costs

Solar panel costs can vary from state to state and highly depend on the size of the solar panel system that you need. In 2019, the average solar panel system cost ranges anywhere from $5,960 for a 2kW system to $74,500 for a 25kW system. However, costs can be reduced by taking advantage of the solar tax credit, or ITC. This federal tax credit allows homeowners to reduce the cost of installing their own solar panel system by 30%. After the tax credit is applied, it reduces the cost of a system to be an average of anywhere between $4,172 to $52,150 respectively.

The Pros

In addition to just being overall more beneficial to the environment, there are a number of benefits to having your own solar panel system installed on your home. The first is that you get to take advantage of the tax credit which lowers the cost of your system. The second is that the solar panel system will increase the value of your home. The third advantage to owning your own system depends on the size of the system and whether it is providing all or just part of the energy to your home to allow you to run all your appliances. Whether your home is partially powered by this solar energy or solely powered by solar energy, you can expect to see reduced cost in your energy bills. On average, it is estimated that a solar panel system can save you anywhere between $10,000 to $30,000 over a period of 20 years. A fourth advantage is that sometimes you can sell the energy your solar system produces back to the energy company so that they are paying you to supply energy. Finally, depending on the size of your solar panel system you will have independence living off the grid.

The Cons

There are really not many drawbacks to purchasing your own solar panel energy system. One disadvantage to owning your own system is the high upfront cost of the system. Systems can be financed over time, but why you are financing the systems you may not see such high cost savings overall until it is paid off. It is recommended that the system is purchased outright to see the best results. Another drawback is that if you own the system, like you own your home, you are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the system. Another detriment is the weather. Solar panel systems rely on the sun to power them so living in an area where it is overcast for extended periods of time, such as in the winter, will drastically effect the efficiency of your system. Yet another drawback is that you cannot take the system with you if you decide to move. This means either installing a brand new system on the home you decide to purchase or going back on the grid unless you can find a home that already has solar panels installed.

Alternatives

If the upfront cost is too much for you, then you might consider leasing your solar energy system instead. This option doesn't have all the advantages that buying a system does, but it is often more budget friendly for those who might not have the money upfront or the credit score to finance a system for purchase. One advantage of leasing versus buying is that you will not be responsible for repair and maintenance.

Making the decision to install a solar panel system on your home is one that must be carefully considered. Make sure you weigh all the options and the good with the bad. In the end, it will be up to you to make the best decision for you and your individual needs.

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