Solar panels are becoming more popular. But is the right time for you to switch your home over to solar? We weigh in some reasons you might want to consider going solar.
Installing solar panels on your home can be a tempting way to save money on energy bills while helping the environment.
The idea of generating your own energy from the sun and weaning yourself off of relying on power companies can be appealing to budget-conscious homeowners.
But if solar energy is so great, then why doesn't everyone have solar panels on their house?
While solar panels might make sense for some people, solar panels might not be right for everyone.
Here are some solar energy pros and cons that you may want to consider before installing solar panels onto your home.
Pros of Installing Solar Panels on Your Home
Energy Cost Savings
One of the main reasons people invest in solar is to save money on energy costs.
Solar companies often offer pay-as-you-go services so that people can start saving money right away. Using financing options allows people to start using solar energy without a large upfront investment, although paying upfront results in better savings over the long term.
The federal government also offers a 30% Solar Tax Credit, which means you could get 30% of the cost back from what you spent purchasing a solar system. States and local regions might offer additional credits as well.
Installing solar panels into your home can also increase your home's value. Potential buyers may be attracted to the fact that they can save money on their electric bills with solar energy or enjoy the fact that they could be living in an environmentally friendly home.
The increase in value to your property can vary depending on the real estate market in your location and other factors. However, research shows that homes increase their resale value by more than $5,900 for every 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar installed.
Studies also show that homes can sell 20% faster if they have solar panels installed versus homes that don't have them.
Getting solar panels installed can help people reduce their dependence on power companies. Although the United States does produce a good amount of energy domestically, it does rely on foreign energy sources to maintain its energy requirements.
Reliance on foreign energy means that sudden changes in energy availability or political turmoil could causes spikes in energy prices.
With solar energy, people can become more energy independent and not have to rely on foreign energy or even their local power company for electricity.
Another reason that many people decide to invest in solar energy is to help the environment.
Traditional energy typically comes from burning coal which can release gases that pollute the air and contribute to global warming. Byproducts from traditional energy production can also pollute the water and harm wildlife.
Solar energy in contrast is more environmentally friendly and doesn't cause air or water pollution. It is a renewable source of energy that is also abundant as it will never run out (unlike coal).
People who want to keep the planet and environment healthy for years to come may want to consider switching to solar energy.
Solar Panel Warranty
To make sure your solar panels perform over the long term, make sure you have a good solar panel warranty.
Most solar panel manufacturers provide a performance warranty that guarantees that solar panels will perform for a period of 20-25 years. Many manufacturers will also guarantee 80% performance after the first 25 years.
Solar panels tend to last up to 30 or 40 years if properly maintained. But a good warranty will give you peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer will stand behind their product.
Cons of Installing Solar Panels on Your Home
Getting solar panels can also have some downsides that are worth exploring before you decide to purchase.
Inclement Weather (like hail, hurricanes or snow)
Inclement weather can threaten to damage or destroy solar panels, so homeowners should take their local climate conditions into account before investing in solar. Hailstones, hurricanes, tornadoes and heavy rain can potentially damage solar panels and require them to be repaired or replaced.
Heavy snow can also be an issue as snow can cover the solar panels which prevents sun from reaching them. Solar panels can still generate energy when completely covered with light snow, but heavy snow can block them completely.
Solar panels are designed to be able to withstand the weight of heavy snow, but heavy snow can still weaken the foundations where the solar panels are attached, causing them to crack.
On the positive side, snow often slides off your solar panels or melts away, which means that you usually don't have to worry about cleaning it off yourself. It can also help keep your solar panels clean as it can wash off debris when it melts away.
Overly hot temperatures can also be a concern as they can cause solar panels to overheat.
Lack of Sunshine
Solar panels only generate energy on days when it is sunny. So solar panels might not be as efficient in regions where the sun does not shine as often.
However, solar panels do still work in cloudy weather and produce 25% of what they would produce on a sunny day (10% if it is very cloudy).
Another big consideration before investing in solar energy is maintenance costs, which can reduce the amount of money you would save on solar. Maintenance should be performed annually to make sure that your solar panels continue to perform well.
Having your solar panels inspected can cost around $100 and a professional solar company can charge anywhere from $3-$10 per panel to have them cleaned, which can cost the average homeowner anywhere from $100 - $150.
The maintenance cost can vary and cost more if you have more solar panels installed or live in a more expensive area. Overall, expect maintenance costs to be at least $250 a year and be sure to research these costs before investing in solar.
Are Solar Panels Right for Your Home?
To decide if solar panels are right for you, take into account all of the above benefits and concerns. Check with local solar energy companies and compare your options. Solar energy could be a great way for you to help the environment while saving on energy costs.
Aside from saving on energy costs, you should also consider investing in a home warranty to help protect your budget from costly repairs that may occur due to the unexpected breakdown of some of your major home appliances and systems. . American Home Shield® has been the leader in the home warranty industry and protecting homeowners’ budgets for over 45 years. Learn more about our flexible plans and what’s covered here.