Pros and Cons of Going Solar
Home Solar Top 5 Pros
#1 INDEPENDENCE FROM UTILITIES
When a homeowner goes solar, they are taking control of their energy future by generating some or all of their energy needs on-site, using clean, renewable sources. A solar-powered home has reduced demand on the utility, which means less stress and strain on our nation’s aging electrical infrastructure. Solar battery backups also help homes becomes more resilient in the face of power outages and increasingly frequent storms. As energy consumers, we have high expectations for the electricity grid. We want reliable, high-quality electricity, but we also don’t expect to break the bank every time we flip a switch. Today’s grid and related energy systems are designed to prevent costly and life-threatening power outages. By generating a portion, if not all of a home’s energy needs, solar and battery backups help mitigate the risk of unexpected or prolonged outages and ensure you have power when you need it most. Once the system has paid for itself through monthly energy savings, you will be generating free energy for decades and contributing to a more sustainable and resilient grid every time you sell excess solar energy.
#2 SOLAR INCENTIVES & ENERGY SAVINGS
A solar power system can, in many cases, totally eliminate or substantially reduce a homeowner’s electricity bills throughout the year by reducing the amount of energy needed from their local utility.
In fact, net-metering allows system owners to pay less to utilities and creates a more stable cost for energy pulled from the utility throughout the year. Net-metering is a benefit offered by most utilities wherein which solar systems are interconnected to the utility power grid, and any surplus power that is generated beyond the household’s immediate needs is transferred onto the grid in exchange for credit on your utility bill. Then at night or during times when a solar system isn’t producing as much energy, and you need to pull energy from the grid, you use those credits to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility. The amount of electricity your solar panels produce throughout the year will vary. Net-metering helps you account for these seasonal differences in generation by crediting you for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use those credits toward your utility bill later. For example, in the summer, when the days are longer, your system will typically overproduce, and you’ll rack up plenty of extra net metering credits. Then, in the winter months when the days are shorter, you can use the rolled-over credits for the energy you have purchased from the grid.
Solar power systems allow homeowners to achieve partial or total energy independence from their utility and to accelerate the clean energy
transition in their local communities. Imagine if everyone made the switch to solar and how much that would reduce the demand of energy from utilities and potentially bring the price of energy down for ratepayers across the board. Check out DSIREUSA.org to learn if your state has a net-metering program since not every state has one and not every program is the same.
FEDERAL TAX CREDITS
In addition to eliminating or reducing an electric bill, the 2020 Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), also known as the Solar Tax Credit, allows homeowners to offset 26% of the cost of their home’s solar installation. This is one of the most generous incentives available to help reduce the upfront cost of your system. For example, Let’s say your total system cost was $20,000. With the 26% Federal ITC, you would get $4,800 of savings on your system in the form of a tax credit the following year. Now the effective cost of the system is $14,800.
#3 SOLAR IS RELIABLE AND EASY TO MAINTAIN
Most solar panels are warrantied for 25 years or more. Premium panels have a long lifespan, and it’s worth noting that they are designed to handle everything from a small branch falling to a light hail storm. They have no moving parts and require very little maintenance. Aside from a periodic cleaning, your solar panels can be expected to run for decades without issue. Solar is an incredibly reliable source of energy. However, not all solar panels are created equal. Below is a chart showing the power output of top solar panel producers on the market today.
You’ll see, through the percentage of power output over time, that SunPower is far superior to any other solar technology on the market right now. With their unique copper foundation, SunPower solar cells deliver unmatched reliability and efficiency. What’s more, the innovative manufacturer currently holds the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place record for solar panel efficiency, so what’s not to like? There are promising examples of how this simple and elegant technology can last longer than 25 years—all the way up to 60 years.
#4 SOLAR ADDS VALUE TO A HOME
Few people account for the increase in a home’s market value when calculating the cost of a solar panel investment. In some states, adding solar panels to a house can increase the value of that home enough to actually cover the cost of the solar system. For example, according to a new Zillow analysis of homes across the country, solar panels raise a home’s value by 4%. That’s roughly a $24,000 increase in home value on a $600,000 home. In the U.S., an average-sized installation usually ranges from $15,000 to $18,500 after solar tax credits. Therefore, with the $24,000 market value increase, a $600,000 home’s value could increase enough to pay for the system.
Additionally, solar-powered homes are becoming increasingly in-demand on the market. General trends show that home buyers are putting more value on energy-efficient and renewable energy features (including solar), and one report found that over 80% of home buyers consider energy efficiency features important when purchasing a home.
#5 HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF
The cost of going solar is in line with common home improvement projects like adding a room or upgrading your kitchen appliances. The only significant difference is that solar is a home improvement that pays for itself over time. So, how long does it take for a solar system to pay itself off? EXAMPLE PAY BACK PERIOD This varies by geographic location and utility company, but typically a residential system will pay itself off between 5-15 years. For reference, a solar power system using high-efficiency SunPower solar panels is guaranteed for 25 years, so once your system pays for itself, you will be enjoying free, renewable energy for decades to come. Here’s an example of how to calculate your return on investment (ROI) for solar. We’re using round sample numbers here; your numbers will be different. Cost of initial system – upfront incentives = combined costs $22,000 – $5,750 = $16,250 Annual electric bill savings = annual benefits (assuming $100 pre-solar monthly bill and panels generating 100% of use) $1,200 = $1,200 Combined costs / annual benefits = payback period $16,250 / $1,200 = 13.5 years The payback period, or ROI, is 13.5 years and then the solar system produces energy for free for at least the remaining 11.5 years.