Did you know that the energy provided by the sun to the earth for one hour can meet the global energy demand for one year?
There is no doubt that the sun is a powerful energy source. Although we can only collect a small part of it, using this energy by installing solar panels can have a significant impact on the earth.
To be sure, solar panels have exploded in the past few decades. They have become so popular among homeowners and enterprises that even the government is now aware of their value.
But we are all asking the same question... Why?
What are the benefits of solar panels?
Why are they so popular?
Should I buy solar panels? Or is this just a hype?
Are they really worth the money?
Well, the simple answer is yes. They are worth it, and I will explain to you why.
However, we cannot forget the law of equilibrium. Every advantage may have a disadvantage. In this case, this is true. You may not think so, but solar panels do have many disadvantages.
Let's start directly and find out the advantages and disadvantages of solar panels.
1. Renewable Energy Source
Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy.
We wouldn’t have to worry about the sun’s power running out, but instead we can enjoy the rays that hit our solar panels and generate free, clean energy.
Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years when according to scientists the sun is going to die.
2. Reduces Electricity Bills
Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will drop. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity or heat usage.There are endless benefits that come from having spare cash each month to spend on your family or other things. Saving money is one of the biggest advantages of solar.
For example, if you are a business using commercial solar panels this switch can have huge benefits because the large system size can cover large chunks of your energy bills.
3. Diverse Applications
Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Options to charge your electric vehicle from your solar panel system
This is going to become a massive benefit of solar panels within the next 6 months. At the end of 2021 we’ve seen a huge spike in the demand for home EV charging systems which can connect and charge from your solar panels.
Impressively enough, you can get this set up which will maximise your returns from your solar system and your electric car.
Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distil water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space.
Solar energy can also be integrated into the materials used for buildings. Not long ago Sharp introduced transparent solar energy windows.
4. Low Maintenance Costs
Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job.
Most reliable solar panel manufacturers offer 20-25 years warranty.
Also, as there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to be changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity and heat (solar PV vs. solar thermal). Apart from the inverter, the cables also need maintenance to ensure your solar power system runs at maximum efficiency.
So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.
5. Solar power technology is becoming more advanced
Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems. I’ve seen this a lot over the past 5 years. Solar panel technology is taking huge leaps in advancements to allow for some really awesome features. I’d say most important in particular is the availability for flexible solar system designs.
The reason why I like this so much is because you can design a system around your energy bill. Depending on when you use the most energy, you can place panels to capture the most sunlight during that time, maximising on your self consumption and giving you the highest possible savings.
Other features include full visibility and tracking of your system so you know it’s performance and SMART features which can learn when you use the most energy and start to export this to the grid or other places like a battery or electric car.
6. Increase your property value
Because solar panels have so many benefits for homeowners, installing them on your property will increase its value.
Houses that have solar panels will be more valuable than those that do not.
This is because one home will be highly dependent on the grid whereas the other will be generating its own energy. Enjoying being free from the shackles of increasing energy prices.
Again this is because solar panels do have a high upfront cost and can be seen as a great investment asset.
The money that you spend on solar panels will be invested into your home as well, you may even see a high return on investment from installing solar at your property.
7. Environmentally friendly
Energy that is produced by solar panels is clean, renewable and has zero-emissions. Solar energy does not contribute towards greenhouse gasses or fossil fuels unlike other oils and coals.
Essentially this means that solar panels are environmentally friendly products and will not harm the planet.
Being environmentally friendly means a lot nowadays, and you can gain popularity within communities for taking a stance against climate change.
It is one of the most popular reasons why people take a move towards solar, and is definitely one of the biggest advantages of solar panels.
Homeowners can rest easy knowing their energy is not harming the planet.
8. Homeowners can become energy independent
The installation of solar panels to your home could allow you to become completely energy independent.
With a good enough system, you could generate enough energy to power your home without having to buy power from the grid.
Not only is this a great accomplishment, but it also means homeowners won’t have to face rising electricity prices again.
Generating your own power will be save you a large amount of money. You also would not be affected if there was a power cut or any maintenance by the grid on their power lines.
Many people who have become energy independent can say that it’s a massive advantage of solar panels.
9. Excess solar can be sold to the grid
Any excess energy that is not used in your home can be sold to the grid for extra cash.
Not only this, you are providing your local community with clean, renewable energy. This helps you and your community have cleaner energy supplied to your grid by pulling energy from the sun.
Some homeowners will purposely upgrade their systems just to sell excess energy back to the grid.
The government offers some really good Feed-In Tariffs available for homeowners to get rewarded for any excess power they don’t use.
These tariffs usually vary from state to state. The two main tariffs are fixed rate and time varying. The price per KW is decided by these two tariffs, and is a great way to help pay off your system quicker.
Once the system is paid off you will see the return on investment from your solar panels. Solar panels could actually generate you free money, which is a massive advantage.
10. Return on investment
Solar panels are a really good investment to make, and homeowners will be able to get the money they invested back within time.
Although solar panels have a high upfront investment cost, the money that gets saved each month on power bills will help toward paying off that cost of the system.
An easy way to look at it would be: If you saved a large sum of money on your energy bill, then you can put that money towards covering the cost of your system.
Once the solar system is paid off you will still be saving money on your energy bills. Therefore, you are now making a return from the initial investment made on your solar panels.
11. Get rewarded by the government
Government rebates are a great advantage of solar panels.
Being able to sell your energy back to the government for cash is enticing for homeowners to make the move to solar. With pressures on governments to move towards greener solutions, all future rewards are looking bright.
Rates may start to become more profitable and rebates becoming easier to get. However, this may not last forever.
Although these rebates differ from state to state they all offer a big reduction in the cost and most will also offer a no interest loan scheme.
These government incentives actually make solar energy more affordable. This is a step in the right direction and helps first time buyers secure solar.
12. Power can be stored and used at night
Solar panels and battery storage are an ideal combination when paired together. Battery storage allows you to store electricity and discharge it for later use, which is perfect for people who want to self-produce all of their own power and don’t want to be reliant on the power grid or use fossil fuel generators.
Home battery backup systems are designed to charge during the day and homeowners can either use that power at night, or save it up to power the house when the grid is down. We recommend having more than one battery installed to be sure that you have enough energy to power your home whenever you need it.
13. Solar energy was announced the cheapest form of electricity in history
Wooo! Go solar. That’s right, solar energy was declared the cheapest form of electricity in history. There has never been a cheaper way to produce high quality, green energy. This was found by the International Energy Agency back in October 2020.
It was highlighted that solar energy is significantly cheaper than coal and gas. It’s safe to say, solar panels have a very bright future ahead being the cheapest form of energy in the world right now.
Don’t miss out on the rush, become a part of the community and take advantage of the cheapest form of electricity. That means it’s cheaper than your energy supplier.
14. Reduced dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels
1.Initial costs can be high
Even though renewable energy sources have greatly reduced in cost over the last decade, buying a solar system isn’t cheap. The initial cost of purchasing a solar panel system can be fairly high because you are essentially pre-paying your next 25+ years of electricity. While the savings are enormous, not everyone can purchase a system outright. A solar system includes solar panels, inverters, wiring, and installation, all of which need to be paid for upfront. That being said, installing solar avoids utility electric bills, so it more than pays for itself over time. Nevertheless, solar technologies are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will go down in the future.
2. Weather Dependence
Energy can only be generated when sunlight is hitting the face of the panel and being converted. Therefore if there is no sun, there will be no energy being produced. Because solar panels rely on the sun to produce energy, you may produce less electricity on cloudy or rainy days. Luckily, solar panels don’t need 100% sunlight to work. Depending on the cloud density, your solar panels will still be able to pick up some of the sun’s energy to give you ample amounts of power your home can bank. Additionally, many users generate excess energy credits in the summer months that can be used during periods of less sunlight like in the evening and winter time. Even if the sun isn’t shining, your credit bank is working for you!
3. Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive
Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive.
In most cases, it is smarter to just use solar energy during the day and take energy from the grid during the night (you can only do this if your system is connected to the grid). Luckily your energy demand is usually higher during the day so you can meet most of it with solar energy.
4. Associated with Pollution
Although solar panels produce clean, renewable energy, the process it takes to manufacture them can harm the environment. Mass production of solar panels may result in fossil fuels being burned and plastic waste.
Unfortunately, this is one of the overlooked disadvantages of solar panels. They are not eco-friendly to mass manufacture. Then again, you can ask what is these days? This is quite a shame because solar panels stand for a big movement to fight the climate crisis.
This does become a disadvantage for solar panels although they themselves produce green, renewable energy. Nevertheless, solar energy pollutes far less than other alternative energy sources. Overall, I’d say that they still do more good than they do bad.
5. The size of system is dependent on your available space
The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need, as you want to collect as much sunlight as possible. Solar PV panels require a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have. Then it means that you may have to downsize your system or rethink about getting solar altogether.
6. Low energy conversion rate
Even the most advanced solar panels still only convert around 20-25% of the sun’s energy into power. It goes to show how much opportunity there is to develop better technology to optimise the full force of the sun.
However, there are many things that need to be considered like the direction of the panels and location.
Although, I also want to stress that solar panel efficiency shouldn’t be the most important thing. Especially when you’re talking about 1-2% difference. Really, I’d be more concerned about the installation or warranties.
An alternative is to install some of the panels in your yard but they need to have access to sunlight. If you don’t have the space for all the panels that you wanted, you can opt for installing fewer to still satisfy some of your energy needs.
This is important for those who are looking to future proof their home with a big enough system to last years.
Some systems however do provide flexible designs for smaller roofs.
Other Factors To Take Into ConsiderationWe are using more energy than 10 years ago
Something not many people consider when buying solar panels. I’ve had heaps of old customers rip off their installation from 10 years ago and replace it with a much bigger and better system. Simply because, they are now using double (if not triple) the amount of energy compared to 10 years ago.
Think about it, ten years ago we barely had smartphones. Nowadays, we have a smartphone for every user in the house, plus kitchen appliances like air fryers, toasters. Microwaves.
Don’t forget about the laptops, tablets, headphones all consuming energy to charge at the same time. This is a lot more energy than 10 years ago…
And of course think about the way the future is moving. We are heading into the digital age so it’s best to future proof your home and buy a system that will still be big enough in 10 years.
Solar is becoming increasingly more popular and common
Incentives and rebates provided by the government may not actually last forever. This is another good reason to take advantage of these rebates and incentives right now.
Due to the price of solar panels becoming more affordable, there may come a time in the future where the government reduces the rebates and incentives that they offer.
It’s best to jump on the wagon now to take advantage before they’re gone!
The future of solar panels and solar energy is very bright
The future of solar is really bright, it’s being used in all aspects of the world. NASA is using it for space exploration or solar farms to produce mass energy.
Australia is using solar for transport, solar farms and now homeowners are taking advantage to slash their energy bills.
It was actually annouced in 2020 by the International Energy Agency that solar power is the cheapest form of electricity.
So there you have it. 12 pros of solar panels and 6 cons.
Personally, I would still say there are more advantages for solar panels than disadvantages.
However is saying this, it makes you realise that maybe they are not as amazing as everyone says.
Although, I do admit I own a solar panel system and its the best investment I’ve ever made. I would choose solar panels over no solar panels any day!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you can think of any more pros and cons, please share them with the rest of us! ߘက