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This list of residential solar pros and cons was developed to give you better idea for what to expect before moving forward with your solar panel installation.  When it comes to solar energy for homes, here’s a starting point for what to consider.

Solar Energy for Homes: What to Consider

Now if you were to search the web, you would find that Energy.gov offers three main considerations before installing solar power at your home, which include: finding the right contractor, understanding the size requirements of solar panels you need, and knowing about the orientation/tilt of the modules.  Sound advice, but I think we can do better than that in this post.

Starting with Your Overall Strategy

What are the reasons that you want to install solar in the first place?  Is it for short-term benefits or a long-term outlook?  For short-term benefits, you might be considering minimizing your utility costs, selling your solar electricity back to the grid, and/or qualifying for tax credits.  For a long-term outlook, you might be thinking how to protect yourself from rising energy costs, increasing your home’s resale value, etc.  Either way, defining the main purpose for your solar energy project will help to give direction for which of the residential solar pros and cons are most impactful for your situation.

Considering Your Location and Climate

Depending on where you are based in the country, how likely do you believe that a solar installation will help you achieve your overall strategy?  Considering your location, have you already assessed the potential amounts of direct sunlight that you could expect on any given day in order to start harnessing solar energy?

For example, if your home is in a location where you can expect solar energy to pay for itself, that’s a good start.  However, if you have large obstructions (like, a large tree or top of a building) which limits direct lighting to the location where the solar panels would reside (usually the roof), then it’s something to consider when understanding the feasibility of accomplishing your strategy.

Solar Energy for Homes: Advantages

Since 2006, costs for solar energy installations have dropped 73%.  Keep reading ff you want to understand more advantages.

Top 5 List of Good Things About Solar Energy

1. You can decrease your energy reliance

Whether you know it or not, “Residential Electricity Prices Are Rising,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  The Sun is unlikely to ever charge you extra (in our lifetime).

2. You can turn the tables — sell your surplus electricity back to the energy providers

The term is referred to as “net metering” and over 40 US States offer some type of arrangement for selling your excess energy back to the grid.

3. You can earn tax credits

Luckily, the government is open to giving tax credits for solar installations.  Depending on when you are reading this, there may be expiring or new tax credits *available.  So to make things easy on both of us, I’ll just leave the link right here.

4. You save thousands of dollars

You can save money of energy costs that would have otherwise been spent (in the form of a monthly bill) to your favorite local utility provider.  According to a study by NC State University, it shows that new solar energy customers have saved between $40 to $185 per month since installing their solar panels during the first year.

5. You can be investing into your home

According to the Energy.gov site, “Buying a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value,” they mention as they refer to a recent study.  They found that properties with solar installations sold faster than “homes that consume more energy” with a premium “of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array”.

*BONUS*  You can help save the world, by helping the environment

“And then a hero comes along. With the strength to carry on”

– Mariah Carey, Hero

For real, investing in solar is a great way to help the environment.

Solar Energy for Homes Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Renewable EnergyYour location may restrict the actual amount of renewable energy you can harness (see above)
Reduced electricity billsReduced, but oftentimes not eliminated-- unless you go off-grid
Protection from rising energy costsWho knows, maybe energy costs decrease in the future?
Reduce reliance on energy providersN/A
Net metering available (see above)N/A
Can earn tax credits (at both state and federal level)N/A
Increase resale value of your homeN/A
Low maintenance, no moving partsCan be expensive to install
Potential to start, and then grow as neededOftentimes the number of potential solar panels to install is dependent on surface area of your roof
Daytime happens every dayPower generation time-period is only during the daytime
N/AAir pollution (in some cities) can negatively affect the effectiveness
Reduces carbon footprintN/A
Solar savings are in proportion to actual electricity costs (if high costs, then greater savings)Solar savings are in proportion to actual electricity costs (if low costs, then lower savings)
Can review certified local installers at NABCEP Finding quality local solar panel installers can be a challenge
New solar panels are beautifulYour neighbors might think the solar panels are ugly
Solar panels are durable even in harsh weather conditionsYou might need to repair or the replace the solar panels after their useful life
Power generation is free (after it's installed)Power generation is inconsistent (think daylight savings time, etc)
Solar energy is available in remote areasSolar energy isn't as abundant isn't as available in some parts of the world
Solar generation is scalableSolar generation is difficult to forecast
Prices have been coming downSolar storage batteries can be expensive

Read more about the benefits of using solar energy on Home Solar.