Solar

Considering Solar? Here are 8 Great Benefits Of Solar Panels

Solar energy is has been game changing for homeowners wanting to save money on their energy bills. But what other benefits of solar panels are there?

In order to better inform solar consumers, we address the benefits of solar panels, as well as the most common pros and cons of solar energy.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of going solar this year?

You’ve seen your fair share of solar marketing. But knowing whether a solar investment is right for you takes more than a scammy ad on your social media account. 

We want to supply you with quality information, so you can make the best decision for your home.

Here are some things–the good and the bad–that you should know before you go solar. 


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The Benefits Of Solar Panels (Pros List)

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1.Eliminate Or Drastically Reduce Your Energy Bill

Energy costs are always fluctuating and are consistently too high. Homeowners struggle to pay their energy bills, especially as we keep moving into a technology-driven world.

One of the biggest pros of going solar is that you own your energy. You’re less dependent on your energy company for your electricity needs. And, most of all, since solar doesn’t cost anything to generate electricity, most homeowners are able to completely eliminate or drastically reduce their energy bill.

Your solar array (solar array simply means a group of solar panels that form a system) is usually warrantied to last between 25-35 years. The average time to payoff a solar panel system is 6-9 years. Which means you’re making money on all years past your payoff period.

Think of it like this: instead of paying your utility company and staying dependent on chaotic and consistently high energy bills, pay towards your own power system. Your money will go towards self-sufficiency (your solar panels), and eventually you’ll save money from all the energy bills you’re not paying for anymore.

Solar quotes from your local solar professionals can give you an idea of how much you’ll save on your energy bills over the lifetime of your panels. You can also use estimate tools online (here and here, for example) to get a general idea of saving projections. 

However, you’ll get the best solar estimates from a professional installer visiting your home, checking out the slant of your roof, shading, etc. This will help you really get a customized quote

2.You Can Make Money With The Energy Your Solar Panels Produce

Net-metering and Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) have been a game changer for residential solar. Homeowners no longer have to worry about solar batteries or losing any solar energy production. And they can make money off of the energy they’re making.

During the long summer hours, your panels will most likely generate more power than you use. Net-metering allows the utility company to use this extra energy and either pay you for the energy they use or give you energy credits (discount your energy bill) when/if you need energy from the grid. 

The other nice thing about grid connection is that, while you build up energy credits during the summer, you can use the power from the grid during stormy weeks when your panels aren’t generating as much. Then you can use those energy credits you built up to pay for any energy you use during those low production days

Essentially, you’re saving a lot on your energy bills, and you’re reassured you’ll always have power when you need it. 


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3.Renewable And Clean Energy: Reduce Greenhouse Gasses And Carbon Emissions With Solar

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Solar energy is a renewable energy, which means that there is infinite access to this source of power. We’re not going to run out. Or, rather, by the time the sun has burned out in 5 billion years, we’ll have a lot of other problems to think of.

Solar energy is also a clean energy. Which means that it doesn’t emit carbon emissions or greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere while it’s generating electricity.

Traditional fossil fuels (coal and oil) pollute the air and water and emit carbon dioxide emissions. Even though the effect of fossil fuels aren’t easy to see in our everyday lives, it’s destroying landscapes and contributing to health issues such as asthma and cancer. And there is a limited amount that we can use–we may not have too much longer until our popular source of fuel dwindles. 

During the manufacturing and installation process, there are some amount of emissions and problematic chemicals used. But it’s much less than anything coal and oil contribute. While further research is being done to make renewable energy as clean and eco-friendly as possible, for now it’s still much safer than anything fossil fuels are contributing.

4.Solar Is Widely Available

It doesn’t matter if you live in a state with long winters or overcast weather. Solar will make a good difference (both in environmental impact and energy bill reduction) in most any area of the U.S.

In fact, some northern states have the highest rates of solar installation. New York and Massachusetts, for example, have used solar widely and successfully because of the high energy prices

5.Solar Continues To Be More Efficient

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Solar panels require little maintenance overall. And it’s a very quiet technology, which makes it ideal for residential and commercial areas.

Solar technology is continually researched and developed. Solar panels are much more efficient than they used to be. There are more options to choose from for different situations and locations.

6.Solar Energy Diversifies Energy Sources–Could Help Countries And Individual Citizens Be More Independent

Renewable energy is our future. Yes, for environmental reasons and the health of the human population. But also because it creates more independence from foreign politics and price fluctuations of oil and coal.

Renewable energy still has a way to go before it can power a whole country constantly and efficiently. The sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, and energy storage has a ways to before we can supply energy on that large scale.

However, diversifying energy, creating different energy options other than fossil fuels, and researching renewable technology definitely helps countries become more independent with these abundant energy sources. Eventually, we can pull away from polluting and controlled fossil fuels and exchange it for renewable abundance worldwide. 

Utility companies and the U.S. government are already incentivizing and adapting to solar technology. Renewable energy is the key to a better future with less dependence on other countries’ resources. 

Starting solar in cities and states, and creating a renewable infrastructure, will eventually lead to exports, funding, and investments. This will lead the way for renewable energy dominance on a larger scale.

In a similar way, U.S. citizens are able to be more independent in operating their own power system. It’s much easier for homeowners to utilize their energy how they need to while they save money.

7.Solar Improves The Value Of Your Home

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PC: Getty Images

The efficiency of solar energy has increased and prices to go solar have decreased

Solar panels are known as a “premium” on homes for sale. Homeowners looking to buy a home are willing to pay the extra amount for a home with solar panels.

You would upgrade a bathroom or kitchen while you’re living in your home. And you’d upgrade if you were looking to make more money when you sell. Either way you benefit.

Solar energy is a lot like these home upgrades…but better. Because solar saves you a ton of money AND makes you money, whether you’re looking to stay or sell.

However, you’ll want to pay attention to how you finance your solar panels. Different financing options allow you to move your contract to a new homeowner (if they’re buying your home). Others are more difficult to deal with if you’re planning to move

If you’re looking for flexibility in your solar panel contracts, be upfront with the solar installers who give you quotes. That way you can really pick the best solar energy option for your circumstances. 

Whether you’re planning to live in your home for a long time, or are planning to sell soon, solar panels are still an excellent upgrade option. 


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8.There Are Convenient Financing Options And Initiatives To Go Solar

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PC: modernize.com

Part of why solar is more affordable is because of the many financing options. There are also great government (both State and Federal) solar incentives.

The popular ITC (Investment Tax Credit a.k.a. The Solar Tax Credit) helps homeowners and businesses install solar 30% off. This solar tax credit has been around for a few years (it received several extensions because of its popularity). However, it is set to gradually phase out every year through 2021.

There Federal and State incentives to go solar as well, but they vary by the state you live in. This can be an annoyance for many homeowners, but there’s help out there connect you to your benefits. Solar professionals like Bright Savings and Home Professionalsare a free resource you can use. They can help connect you to vetted solar installation companies and quotes for free.

These companies can help streamline the research process, so you know you’re only getting quality solar company quotes. These quality quotes will include your available State and Federal solar incentives and benefits.

This way you know exactly what you can expect while you choose for yourself which installer is right for you.

Drawbacks Of Solar Panels (Cons List)

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Recycling solar waste helps mitigate solar panel chemicals from impacting the environment
PC: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

1.Solar Energy Savings Correlates To Cost Of Electricity 

The higher electricity costs in an area, the more savings you’ll make switching to solar. 

You’ll save more because solar drastically reduces or eliminates your energy bill. So, it follows that if you have high energy rates in your area, you’ll save more with solar. 


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2.Some States Do Not Have As Many Solar Incentives

Unfortunately not all states are equal when it comes to solar support. Some states have a lot of conveniences and incentives with going solar. Others don’t have as much. 

You can get connected to your state incentives when you gather quotes from solar installers in your area. They can help you understand your options and how much solar will save you

3.Calling Around For Quotes And Finding The Right Solar Installer For You Can Be Difficult

Not many homeowners actually enjoy the process of looking up professionals they need for a home project. The work in researching the pros available, calling them, and going through the quote-gathering process can seem daunting.

It’s long, mundane, and can take days.

Unfortunately there are very few ways around this. Homeowners who get 3 or more solar quotes end up saving a lot of money on their installation. And solar is worth the savings. So it’s worth the work. 

Fortunately, there are easier ways to do this process. As mentioned in the pros list, you can use totally free resources like Bright Savings and Home Professionals. These organizations work to help connect you to vetted solar installation companies.

They’ll only connect you to solid, reputable solar installers and streamline the quote-finding process.

4.Your Roof May Not Be Prime For Solar

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Sometimes your roof just isn’t prime for solar.

Maybe your roof is too damaged or you’re in a bad position geographically. If your roof is damaged you can look into repair options that go great with solar.

But don’t decide you’re in a bad position geographically speaking for yourself--otherwise you may miss out on some great benefits and savings. You’d be surprised at how many households with shady yards, in cold states still benefit from solar

Like we mentioned above, some of the prime states for solar installation are colder northern states like New York and Massachusetts.

Instead, have solar installers give you a couple different quotes. They have special equipment to gauge how much sunlight potential your roof has, and they can tell you how much solar would actually save you

Sometimes there are even different options other than just rooftop solar

5.Energy Storage Options

If you happen to not be able to access net-metering options, solar energy storage can add on to the price tag of going solar.

But energy storage is still a possibility for your home. 

Fortunately, most homes will have net-metering options. 


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6.Large Investment

Solar energy is still a large investment and upgrade. 

Fortunately there are different financing options available to homeowners to go solar today. Check out your many options, gather your free quotes, and see if solar is a good upgrade for you

7.Chemicals

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PC: Lianne Milton for The New York Times

Recently there has been some scare-tactics from certain corners of the web about the chemicals used in manufacturing solar panels.

It’s not that solar energy is flawless. There is room for improvement. Further research and funding is paving a way to improving the manufacturing process and the chemicals used in photovoltaic panels.  

Yes, there are emissions that are released in the manufacturing process. But compared to coal and oil emissions, it’s barely a blip on the spectrum. And yes, there are chemicals used in creating solar panels. And some of these same chemicals are in the electronics that you use daily. 

The important thing to take away from this is that you’re interacting with far worse pollution and emissions from coal and oil. And you come in contact with materials made of the same chemicals as solar panels daily. Far more than you’ll be interacting with your solar panels. 

You can read further in depth here

8.Space

If you live in an apartment or something similar, you may struggle to find a good spot for your solar panels. 

How much energy you use will influence the size of solar array you need. Which means that sometimes space can be a problem for some people. 

But, as stated before, don’t make any decisions until you’ve had at least a few quotes from your local solar pros. That way you know for sure whether you can benefit from solar or not. 


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Key Takeaways From The Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy

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PC: electrek.co

Now that you’ve reviewed the benefits of solar panels, as well as the pros and cons of solar energy, here are some key takeaways to consider.

  • Solar is not one-size-fits-all. There are different types of panels, equipment, financing, sizes, and programs that will work for different homeowners. The best way to find the option for you is to gather several quotes and compare your local solar installers.
  • Solar photovoltaic panels last for 25 years to 35 years. They have a 6-9 year average pay-off period. Invest in your own solar energy every year until you pay it off, then enjoy the thousands of dollars in energy bill savings for the rest of the time.
  • There are solar initiatives and incentives you can take advantage of, which varies by your location. To understand more about these options, take advantage of the form below to get connected to your benefits
  • Use free resources like Bright Savings and Home Professionals to help connect you to vetted solar installation companies. They’ll only connect you to solid, reputable solar installers and streamline the quote-finding process.
  • Solar is an investment. It’s a low-risk high pay-off investment for most people. But it’s still an investment. 
  • The U.S. is moving towards, funding, and investing in clean energy. Solar energy is currently the most affordable for U.S. homeowners. Solar is scalable, consumer-friendly, and easy-to-set up in residential areas.
  • Manufacturing solar creates some pollution and uses some chemicals. Research and funding is being used to phase these issues out for a completely clean manufacturing process. For now, manufacturing solar emits significantly less pollution than coal and oil manufacturing and energy generation. Which is better for the environment and human health. The chemicals used don’t pose a serious or immediate risk to people who have them on their roof. In fact, some of the same chemicals used in solar panels are used in everyday electronics
  • Solar energy, along with other renewable energy sources, are important because they offer different and cleaner options than current coal and oil energy. Investing in solar not only saves you thousands of dollars, but it’s also an investment in your future and self-sufficiency.


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Frequently Asked Questions about Solar:

Q: What is the ITC?

A: The Federal Government in the year 2019 will pay for 30% of your solar cost. That's like the Federal Government paying 30% of your electric bill for the next 30 years.

Q: Is there a solar program that is 100% free?

A: No. There are programs without any enrollment, install, or maintenance costs. However, you still have to pay the lower power bill that comes accompanied with your electricity use.

Q: What energy efficient program offers the most savings?

A: Solar offers massive savings to the homeowner. Especially as electric rates tend to rise year after year, and homeowners are using more power as they are adding in home automation, tvs, speakers, etc.

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