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Solar Energy Pros and Cons

If you're interested in switching your home over to solar power, then you'll want to weigh the pros and cons against one another. There are many to be compared, and it is your preferences, financial status, and the location of your home that will ultimately determine whether or not going solar is right for you.

Pros

One of the main advantages of going solar is that it is good for the environment because you will be reducing - possibly eliminating – your use of fossil fuels to supply energy to your home. Due to solar panels efficiency, your energy bills will also be significantly reduced. In fact, many homeowners say they have reduced their energy bills by 50 to 90 percent after switching over to solar power.

In addition to saving money on your energy bills, you'll also enjoy taking advantage of tax credits and rebates. As of now through the year 2016, you can receive a 30 percent federal tax credit for the money you invest in going solar. Other state and local rebates are available to those who qualify.

Another reason to go solar is because the energy produced is renewable, meaning it comes from a natural source – the sun – that isn't depleted. Furthermore, it's sustainable, which ensures that future generations won't be negatively affected by your decision to go solar.

Many people think solar technology is only used to produce lighting in a home. However, it should be noted that there are many applications. You can use solar power to heat water, operate appliances and more. This is one of the more notable solar benefits that should be kept in mind when comparing solar energy pros and cons.

If you don't have the funds to pay for solar panels, you can always lease them. Or, you can take out a loan through a solar company that enables you to pay back the borrowed funds over a certain period of time. Some cities will even allow you to take out a loan and pay back the funds via your property taxes. They simply add on your annual payment to your taxes.

Cons

Going solar will cost quite a bit of money. Depending on the type of system that you have installed – off-grid or grid-tied – you will likely be out around $15,000 to $30,000. Do keep in mind that if your home has a rooftop that is heavily shaded, then you will need more panels. Also, if you live in a location that doesn't receive a lot of sunlight, you will need more panels too.

When comparing advantages and disadvantages of solar panels you must also keep in mind that solar energy is intermittent just the same as wind power. Still yet, solar power is far more reliable than energy produced by the wind.

Another disadvantage of going solar is that energy storage can be expensive, especially the batteries that the energy is stored in when using off-grid systems. On the upside, though, there's a good chance that you won't have to store much energy because it just so happens that the time of day when the most sunlight is available is the time of day when you are likely to be using the most energy.

As far as space requirements for your solar panel system, the panels themselves are the largest component, and they will of course be installed on your roof. Depending on where you live, the amount of power that you need and how unshaded your rooftop is, you might only need a single panel. On the downside, if you don't have favorable solar conditions, your entire roof may need to be covered, which of course also means more money.

Lastly, manufacturing solar panels sometimes requires the use of rare materials. Take for example thin-film solar cells, which are the least expensive to purchase, meaning they are in high demand. These cells are made of either copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) or cadmium telluride (CdTe), both of which are rare.

Making the Switch

Now that you know more about the pros and cons of going solar, it's time to evaluate whether or not you want to make the switch. While the cons are definitely large in number, so are the pros, and being that solar power is environmentally friendly, society as a whole benefits each time a homeowner has a solar panel system installed.