Of all the renewable energy sources, solar makes the most sense for most homeowners. Solar makes it possible to go fully off-grid, as well as making it possible to practically eliminate your electric bill with net metering. You may have the idea that solar is expensive or inefficient. It is true that solar can be a substantial upfront investment, however, the rising cost of electricity makes being in control of your future more important than ever.
Let's explore the different thoughts on solar for homeowners.
Solar is Expensive
Installing solar panels on your roof or with a ground mount system will save you money in the long run, but it’s not a cheap purchase upfront. The Federal tax credit has been increased and extended through 2023, which will definitely help reduce the cost, but it is still a substantial upfront investment.
Don't forget that just as your home is an expensive upfront investment, solar WILL save you a LOT of money over time! On average over 20 years, you’re likely to save up to or over $20,000!
Are solar panels inefficient?
You may have heard it said that solar panels are inefficient. We have to start with an understanding of what efficiency means. It’s easy to think that the ideal is supposed to be 100% and that 15% efficiency is not practical or responsible.
The fact is, efficiency is simply about how much space it takes to produce the power. A 250 W panel with 15% efficiency makes the same power as a 250 W panel with 20% efficiency. The difference is the size. The more efficient panel will simply be smaller.
What about cold, clouds, and fog?
Solar panels work just fine in ambient light and will produce significant energy in the fog or on overcast days. In fact, solar panels are actually more efficient at cooler temperatures than hot ones. The sun goes up, and it goes back down every day. Even with cloudy days, you’ll still experience enough sunlight to gather enough energy to power your house!
Solar doesn't work at night.
Without solar, you have a one-way connection to the grid. With solar, you create a two-way connection, meaning you both consume and generate power. Since most people are away during the day when solar is producing energy, and home at night using power, the typical home will draw some power back from the grid when you need it just as you do now both day and night. The power produced during the day is in essence ‘stored’ in the grid.
In the case you are not connected to the grid, there are battery options that will store the energy you capture during the day, allowing you to still have power through the evening and overnight to power your essential appliances.