If you’ve ever had to deal with the complexities of repairing or replacing your roof, you’ll know that this is a large job that requires careful consideration and thoughtful decision making. According to Home Improvement Leads, a remodeling project of this size can be overwhelming and stressful, especially for environmentally conscious 21st-century homeowners. If you’ve been on the fence about residential solar power and are wondering whether your next roof remodel should include photovoltaics, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the pros and cons of installing solar panels in your home to help you make an informed decision.
Benefits of residential solar power
In the United States, more and more people are jumping on the renewable energy bandwagon through the installation and use of residential solar panels. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, as of the end of the second quarter of this fiscal year, the U.S. has installed a total of nearly 32 gigawatts of solar capacity—enough to power 6.2 million homes! Here are just a few of the reasons so many homeowners are choosing photovoltaics for their homes.
Lower energy bills
The primary purpose of solar power is to decrease the need for traditional grid based electricity from non-renewable sources. Using the sun to illuminate, heat, and power your home will significantly decrease your grid based energy bills. Although your savings will depend on the size, type, and direction of your solar panels and also will vary according to your local climate, you can expect to save at least $10,000 over 20 years.
Decreased carbon footprint
In addition to decreasing monthly energy bills, residential solar power also decreases the carbon footprint—or combined greenhouse gas emissions—of your home. Using renewable energy sources for household electricity, heating, and water will demand less of the grid-based, non-renewable power sources in your area and decrease your home’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re unsure what your home’s carbon footprint is without solar panels, check out this handy calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are many other benefits to installing solar panels at home, including the ability to live partially or entirely off grid with stored solar power, making you and your home self-sufficient and not reliant on grid based energy. Some homeowners also find that, by combining their solar panels with other energy efficient practices, they can achieve the ultimate goal of net zero energy in their homes and perhaps even make money off their solar panels.
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Drawbacks of residential solar power
While solar panels have many obvious benefits that make them so popular with environmentally conscious homeowners and businesses around the world, there are several potential perceived drawbacks that prevent some of us from taking the leap into residential solar power.
Initial installation and materials costs
Perhaps the main drawback of solar power in the home is the high cost of purchasing and installing solar panels. The average cost for a standard 5 kilowatt residential solar panel system is currently around $13,000 after tax credits, according to Energy Sage. However, costs are steadily decreasing as both technology and popularity of residential solar power increases, making them more affordable now than ever before. It is also important to note that government rebates and shared solar schemes from both state and national levels make installing solar panels at home more accessible than ever before.
While high costs are the first thing that make homeowners take pause before installing solar panels, there are other potential drawbacks that can affect this decision. The length of time before seeing the financial savings of solar is one, since most companies only quote savings over a period of around 20 years and it will take at least 3 to 5 years to pay off the initial cost of your panels. Some homeowners are also worried about the decreased curb appeal of their homes after installing rooftop photovoltaics, but opinions differ here as to whether solar panels add to or detract from the aesthetic of a home.