By Tim Smith
Cutting the cord to the main electrical grid gets many homeowners excited when solar energy is pitched their way. Relying on the local electric company only means high energy costs almost every month. They have to rely on the ever-decreasing fossil fuel supply to generate the power. Sunlight is an endless source of power so solar energy is an overall great idea. Go over these pros and cons to really see a rounded view of this sustainable energy source.
Initial Investment Often High
The most common reason against solar power is the initial cost. Simply buying the panels and hiring a professional installer costs thousands of dollars. If you purchase a 6,100 SolarEdge Astronergy Gridtie System, for example, the parts alone are nearly $10,000. Remember, this price doesn’t include labor. Unless a homeowner has an inheritance or a really large tax refund, paying for the solar installation is just not possible.
You’re not Dependent on Fossil Fuels
It’s rare when an electric company actually derives their power from wind or water. Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity is the most common practice, contributing to air pollution and climate change. If you install enough panels on the home to power the entire household, you remove yourself from the grid and any use of fossil fuels.
Cloudy Region? Energy Production Could be Limited
It’s possible you just don’t live in a sunny enough area for solar to work effectively. For most systems, they need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight to operate efficiently. When you live in a mostly cloudy region, including the Pacific Northwest, sunlight is hard to come by.
Electric Companies Pay You
For those lucky few with an ample solar array and consistently sunny days, electricity production is actually more than you can use. This extra energy goes back into the main grid as a surplus. At year end you’ll receive a payment from the electric company for all the extra power. That may be reason enough to invest in solar. Please note this is not always the case for every state. Click here to look for rules, regulations and policies on net metering in your state.
Extra Accessories Add to Price
Just like a car repair, solar installations always have extras that must be added into the quote. It’s not just the panels you pay for, but items that allow the power to flow properly into your home wiring. Installers could suggest an Itron Centron Digital Meter, for instance. Although it’s not horribly expensive, it does raise the overall investment cost.
Power in Times of Outages
You know you want to be the one person on the block with power when an outage occurs. The main grid has periodic issues, causing widespread blackouts any time of year. Your solar gives you uninterrupted power regardless of the grid’s issues. The whole neighborhood will want your power source immediately.
With all these concerns in mind, it’s no wonder there’s not a lot of people with arrays installed on roofs. However, time may forge a different scenario as material prices drop and governments increase their incentives to homeowners. Give it a shot if you can. The feeling of independence from the main grid could be satisfaction enough for your investment.