Over the past decade, residential and commercial solar energy has grown steadily almost every year — and that growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2022. In fact, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that global solar deployment will grow by 5% in 2022.
With more people choosing to install solar panels for their homes and businesses, you may be wondering if you should also invest in a solar energy system.
Like any substantial home or building improvement, there’s a lot to consider before making a decision. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of solar panels to help you decide whether you should install them in 2022.
The pros of solar panels in 2022
- Lower energy bills
- Increased home and business value
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Can provide power to off-grid buildings
- Earn back money from the excess energy produced by the panels
Let’s take a closer look at each of these solar panel pros below.
Lower energy bills
Solar panels can generate enough power for your home or business to reduce or eliminate the need to pull in electricity from the grid. Utility electrical costs are rising in many parts of the U.S., which means that relying on solar panels for most of your electrical needs can save you money long-term.
Increased home and business value
Adding solar panels to your home or business can make your property more valuable. For example, Energy.gov estimates that solar panels can add around $15,000 to a home’s value.
That said, the total added property value will depend on factors such as:
- Whether you lease or buy the solar equipment
- The size of the solar energy system
- The efficiency of the solar energy panels
- The location of your home/business
- And more
Based on the factors above, a solar energy expert can help you estimate how much your solar panels will add to your home’s value.
Reduced carbon emissions
Traditional power plants generate electricity by combusting fuel to heat water into steam. The steam drives a turbine, which generates electricity. Because this process requires burning traditional fuel sources — such as coal and oil — it produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. Excess carbon dioxide harms the environment and leads to global warming.
On the other hand, solar power is a clean and renewable energy source — meaning it does not directly release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Can provide power to off-grid buildings
If your home or business is in a remote location (away from the grid), solar panels are your best option for power.
During the day, the solar panels can power your appliances and store extra energy in a battery. Then, at night (or on overcast days), the battery will provide power to your home or business.
Earn back money from the excess energy produced by the panels
If your home or business is connected to the grid, you may be able to earn back money from your utility provider through net metering or SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) programs.
One of the advantages of solar panels is that they often produce more power than you need at one time — especially during the sunny summer months. If your utility provider offers a net metering program, you can send extra power to the grid, and the provider will send you credits in return. You can redeem the credits on overcast days when you need to pull additional power from the grid. Ultimately, this reduces the amount you pay to the utility company.
If your state offers a SREC program, you can earn money on the solar energy your panels produce. Your utility provider will issue one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) of electricity your solar panel system generates.
Utility companies offer SREC programs because state and federal governments mandate them to produce a certain amount of clean energy. By providing you SRECs for the clean energy your panels produce, they comply with state and federal requirements.
If you live in a state that offers a SREC program, you work with an aggregator or broker to monetize your SRECs in one of the following ways:
- Upfront payment: After installing your solar panels, you can sell the rights to all of your future SRECs upfront. You’ll receive a one-time, lump-sum payment.
- SREC contract: Working with an SREC aggregator, you agree on a price for your SRECs and sign a contract lasting anywhere from 3 to 10 years. The aggregator sells your SRECs for you and takes a small percentage of the earnings.
- Sell SRECs on the open market: You can also sell SRECs on the open market as your system produces them. However, you must sell your SRECs within three years from the time you earned them. The price of SRECs fluctuates depending on supply and demand, so your future earnings will largely depend on your state’s market.
The cons of solar panels in 2022
- Solar equipment is expensive
- Solar panels require space
- Manufacturing solar panels negatively impacts the environment
Let’s take a closer look at each of these solar panel cons below.
Solar equipment is expensive
The biggest drawback to solar panels is their price. The cost to install solar panels ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. That said, because of their long-term energy savings, many people recoup the installation cost of their solar panels within 9 to 12 years. A solar energy expert can help you estimate the payback period based on your energy consumption and the system you choose.
Solar panels require space
Standard solar panels are 65 inches by 39 inches. To install them, you’ll need sufficient space in an area that receives direct sunlight.
The most common place to install solar panels is on the roof. However, some roofs may not support the panels because of their construction or their angle. A solar panel expert can help you determine whether your property can accommodate solar panels or not.
Manufacturing solar panels negatively impacts the environment
The power generated by solar panels is emission-free, but some toxic materials are used during the manufacturing process to make the photovoltaic cells on the panels. However, solar panels still positively affect the environment when they replace or reduce more harmful energy sources, like coal.
Still not sure if solar panels are right for you?
Contact Photon Brothers today to speak with one of our solar experts. We’ve helped countless homes and businesses in Colorado and California make the switch to solar energy. Our solar engineers can help you weigh the pros and cons of solar panels and provide you with upfront, honest pricing estimates and recommendations.