Pro: Protect against rising power prices
With solar power you know how much energy the solar panels will produce so that once you get an accurate price quote you know exactly how much each kilowatt-hour of energy will cost you for the foreseeable future. Granted, while the panels may last over 25 years, you will most likely need to replace the inverter during that time, which will bump up that kWh price too.
For the average consumer with a $150 per month power bill the monthly savings don’t start out huge, but in the 25th year it can reach savings of $300 per month.
Con: Solar energy is an intermittent energy source
There are three aspects of the intermittent nature of solar power. First, the sun doesn’t shine at night and so solar panels don’t generate power at night. Second, the sun shines with different intensity and different times of year and different times of each day. Finally, cloud cover can have a significant effect on the amount of energy produced by solar panels.
Pro: Government incentives
To encourage consumers to purchase solar, the United States government is currently offering a 30 percent tax credit through 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the credit’s set to decrease. If you can’t use your entire credit in one year, you can roll it over into the next year for up to 10 years.
Between all your incentive options, combined with net metering offered by Florida utility companies, you may decrease your overall investment by 30-50 percent!
Con: Upfront cost
As of 2019 it costs an average of around $3 per watt to purchase and install solar. But what does this mean for the average homeowner? The driving forces behind the development of solar energy are rooted in politics. Solar power received government subsidies but the oil and coal industries have also been subsidized. Though upfront cost it high, the real question is whether you have the funds and time to wait to recover your investment. If you can handle these conditions, then solar power truly becomes ‘free energy’ at about the 13 year mark, when most people recover their upfront cost.
Pro: environmentally friendly
Harnessing solar energy does not cause pollution in itself. The emissions related to construction are certainly minimal when compared to generating electricity from fossil fuels. The CSIRO, an Australian government research group estimates that it takes a solar panel 1.5 years to generate the amount of power it took to make it. Today many solar panels are warranted to last 25 years, and still usually go on to provide a good deal over power even after this “life span”.
Pro: Potential increase in property value
According to the US Department of Energy, solar properties generally sell faster than non-solar properties, which is good news to homeowners wanting to go solar but also considering a move within the next several years. As a bonus, the return on investment is roughly around $4 per watt, meaning that if you only paid $3 per watt, there’s the potential to make money on your solar investment as public demand for solar powered homes continues to increase.
Con: Energy Storage is Expensive
Energy storage systems such as traditional batteries work great to store your generated power, but can be very expensive. Luckily, there tends to be a correspondence between most people’s usage and the sunniest times of day. Electricity demand tends to peak in the middle of the day, which also happens to be the same time there’s a lot of sunlight! Of course with a grid tied solar power system, there is no need for storing of energy. The power company buying back your power is basically the same as free energy storage.