While solar energy is a renewable and clean source of energy, it does have some drawbacks that are worth considering before making the switch. Here are some of the main drawbacks of solar:
The initial cost of installing a solar system can be expensive and, which can be a potential drawback of solar for some homeowners. But do not worry, there are solar loans, and the typical system will pay for itself with savings on electricity in 6 to 10 years depending on the quality of your roof and surrounding trees! For more information on how you can finance your solar system check out this blog on solar loans.
Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity, so they are less effective on cloudy days or in areas with limited sunlight. However, we make sure you are set up with the best system possible and will provide you with a scientifically sound estimate of how much power it will produce over the next 25 years (and thus save you in concrete terms). Plus, with “net metering” you typically can still offset a substantial proportion – if not all – of your 24×7 electricity use. We can explain how it all works.
3. Energy storage
Solar energy can only be generated during the day, which means that energy storage is necessary to use solar energy at night or during periods of low sunlight. For solar only installations, the grid becomes your energy source during that time (which relates to net-metering noted above). That technically is another drawback of solar but another option is to get a solar battery, which has the added benefit of providing backup power when the grid goes down. For more information on the batteries we install, head on over to our website.
4. Space requirements
Solar panels require a significant amount of roof or ground space to be installed, which can be a challenge for homeowners with a less suitable roof. But good news! We have experts who can design the best system possible for your home, even if it is on the smaller side. Afterall, some low-cost electricity is better than none.
Solar panels need sun, but not every roof or field gets enough sunlight to make a system effective. For example, perhaps your neighbor has big, beautiful shade trees that block the sun from reaching your roof. Or the trees are simply trees you do not want to do without. The one reason however that does not apply is that, while trees clean the air of carbon dioxide, it takes one heck of a lot of trees to do as much as solar array do in terms of reduced CO2 emissions. Read our “Tree Math” blog for more information.
Solar panels may require maintenance if a component fails or stops functioning efficiently. But it is rare to have problems, and if they do, we have a local service team ready to help! So it’s not really a drawback of solar after all! (Not every installer has a dedicated service team however, so ask any installer you are considering how they handle such a situation.)
7. Environmental impact
While solar energy is a clean energy source, solar panels do have an environmental impact due to toxic materials and their energy-intensive manufacturing processes. The question is: do solar panels take more energy to make than they produce? According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the manufacturing process takes about as much energy as using your home oven for seven hours (14-16 kWh). That is a mere fraction of what the panel will produce over its lifetime. As for what to do with your panels at the end of their life and the toxic materials they contain, you can take comfort in the fact that those materials are also valuable and can be reused. As a result, there are already multiple panel recycling programs – a business that obviously will grow over time. Check out this blog post for more information on how to recycle your solar panels!
While these issues and drawbacks of solar are worth considering, the benefits of solar energy almost always outweigh the drawbacks (except for a tree you cannot take down). With the right planning and installation, solar energy can be an effective and sustainable source of energy for homeowners and businesses alike.
Want to see a list of the benefits of solar? Check out this blog post.