16 Advantages & 10 Disadvantages Of Solar Panels
Well, it’s safe to say that solar panels have blown up over the past few decades. They have become soooo popular with homeowners, businesses and now even the governments are recognising their value.
But we’re all asking the same question … Why?
What’s so good about solar panels?
Why are they so popular?
Should I be getting solar panels? Or is this just one big hype?
Are they really worth the money?
Well, the short answer is yes. They are worth it, and I’m going to explain to you exactly why.
However, we cannot forget the law of balance. For every advantage there is probably a disadvantage. With this case, it’s true. You may not think it, but solar panels do come with their fair share of disadvantages.
So let’s jump straight in, and find out the advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) of solar panels.
Table Of Contents
What Are Solar Panels Used For?
Government and big business corporations are also one of the biggest users of solar panels to generate clean, renewable energy. Businesses will use solar panels to slash the cost of their operation bills and free up cash flow to re-invest in their business.
Governments around the world are taking a big step with solar energy and it is being used to power trains, buses and even the international space station.
For homeowners, the need to have solar panels has become increasingly more popular over the years. This is because solar panels can be used to generate electricity at home.
People are catching on about the endless benefits of rooftop solar. It’s exciting to see how popular it has become over the years.
This electricity can then be used to power your electrical appliances in your home. Solar can power anything electrical, from your TV or fridge to your iphone or game console.
Essentially homeowners can become less dependent on the grid. At the same time you can save a significant amount of money on power bills each month.
Power can be stored in solar batteries...
Any power that is generated by solar panels can also be stored using solar batteries.
These can work for both homeowners and businesses and can be scaled up. Storing power can allow complete independence from the grid, meaning you solely create and use your own power.
Solar batteries are also becoming more affordable, as well as more popular for people or businesses who use most of their power at night. Also more and more solar battery rebates are becoming available as well.
Why Are Solar Panels So Popular?
Over the past 20 years solar panels have become extremely popular with homeowners, business and the agricultural industry.
There are many different reasons why people are interested in solar but we have narrowed them down to 3 main reasons.
Firstly, the most common reason why solar is popular is because of money.
Solar panels can provide homeowners with a massive saving toward their energy bill (if not completely reduce it altogether).
When people catch wind of their neighbors slashing their energy bill in half, they simply want a piece of the pie. By having a reduced energy bill it means that you will free up your cash flow each month to spend on stuff that you like or your family.
The finance side of solar is the main reason why it has become so popular in today’s age.
The second most popular reason is because of the environment.
Solar panels are being installed to help take a stance against climate change. People are willing to invest their money into something that will not pollute the planet we live on. Installing solar panels will help by generating clean energy that can also be sold.
This is much better than burning fossil fuels and oils which has a negative effect on the planet. We are realising the sustainability of solar panels which is making them more popular.
Thirdly, solar panels are getting a name for themselves through government incentives.
It is pretty hard to resist when the government is offering to buy back any excess solar energy you produce…
Plus lets not forget the massive reduction in the upfront cost, an interest free loan to help reduce the cost even more and then a STC certificate that can be sold for money!
Even with commercial solar for businesses there are rebates and grants being offered as incentives to help with the move to solar.
What Makes Solar Panels Worth It?
- In places like Australia & America the sun is shining more often than not. This means we can capitalise on harvesting the sun’s rays to generate our own power. Having this endless supply of UV light definitely makes getting solar panels worth it.
- Government loans and rebates help with the upfront cost, and make solar extremely affordable for homeowners on any income.
- Latest technology in solar panel efficiency means that solar panels are designed to get the most out of the sun. This means you can really take advantage of producing your own energy knowing that you are getting the best performance. It also makes solar more affordable because you can produce more energy for a longer period of time. Brands like SolarEdge are leading in technology of solar panels.
16 Advantages Of Solar Panels
1. Reduce the cost of your energy bill
The most widely known advantage of solar panels is that they will reduce the cost of your electricity bills.
By producing your own power through the sun you will ultimately be buying less power from the grid. This allows you to spend less money buying energy which leads to saving more money on your power bills.
Due to the sun’s energy being renewable and free it means that you will not be paying for the energy you generate through your solar panels.
There are endless benefits that come from having spare cash each month to spend on your family or other things. Saving money is one of the biggest advantages of solar.
2. Renewable energy source
Solar power is a renewable source of energy. Renewable energy is a source of power that cannot be used up.
Essentially the sun is generating a mass amount of power all the time that can be harvested by your solar panels without running out.
The plus side of solar being renewable means that everyone can take advantage of free energy given by the sun.
We wouldn’t have to worry about the sun’s power running out, but instead we can enjoy the rays that hit our solar panels and generate free, clean energy.
Being a renewable source solar power is also clean energy meaning the energy doesn’t produce any greenhouse gasses emissions.
3. Increase your property value
Because solar panels have so many benefits for homeowners, installing them on your property will increase its value.
Houses that have solar panels will be more valuable than those that do not.
This is because one home will be highly dependent on the grid whereas the other will be generating its own energy. Enjoying being free from the shackles of increasing energy prices.
Again this is because solar panels do have a high upfront cost and can be seen as a great investment asset.
The money that you spend on solar panels will be invested into your home as well, you may even see a high return on investment from installing solar at your property.
4. Environmentally friendly
Energy that is produced by solar panels is clean, renewable and has zero-emissions. Solar energy does not contribute towards greenhouse gasses or fossil fuels unlike other oils and coals.
Essentially this means that solar panels are environmentally friendly products and will not harm the planet.
Being environmentally friendly means a lot nowadays, and you can gain popularity within communities for taking a stance against climate change.
It is one of the most popular reasons why people take a move towards solar, and is definitely one of the biggest advantages of solar panels.
Homeowners can rest easy knowing their energy is not harming the planet.
5. Wide range of solar products
Another massive advantage of solar panels is the huge range of different solar panel products available.
There are solar panels that are built for performance for those people who are looking for a high-end system to perform for a long time.
For homeowners who are looking for a good budget system then there is a massive range to be browsed from as well.
Thermal solar panels are also available for people who spend most of their energy on heating and want to use solar to help lower the cost.
Solar panels can be purchased with an all-in-one battery system for homeowners who need to store their power to use at night instead.
Having this wide variety of options comes as a massive advantage for homeowners as they can get solar panels specific to their requirements and needs.
6. Low maintenance costs
With new technology being readily available, the maintenance of solar panels are becoming easier and easier.
Warranties are also being included for massive periods of time making the maintenance of solar panels less and less.
This is great because it means homeowners can buy solar without having to fix or check the system every week. Also, low maintenance means low cost.
You won’t need to spend anything extra on your solar panels system to keep it working at optimum.
Once in a while it’s recommended to get your solar panels cleaned if they have collected any soil or dust.
7. Homeowners can become energy independent
The installation of solar panels to your home could allow you to become completely energy independent.
With a good enough system, you could generate enough energy to power your home without having to buy power from the grid.
Not only is this a great accomplishment, but it also means homeowners won’t have to face rising electricity prices again.
Generating your own power will be save you a large amount of money. You also would not be affected if there was a power cut or any maintenance by the grid on their power lines.
Many people who have become energy independent can say that it’s a massive advantage of solar panels.
8. Excess solar can be sold to the grid
Any excess energy that is not used in your home can be sold to the grid for extra cash.
Not only this, you are providing your local community with clean, renewable energy. This helps you and your community have cleaner energy supplied to your grid by pulling energy from the sun.
Some homeowners will purposely upgrade their systems just to sell excess energy back to the grid.
The government offers some really good Feed-In Tariffs available for homeowners to get rewarded for any excess power they don’t use.
These tariffs usually vary from state to state. The two main tariffs are fixed rate and time varying. The price per KW is decided by these two tariffs, and is a great way to help pay off your system quicker.
Once the system is paid off you will see the return on investment from your solar panels. Solar panels could actually generate you free money, which is a massive advantage.
9. Return on investment
Solar panels are a really good investment to make, and homeowners will be able to get the money they invested back within time.
Although solar panels have a high upfront investment cost, the money that gets saved each month on power bills will help toward paying off that cost of the system.
An easy way to look at it would be: If you saved a large sum of money on your energy bill, then you can put that money towards covering the cost of your system.
Once the solar system is paid off you will still be saving money on your energy bills. Therefore, you are now making a return from the initial investment made on your solar panels.
10. Get rewarded by the government
Government rebates are a great advantage of solar panels.
Being able to sell your energy back to the government for cash is enticing for homeowners to make the move to solar. With pressures on governments to move towards greener solutions, all future rewards are looking bright.
Rates may start to become more profitable and rebates becoming easier to get. However, this may not last forever.
Although these rebates differ from state to state they all offer a big reduction in the cost and most will also offer a no interest loan scheme.
These government incentives actually make solar energy more affordable. This is a step in the right direction and helps first time buyers secure solar.
11. Power can be stored and used at night
Some all-in-one systems come with solar batteries included like Enphase (I’ve actually done a full review on this here). These solar systems let you store power you generate during the day and use it at night instead.
This would benefit homeowners that use a majority of power at night. Similar to commercial businesses like supermarkets or schools.
When you store power you become independent from the grid. Rather than buy energy, you can use the energy that has been stored.
This could provide even further savings for homeowners. It’s best invested with high end solar panels to see the full benefits of solar battery storage.
High end solar panels tend to have a higher performance and generate more energy, meaning you can store more power quicker.
12. Solar panels have Long lasting warranties
Companies that design, test and manufacturer and solar panels include long lasting warranties with their products.
This shows that they have a lot of confidence in the performance of solar panels and that they are guaranteed to reach a minimum performance for a period of time.
Long lasting warranties are a big benefit of solar panels because they show that they won’t break or stop performance within the first 10+ years installing them. Companies like Jinko, LG and SunPower offer great warranties.
Homeowners can feel like moving to solar is less risky, because they are covered by the solar panels warranties.
It also means they can work out their estimated saving given that there are no issues with the solar panels.
13. Solar panel technology is becoming more advanced
I’ve seen this a lot over the past 5 years. Solar panel technology is taking huge leaps in advancements to allow for some really awesome features. I’d say most important in particular is the availability for flexible solar system designs.
The reason why I like this so much is because you can design a system around your energy bill. Depending on when you use the most energy, you can place panels to capture the most sunlight during that time, maximising on your self consumption and giving you the highest possible savings.
Other features include full visibility and tracking of your system so you know it’s performance and SMART features which can learn when you use the most energy and start to export this to the grid or other places like a battery or electric car.
14. Cost of solar panels are becoming more affordable year after year
Solar panels are becoming more and more affordable every year. There is a race towards making solar panels affordable whilst also maintaining the quality of the solar panels.
As you can see by the graph created by Solar Choice, the cost of panels is decreasing every single year.
This is excellent to see and gives a glimpse into the future cost of solar panels which is forecast to keep coming more and more affordable.
However, there was an increase in panel costs due to a shipping crisis in 2021, mainly due to the effects of COVID19. You can read about this issue here.
15. Options to charge your electric vehicle from your solar panel system
This is going to become a massive benefit of solar panels within the next 6 months. At the end of 2021 we’ve seen a huge spike in the demand for home EV charging systems which can connect and charge from your solar panels.
Impressively enough, you can get this set up which will maximise your returns from your solar system and your electric car.
You will be getting a full charge of free energy from the sun. There are also some really good solar EV chargers on the market in Australia, including the Zappi home charger.
This offers smart features which can begin charging only when you start to export energy to the grid or waste it on export limits.
16. Solar energy was announced the cheapest form of electricity in history
Wooo! Go solar. That’s right, solar energy was declared the cheapest form of electricity in history. There has never been a cheaper way to produce high quality, green energy. This was found by the International Energy Agency back in October 2020.
It was highlighted that solar energy is significantly cheaper than coal and gas. It’s safe to say, solar panels have a very bright future ahead being the cheapest form of energy in the world right now.
Don’t miss out on the rush, become a part of the community and take advantage of the cheapest form of electricity. That means it’s cheaper than your energy supplier 😆…
10 Disadvatanges Of Solar Panels
1. High upfront cost
The first initial investment for solar panel installation is quite high, and not everybody will be able to afford them. Although we could argue that solar panels are the most affordable they’ve ever been… Still they do come with a price tag.
Unfortunately this is a downside to solar panels however the future is bright as prices are coming down.
Solar panels right now are fairly expensive, however with new government schemes and the latest technology the price is becoming more and more affordable.
2. The size of system is dependent on your available space
Available space is a big factor in solar panel installation. If your roof is not big enough, then it means that you may have to downsize your system or rethink about getting solar altogether.
Solar panels are still fairly large products meaning they require a big space to be installed. The size disadvantage means that they cannot be placed into small areas, and actually require a large roof.
This is important for those who are looking to future proof their home with a big enough system to last years.
Some systems however do provide flexible designs for smaller roofs.
3. Requires sunny weather to work best
Energy can only be generated when sunlight is hitting the face of the panel and being converted. Therefore if there is no sun, there will be no energy being produced.
Although solar panels can still generate power on cloudy days (as it’s the UV light that generates the energy) they perform best on sunny days. If you are in a location that doesn’t get much sun, it’s probably best to look at other options for get a system that overcomes shading issues.
Your solar panel performance will be negatively affected if there is not enough sunlight hitting the panels on rainy days.
Just remember, luckily in Australia we get a lot of sun so it makes it worthwhile for us, even for those in Melbourne.
4. Manufacturing of solar panels can harm the environment
Although solar panels produce clean, renewable energy, the process it takes to manufacture them can harm the environment. Mass production of solar panels may result in fossil fuels being burned and plastic waste.
Unfortunately, this is one of the overlooked disadvantages of solar panels. They are not eco-friendly to mass manufacture. Then again, you can ask what is these days? This is quite a shame because solar panels stand for a big movement to fight the climate crisis.
This does become a disadvantage for solar panels although they themselves produce green, renewable energy. Overall, I’d say that they still do more good than they do bad.
5. Low energy conversion rate
Even the most advanced solar panels still only convert around 20-25% of the sun’s energy into power. It goes to show how much opportunity there is to develop better technology to optimise the full force of the sun.
However, there are many things that need to be considered like the direction of the panels and location.
Although, I also want to stress that solar panel efficiency shouldn’t be the most important thing. Especially when you’re talking about 1-2% difference. Really, I’d be more concerned about the installation or warranties.
6. Cannot be used at night
No energy can be produced by your solar panels at night which essentially means your solar panels can only generate energy 12 hours of a full day. Without any sunlight hitting the solar panels then there will be no energy produced.
This is a disadvantage of solar panels but may be something that is overcome in the future with new technology. There are already talks about an ‘anti solar panel’ that is able to produce power at night.
7. Solar panels are fixed at their installed location
Panels that are installed on your roof are pretty much installed there for good.
Unless you are looking to pay extra to have your system dismantled, de-wired and transported to another location then solar panels are stuck in one position.
Solar systems are not mobile at all, which means if you purchase solar but decide to sell you will have to leave your system behind.
9. Disposal of old solar panels can be harmful to the environment
Unfortunately, when we dispose of old solar panels it requires them to be melted down which can produce some harmful chemicals in the process.
Not only this, but it can be harmful to the local area that this occurs in. Mostly you will see solar panels back at landfill sites which is better than burning.
One good thing is that usually solar panels will last around 15-25 years so there isn’t an abundance of old panels causing issues.
10. Your energy could be getting wasted on export limits
One frustrating thing in Australia is that some locations will get slapped with a solar export limit. Usually this is around 5kW however in busy areas you might even get hit with a 0kW export limit meaning any of your excess energy is completely wasted.
The reason behind this is because if it’s a really sunny day and everyone who has solar begins to export, there will be too much energy and the lines might break. I’ve written a full summary on export limits you can read here.
It all depends on how many people in your area already have solar. However, one easy way around this is to buy a solar battery and store your energy or invest in a EV car and solar charger.
Other Factors To Take Into Consideration
We are using more energy than 10 years ago
Something not many people consider when buying solar panels. I’ve had heaps of old customers rip off their installation from 10 years ago and replace it with a much bigger and better system. Simply because, they are now using double (if not triple) the amount of energy compared to 10 years ago.
Think about it, ten years ago we barely had smartphones. Nowadays, we have a smartphone for every user in the house, plus kitchen appliances like air fryers, toasters. Microwaves.
Don’t forget about the laptops, tablets, headphones all consuming energy to charge at the same time. This is a lot more energy than 10 years ago…
And of course think about the way the future is moving. We are heading into the digital age so it’s best to future proof your home and buy a system that will still be big enough in 10 years.
Solar is becoming increasingly more popular and common
Incentives and rebates provided by the government may not actually last forever. This is another good reason to take advantage of these rebates and incentives right now.
Due to the price of solar panels becoming more affordable, there may come a time in the future where the government reduces the rebates and incentives that they offer.
It’s best to jump on the wagon now to take advantage before they’re gone!
The future of solar panels and solar energy is very bright
The future of solar is really bright, it’s being used in all aspects of the world. NASA is using it for space exploration or solar farms to produce mass energy.
Australia is using solar for transport, solar farms and now homeowners are taking advantage to slash their energy bills.
It was actually annouced in 2020 by the International Energy Agency that solar power is the cheapest form of electricity.
So there you have it. 16 pros of solar panels and 10 cons.
Personally, I would still say there are more advantages for solar panels than disadvantages.
However is saying this, it makes you realise that maybe they are not as amazing as everyone says.
Although, I do admit I own a solar panel system and its the best investment I’ve ever made. I would choose solar panels over no solar panels any day!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you can think of any more pros and cons, please share them with the rest of us! 😁
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Lightning Solar & Electrical