aerial view of a neighborhood with solar panels on roofs

The Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

Solar panels are a smart way to save energy, but are there any downsides? Check out our comparison of the pros and cons of solar panels for your home.

Have you ever considered investing in solar panels? Not only trendy, these energy savers can be smart solutions to some aches and pains of owning a home. From potentially helping you save more cash to reducing your impact on the environment, there are plenty of benefits. But before you call up your contractor, it's important to make sure you understand all of the perks and pitfalls of installing solar panels.

Here are some points to consider as you weigh your options:

Sustainable Solar Energy and Environmental Impacts

Solar energy is a sustainable, renewable resource. What’s that mean, exactly? Unlike with the traditional energy resources, when you install solar panels you’ll never have to worry about running out of energy for your home. As the name suggests, solar energy is created from that bright, bold sunshine you greet each morning.

On the other hand, solar panels aren’t always a pretty picture for the environment. Over time, they’ll cause you to produce fewer pollutants, but the reality of the installation process isn’t so, well, sunny. These massive installations have been proven to emit greenhouse gases that have an even bigger impact on the environment than carbon dioxide. And producing the panels releases many toxins, including nitrogen, trifluoride, and sulfur. Emissions from creating and installing the panels are temporary, but if your motivation to opt for solar panels is to save the planet, it should be a consideration.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

When you don’t have to source your energy from the electric companies, you’ll notice a decrease in your monthly bill. Recent data suggests you’ll save more than $100 per month by installing solar panels, totaling a whopping $1,200 in savings each year. While that number may vary depending on the location and size of your property, it’s clear that utilizing this renewable resource to power your home can pay off in the long run.

If you’re moving or building a new home, consider these many benefits of installing solar panels immediately. With new construction, you have the option of leasing or purchasing agreements that allow you to finance your solar panels, making the upfront cost more affordable.

Keep in mind that even with some government subsidies, solar panels still have a higher cost. While they can provide long-term savings, the baseline estimate for beginning the process is $10,000. Once installed, the panels are relatively low-maintenance, but you’ll also have to budget for maintenance costs to ensure they maintain proper functionality and are kept up to code. If you’re on a tight budget, you may need to consider other energy options.

Space, Time and Reliability Considerations of Solar Panels

Many homeowners report that solar panels are easy to use and care for. Apart from general maintenance, they simply need to be cleaned a few times a year. And many manufacturers offer a 20- or 25-year warranty, meaning you don’t have to worry about replacing them for a while if you experience any issues.

One of the biggest factors to consider before installing solar panels is your access to the sun. If you live in a place with four seasons, you’ll encounter periods of the year where very little sunlight may shine upon your house. Since solar panels use those rays to fuel your home, you’ll have to rely on other energy sources to heat your home.

How big is your home? The size of your home will impact your decision about installing solar panels. Since they are based on watt-per-square-meter larger homes will need a bigger yard. If you don’t have the acreage, you might not be able to store enough energy for your home to reap the benefits.

If you’re considering installing solar panels, make sure to research your available options to find the best fit. Then connect with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to see if installing solar panels will affect your homeowners insurance.

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