The last decade has seen a sharp increase in solar panel installations around the country. There are now many more federal and local tax incentives for homeowners to take advantage of when considering whether to install them. Increasing fears over climate change have made this green energy alternative a viable option for many.
Let’s take a close look at the pros and cons of rooftop solar panels to determine if they are a comprehensive option for you.
Pros of Solar Panels
- You can decrease your carbon footprint by an average of 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. To offset that amount of CO2, you would have to plant 88 trees every year.
- You can save an average of $84 per month on your electricity bill according to SolarResourceGuide.org.
- You can still receive a tax credit for your solar energy. The federal government allows homeowners to deduct 30% of your solar power system costs from your federal taxes through an Investment Tax Credit. If you don’t owe taxes in the year you install, you can roll it over to the following year.
- There are a good number of other tax incentives offered in the State of Michigan, which can also help offset the cost of installation. The solar pro or roofing company you hire should be able to guide you to any or all of those that apply to you.
- Depending on where you are in the country or how much space you have, you could go completely off the grid in terms of your electricity needs.
- It will very likely increase the value of your home. Future buyers will get all the advantages without the upfront costs!
Cons of solar panels
- Expensive to install. The national average is still around $17,000. You can’t just do it yourself. You have to hire a pro, and the panels always need additional wiring.
- Not every home lends itself well to solar panels. If your roof doesn’t get enough direct sunlight every day, it won’t be worth the money to install them. Even a chimney in the wrong place can shade the panels and decrease their efficiency.
- Not every area of the country has the best access to the sun. This goes without saying, but if you live in a cloudy area, it is probably not going to be as cost-efficient. In addition, even if you have enough sunny days, your angle to the sun – because of your position on the earth relative to the sun – also affects the effectiveness of solar energy.
The technical term for this is “insolation.” Not every home in Michigan is going to have enough surface area to make installing solar panels worthwhile. This is because we don’t have as much insolation as, say, Las Vegas.
Important Things to Keep In Mind
If you do decide to go for solar, make sure you keep these things in mind:
- Hire a solar pro or contracting company with plenty of experience in all the ins and outs of installing solar panels.
- Make sure your professional offers a good warranty – the inverter should be covered for at least ten years and the panels should be covered for 20-25.
- Use panels made in the USA, that way the warranty will cover you even if the manufacturer goes out of business.
- Hire the company who will install the panels themselves, no outsourcing. That company will have much more incentive to make sure it’s done right.
Installing solar panels is a big decision. It’s definitely earth-friendly and can have great long-term benefits. However, you need to make sure you can reap those benefits before you dive in.