So, you’re thinking about going solar, eh? Great! If you’re not entirely sure that going solar is right for you, then you’re probably wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are of installing a solar power system. We’ll help you make your decision by listing everything out for you.
Solar Energy Advantages
There are tons of advantages to investing in a well-thought-out solar power system. Yes, it’s good for the planet, but you want to know what’s in it for you, right? We’ll start with those first.
1. Solar power is low maintenance.
Once installed, a solar electric system is virtually maintenance-free. You have to make sure that the panels are kept clean, the batteries might need some slight maintenance (depending on the type your choose), and you also need to keep an eye on your battery monitor to make sure that you aren’t draining your batteries past their recommended amount, but other than that, living off of solar power is generally easy to maintain.
2. Solar panels are reliable.
You’ll have power as long as the sun keeps on shining, and as long as your batteries are both sized properly for you needs and in good condition. This is a huge advantage in areas of rolling blackouts.
3. Solar panels are silent.
You can’t say that about generators. Generators are great for RVers who do a lot of boondocking, but nobody really enjoys the noise that generators produce. With solar panels, you can harness the sun’s energy any time the sun is out without disturbing anyone.
4. After installation, sun power is free!
FREE! Aren’t you convinced yet? After you purchase and install your system, you won’t be stuck paying $150+/month anymore. Even if you spend $10k on your solar power system, you’ll likely recoup that cost in less than 6 years.
5. Solar panels can go where utilities won’t.
Solar panels aren’t just the best option for a lot of off-grid homes, they’re sometimes the only option. If you have a small cabin miles away from civilization, chances are pretty good that the cabin isn’t wired up to the utility company. Solar panels to the rescue! They’re also a great for RVers who like to boondock, campers, and boating enthusiasts.
6. Solar panels produce no pollution.
85% of the electricity generated in the US in 2014 was from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. All of those methods produce pollution, thus harming wildlife, our atmosphere, decreasing air quality, and establishing long-term effects that we’re only just beginning to observe. Solar panels? They make your roof a little less hot.
Solar Energy Disadvantages
As much as I’d like to convince you that solar panels are the best solution for everyone, there are some disadvantages to using them. To make this article as impartial as possible (considering the source), here they are.
1. Going solar has high upfront costs.
The initial cost of going solar is generally what turns people off to the idea. What people don’t realize is that solar can actually be very affordable if you learn how to install it yourself. And that’s what SolarLoco is for.
2. Solar energy has a learning curve.
Ideally, you should understand how solar power systems work if you plan install one in your dwelling. Like everyone else in the world, solar installers don’t always enjoy their jobs, so they’ll often do the minimum amount of work necessary to get through their day, and if that means using thinner wire because the thicker (better) wire isn’t within arm’s reach, so be it. If you want to make sure that your system is running at maximum efficiency, you should learn how it works so that you can correct and repair things yourself.
3. If the sun doesn’t shine, you have no power.
If you live in an area where the sun doesn’t shine consistently, you might find your batteries running low and yourself trying to conserve what’s left in your battery bank. You can easily overcome this problem by sizing your battery bank large enough to provide many days’ worth of power, unfortunately, that will add to your expenses. Either way, it’s a disadvantage.
4. Solar panels and batteries are heavy.
If you plan to install your system on the roof of an RV or tiny home (to be pulled by a vehicle), you need to keep in mind that solar panels and batteries can weigh more than you anticipate, possibly causing your RV or tiny home to exceed weight limits. In addition, more weight always means a decrease in gas mileage, which can increase overall costs if you plan to travel a lot.
5. Solar panels and batteries take up space.
Every inch counts in a tiny home, RV, boat, or van, so whether or not you have the space for a battery bank and all of your solar gear could be an issue.
6. Solar panels and equipment can be stolen.
Solar panels, like all other electronic equipment, are worth something to thieves. In general, arrays that are mounted closer to the ground are easier to steal, so you may want to keep that in mind.
So there you have it, solar energy advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully we’ve helped you decide whether or not solar is right for you. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest SolarLoco news!