Since the cost of solar energy has decreased so much in recent years, many people are looking into using it for their homes or businesses. Solar energy is a clean and renewable resource, so it’s definitely appealing. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before making the switch.
As you would when investing in any new product, you need to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy. Once you know all the facts, you can make an informed decision about whether or not solar is right for you.
The key advantages of solar energy are that it’s environmentally friendly, renewable, and usually cheaper than other forms of energy. On the other hand, the disadvantages of solar energy are that solar panels need enough sunlight to be efficient, and installing a solar system does require an upfront investment.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to switch to solar energy. Keep reading as we delve deeper into the pros and cons of solar energy so that you can make the best decision for your needs.
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Understanding Solar Energy
Before we dive into the pros and cons, it’s important to understand a little bit about solar energy.
Solar energy is the power that comes from the sun, converted into other forms of energy, like electricity or heat. Solar energy is considered a renewable resource because we will never run out of it. The sun is not going to stop shining anytime soon, and solar PV systems allow us to tap into that energy to power our homes in a cost-effective way.
In recent years, solar panels have become increasingly popular. Solar panels are devices that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. They are usually installed on the roofs of homes or businesses. As solar PV systems become more widely embraced, the cost of solar panels in Australia is also falling, making residential solar accessible to many more householders.
Solar panels have become so popular because they offer a more environmentally friendly and renewable option for energy. They don’t produce pollution like traditional forms of energy do, and they offer great long-term savings over the cost of electricity.
Now that we’ve got a basic understanding of solar energy, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using solar energy.
Advantages of Solar Energy
There are a lot of advantages to using solar energy. Here are some of the key advantages:
Solar Energy is Environmentally Friendly
One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it’s environmentally friendly. Solar energy doesn’t produce pollution or carbon emissions. It’s a clean and renewable form of energy that doesn’t harm the environment.
Traditional forms of energy, like coal and oil, release harmful pollutants and carbon emissions into the environment. These pollutants can cause air pollution, water pollution, and climate change. Switching to solar energy can help reduce pollution and protect the environment.
Solar Energy is Renewable
Another big advantage of solar energy is that it’s renewable. Solar energy will never run out. It’s a natural resource that will always be available. Traditional forms of energy, like coal and oil, are finite resources. They will eventually run out.
Solar energy is an infinite resource that will never be depleted. This means that solar energy is a more sustainable and long-term option for energy.
Solar Energy is Usually Cheaper Than Other Forms of Energy
A great advantage of solar energy is that it’s usually cheaper than other forms of energy. Solar energy is typically much more affordable than electricity from the grid, and you can export excess power with grid-connected solar. Receiving credits for surplus energy produced by your solar panel system offsets your bills even more.
This means you can enjoy a significantly lower power bill when you utilise solar energy. You can even install solar battery back-up to keep powering your home with solar on cloudy days or during the night.
The Australian Government even offers a range of solar rebates and incentives to encourage more homes and businesses to install solar panels.
Solar Energy is Easy to Install
Another advantage of solar energy is that it’s quick and easy to install a solar PV system at home. Solar energy can be installed on a wide range of roofs within a matter of days! Solar energy then works seamlessly into your lifestyle.
Solar panels are also easy to maintain and require little upkeep. Thanks to their low maintenance nature, solar panels have a long lifespan of around 25-30 years. You only need to worry about professional maintenance every few years and check if they need cleaning every six months.
Solar Energy Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
These days, we are all increasingly aware of our carbon footprint. With the threat of climate change ever-growing, it’s more important than ever to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar energy is a great way to do this.
Solar energy is a clean and green form of energy. When your home or business switches to solar energy, you are helping to reduce the demand for non-renewable energy sources. This reduces your carbon footprint and helps to protect the environment.
So if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly and cost-effective energy option, solar is a great choice!
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
There are a few disadvantages of solar energy that should be taken into account.
Solar Energy Requires an Upfront Investment
The biggest disadvantage of solar energy is that it requires an upfront investment. While solar energy will save you money in the long run, you need to be able to afford the initial investment.
However, with home solar PV systems, it’s easy to calculate your solar payback period – the most common statistic is that you will receive a return on your investment in 6 to 10 years. Thanks to Australia’s sunny climate, the solar payback period is even lower, at 3 to 7 years for all major capital cities.
Thanks to the huge number of government solar rebates and incentives in Australia, solar energy is becoming increasingly more affordable. Regardless, there is still an upfront cost to reaping the benefits of solar power.
Solar Energy is Weather Dependent
One downside of solar energy is that it is weather dependent. Solar energy works best when the sun is shining, and needs a minimum number of daylight hours to be effective. On overcast or rainy days, your solar energy system will be less efficient – so if your location receives a low number of sunny days per year, this will have an impact on your solar PV performance.
However, Australia’s sunny climate means solar PV systems get enough sunlight nation-wide. A solar battery can help to store solar energy for use when the sun isn’t shining.
Solar Panels Don’t Suit Every Roof
Unfortunately, not every roof is suited for solar panels. Older homes made with certain roofing materials may not be able to support the weight of solar panels.
Solar panels also need to be installed in a place where they will get direct sunlight. This means that if your roof is shaded, the panels may not work as efficiently. Additionally, solar panels need to be mounted at a specific angle to capture the most sunlight. You’ll also need adequate roof space to accommodate solar panels.
However, there are solutions nowadays, such as ground-mounted solar systems and solar shingles, that can get around these problems.
Savings Depend on Your Electricity Bills
Solar energy systems can provide huge savings on your electricity bill, but if your utility bill is already low, solar panels won’t make a huge difference. This is because the amount of money you save from solar energy is directly proportional to how much electricity you use.
So, if you aren’t spending a lot on your electricity already, the upfront costs of installing a solar system may not be worth it. However, with rapidly increasing electricity costs hitting Australian households, residential solar power is bound to relieve cost-of-living pressures for many families.
So, Is Solar Energy Worth It?
While it does depend on your individual needs and circumstances, there is no denying that solar energy is a great option for many households. Solar calculators allow you to estimate whether a solar PV system is worth it for your home ahead of time.
Solar energy systems typically provide sizable savings on your electricity bill, and installation is relatively easy. Maintenance is also minimal, and most solar panels come with a lengthy warranty, covering both the solar panels and warranting their efficiency over decades. As discussed earlier, one of the best aspects of solar energy is that you will see a clear return on your investment.
So, if you have the funds to afford the upfront costs and want to decrease your power bills and increase your sustainable practices, a solar energy system will be a great option for you.
Is solar energy good for the environment?
Yes, solar energy is one of the most sustainable forms of energy, as it does not produce harmful emissions or pollutants. This means that it is much better for the environment than other forms of energy, such as coal or natural gas.
What are the economic benefits of solar energy?
The economic benefits of solar energy are numerous. Solar energy systems typically provide sizable savings on your electricity bill, and installation is relatively easy. Solar power isn’t impacted by market volatility around fossil fuels or logistics challenges.
What are the limitations of solar energy?
Solar energy is a renewable resource, but it is not unlimited. Due to the nature of the sun, there are certain times of day when solar energy is more potent. Additionally, there are certain areas of the world where it is less efficient.
Regardless of these limitations though, solar energy is a viable alternative to traditional sources of electricity and can play an important role in fighting climate change.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.