The Pros and Cons of Going Solar
Investing in solar is a big decision. The system itself is costly, the purchasing plans can go on for years, and it might look like all you save is your monthly electric bill.
What’s the benefit then?
At Blue Raven Solar, we don’t want you to go into an investment like this blind, but we can assure you that there is definitely an upside to solar energy. When you buy into a purchasing plan with a solar company, you’re in it for the long haul—sometimes 15 or 20 years worth of commitment. So if you partner with us, we want you to be satisfied from installation to the end of your financing plan.
Let’s talk about both the pros and cons of solar energy.
Pros of Solar Energy
Solar energy represents a new wave of autonomy where you can take control of your power generation and do your small but necessary part to reduce carbon emissions. But what are the actual benefits of investing in a solar system?
Monthly Equity Building
When you invest in solar, you essentially swap out your electric bill for a solar system loan. Switching that monthly expense might not sound glamorous, but it provides a great benefit when you look at the details. Every month, you take in a certain amount of power and the utility company charges you for it. That money you spend? Gone. You’re essentially renting electricity month-to-month from your power provider.
When you buy-to-own a solar system that expense changes from perpetual rent to a loan payment that’s building value right onto your house. Your monthly expense goes toward paying off something that will be paying dividends to you over the next few decades.
Now, to be clear, these savings only happen when you’re buying. Other companies may offer solar systems to you through lease agreements or plans called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Leasing agreements get the system installed with you renting the hardware from the company.
That money you pay per month still doesn’t go toward equity. With PPAs, the company installs the system and then you buy the power from them—instead of the utility company. Usually that payment’s less than your usual utility bill, but it still isn’t money going to an investment.
So one of the biggest benefits, home equity building, only happens when you buy a solar system as opposed to leasing it. And once you pay off your solar system loan, a couple more pros come into play too:
- No more electricity bill OR monthly loan payment.
- You just boosted the value of your property by the cost of that system (or even higher!)
But those benefits kick in when you pay off your solar system. What about savings over the course of the loan?
Yearly Savings and Earnings
Trends show that the price of electricity has been on the rise over the last 20 years. On average, U.S. households now pay electric bills 60% higher than in 2000. And with how technology is always getting cheaper and more prevalent, it’s not likely you’ll be needing less electricity.
When you buy versus lease for your solar system, your monthly payment stays the same for the entire length of your loan. Assuming that 20-year trend of upward creeping electricity prices continues, even if your loan payment was the exact same cost as your average electric bill when you started, pretty soon you’ll find yourself paying 15-30% less than your neighbors over the first decade of paying off your system.
And depending on the power output and your average monthly usage, you might produce a surplus amount of electricity to share with your local grid. If you’re living in the right state, that could mean you get a nice kickback in the form of cash or credits from the utility company for helping produce power for them.
When you buy versus lease, it’s easy to understand—you save money AND you make money.
Immediate and Long-Term Reduction of Your Carbon Footprint
The average household produces nearly 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. With solar panels, you can reduce those average carbon emissions by nearly 3,000 pounds annually.
But over the long-run of a solar system’s life, you can help the initiative against climate change even more.
The average residential solar system can:
- Offset the energy produced by burning over 80 tons of coal
- Offset the energy produced by 175 tons of carbon dioxide
- Be the equivalent of planting 4,000 trees
These offsets only take into account the average household’s production as well. In the event your system produces a surplus, it may lighten the load of the overall grid by a small amount as well—which in turn offsets more need for carbon dioxide emissions.
The global fight against climate change is a game of collective pieces. Installing a solar system of your own is a big part of your own piece.
Cons of Solar Energy
With all the positives of solar energy, it’s important to understand the downsides as well before you make a decision. Diving into a big commitment like a solar system, only to find out some of the hitches in the investment after the fact, can lead to a real buyer’s remorse. So what are the downsides of solar energy?
Big Price Tag
When weighing the pros and cons of solar energy, it’s hard not to fixate on the brand new car price of some of these systems. Of course, it depends on the layout of your roof and how much power you want to produce, but even a small system at $10,000 is a big chunk of money.
Luckily there are plenty of ways to offset the initial solar costs with options like government tax credits based on the cost of your solar system. For example, as of 2021, the federal government allows for a 22% tax credit on the price of a solar system when you buy versus lease.
On top of those government incentives, payment plans like our BluePower Plus+™ financing program also help by accomplishing a few things:
- Gives you an 18-month window of free solar power before your first payment is due
- Avoids unexpected panel failures with our 25-year manufacturer warranty
- Ensures your solar output with our Blue Raven product guarantee
Even though it seems expensive, the savings and tax incentives that come from investing in a buy-to-own plan can offset a lot of that price.
Power that Relies on the Sun
Let’s not beat around the bush, solar energy only works when the sun’s out. And though that means you never have to worry about your power generation on a sunny day, it does not ensure you’ll have power on cloudy days or, obviously, during the night.
In order to make sure you’ve got the power you need in those dim and dark moments, you may need to invest in a battery (to store excess power from the day) or net metering (trading energy credits for excess power during the day for electricity from the utility company at night).
Both of those options have their pros and cons for solar energy tradeoffs, and our consulting team is happy to walk you through the details.
A Solar System Locked to Your Property
A solar system, even though it’s the price of a car, can’t easily travel with you like one. When you invest in solar energy, you’re committing to raising the value of your property because it’s not going anywhere once you pay for it.
Let’s be fair, you could take it with you. But transporting a whole solar array is expensive and who knows if your system would fit your new place. A solar system suited to one rooftop does not necessarily mean it’s suited for ALL rooftops.
But there’s a silver lining to a solar system that’s bolted to your property if you buy versus lease. Once you’ve paid the loan off, it boosts the value of your home, which makes it more attractive on the market.
However, when you work with a lease or PPA purchasing option, the solar system on your house isn’t actually yours. And having an extra agreement literally tacked onto your house can lead to even stickier situations when looking to sell it. Prospective buyers aren’t often looking to get a mortgage and a lease contract.
Is It Worth It?
There are both pros and cons to solar energy. The question is, do the pros outweigh the cons for you? That’s what we want to help you find out.
With a free estimate from us, we’ll get some information from you. Your location and your average electricity bill can give us a great idea of how much power you want to produce. We want you to have the control over how much you want your solar system to generate.
After that, we’ll get you a zero commitment savings report where we break down exactly what kind of system your roof can support, what kind of power it’ll produce, and how much you’ll be saving month-to-month and over the years.
If it turns out that solar energy doesn’t really save you money in the short or long term, we’ll tell you. That’s part of the Blue Raven promise. We’re not going to earn anyone’s trust by fast-tracking them into a solar deal that doesn’t satisfy their needs.
Then our contractors will visit your home where they’ll check your rooftop layout. South-facing roofs generally get the most sunlight here in the Northern Hemisphere, but east- and west-facing roofs are also viable—it just changes the layout of your solar system.
Once you have all that information, you can once again weigh the pros and cons of solar energy.
What’s the Verdict?
The answer is: it’s complicated. Where you live, what your home is like, and your power needs all factor into what your unique solar system looks like. And that can have a pretty drastic impact on how the pros and cons of solar energy stack up for your situation and needs.
One thing we can tell you is that buying versus leasing your system defangs a lot of those cons. Buying to own comes with tons of helpful offsets to drop the cost of your loan:
- Fixed prices that don’t fluctuate with the ever-increasing price of power
- Tax breaks from both federal and state incentives for solar system purchases
- Money that goes toward the value of your home instead of an electric bill
Whether you’re using those savings for other things around the house (like a spare solar battery for nighttime use) or investing it right back into your solar system (in order to pay off your loan faster), you have the control to make those pros stand out above the cons.
At Blue Raven Solar, we want to give you control. Our goal is to make sure that your investment in your solar power comes with exactly what you need—a personalized method of generating power, saving on costs, and doing your part in the green energy revolution.
Contact us today to get a free estimate to see if your home situation has more pros than cons with solar energy.