Benefits of Solar Panels | Green Energy Enthusiast

today is Sep 24, 2022

The banner image shows a pair of hands holding planet earth. Around the earth are environmental and financial symbols that signify the benefits of solar energy. The text reads 'Solar energy pros and cons'.

There are many financial and environmental benefits that an investment in solar power can bring to you and society as a whole. There are also some difficulties associated with getting solar panels that you should consider too.

The pros and cons of solar energy

For most people, the pros of solar energy far outweigh the cons. However, generating solar for your home varies according to your location, rooftop and your electricity use; therefore, it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons of getting solar panels on a case-by-case basis. The table below looks at the main advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.

Pros: Cons: Save on electricity bills Relatively expensive Reduce carbon emissions Rely on sunshine Generate clean, renewable energy Do not work at night Money generating asset Difficult to find good installers Low maintenance Solar batteries are expensive

You can view your financial and environmental results by using our solar savings calculator.

Advantages of solar energy

The many benefits of solar panels include:

  • 1. Reduce your electricity bill
  • 2. Reduce your carbon footprint
  • 3. Secure government rebates
  • 4. Better for the environment
  • 5. Add value to your home
  • 6. Solar energy is a form of renewable energy
  • 7. Get paid for your excess solar
  • 8. Solar panels require little maintenance
  • 9. Longevity
  • 10. Fast payback
  • 11. Use solar energy at night
  • 12. Energy independence

This image lists the benefits of solar panels; reduce your carbon footprint, save money, reduce your electricity bills, get a solar rebate and low maintenance.

1. Reduce your electricity bill

One of the main advantages of solar panels is that they reduce your electricity bills. As soon as panels are installed, they will generate electricity and lower your power bill.

2. Reduce your carbon footprint

One of the big environmental benefits of solar panels is that they will help to reduce your carbon footprint. Solar panels produce clean, renewable energy whereas buying electricity from the grid comes from a mix of sources, predominantly fossil fuels.

3. Secure government rebates

When you buy a new solar system in Australia, you will receive a solar panel rebate that will reduce the cost of your purchase. Rebates can typically save you around $3,400 off the cost of a new solar system.

*To receive your rebate, you must buy Clean Energy Council approved components, and have your system installed by an accredited installer.

4. Better for the environment

Once installed, your solar panels will generate clean, renewable energy for your home. The installation of a 6.6kW solar system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 250 tonnes in its lifetime (Victoria, Australia).

Solar panels also reduce air pollution, as there are no pollutants associated with the generation of solar power. Better air quality leads to better public health outcomes.

5. Add value to your home

Once paid for, solar panels will deliver savings and environmental benefits for many years to come. Lifetime savings can equate to over $50,000. Homes with solar installed are inherently more valuable.

6. Solar power is a form of renewable energy

Solar power is a form of renewable energy, meaning, it will never run out. So long as the sun is in the sky, there is no risk of the planet running out of solar power. In fact, the sun generates enough energy in one hour to power the whole planet for a year.

7. Get paid for your excess solar

You will get paid whenever you export excess energy from your solar panels back to the electricity grid. For every kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy you export, you will receive a feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer.

8. Solar panels require little maintenance

Once your solar system is installed, it will likely require very little maintenance. Typically, solar panels do not even need to be cleaned. The inverter may need replacing after 10 – 15 years, but this is the only additional cost you may incur throughout your system’s life.

9. Longevity

If you buy well, your solar panels will last 25 years, maybe more. In fact, the very best solar panels come with a 25-year product warranty.

10. Fast payback

In Australia, the majority of solar systems will payback within 4 – 7 years. The total cost of your solar panels will be paid for through savings to your electricity bill, within the first 4 – 7 years.

11. Use solar energy at night

By installing a solar battery, you can use solar energy that you generate during the day, at night.

12. Energy independence

Solar panels, combined with a battery, can lead you to become energy independent. Batteries work by storing your excess solar energy for later use, thus reducing your reliance on the electricity grid.

It is possible to generate enough energy to power your personal needs. Adding a battery to your panels, can also provide back-up power and, allow you to use your solar energy at night.

Disadvantages of solar energy

The image shows a man sleeping and pondering solar power in his dreams, weighing up the disadvantages associated with solar energy.

Generating solar energy can also have its drawbacks, it is not as simple as going out and buying a TV to plug in at home. We cover all of the disadvantages associated with getting solar panels below:

  • 1. High upfront cost
  • 2. Generate electricity when you are not at home
  • 3. Weather dependent
  • 4. Solar panels do not work at night
  • 5. Finding a trustworthy installer
  • 6. Solar panels need to be recycled
  • 7. The buying process can be daunting
  • 8. Battery storage is expensive
  • 9. Low feed-in tariffs

1. High upfront cost

The upfront cost of purchasing solar panels is relatively high. For most homes, a 6.6 kW system costs between $5,000 – $8,000 depending on a number of factors, including the quality of the components.

Payback times, lifetime savings and return on investment must be considered when evaluating the upfront cost.

It is possible to avoid any upfront cost by entering a payment plan, and still reap all the benefits that solar panels deliver.

2. Generate electricity when you are not at home

Solar panels generate most electricity when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Given that this is during the middle of the day, you may not be at home to use this electricity, and if so, it will either be sent back to the grid, or stored in a battery.

Further reading: A thorough explanation of how solar power works.

3. Weather dependent

Solar panels will not perform as well when the sun is not shining. While panels do still work when it is cloudy, their output is significantly reduced.

4. Solar panels do not work at night

Solar panels do not generate solar energy at night. However, it is possible to use solar energy that your system has generated, at night. If you buy a panel and battery system, you can store your energy during the day and use it at night.

5. Finding a trustworthy installer

One of the difficulties of going solar is finding a trustworthy company to supply and install your panels. You want to deal with a company with a proven track record, a high level of accreditation and first-rate install practices.

Solar Calculator can help in this pursuit. We arrange for three quotes from solar companies that we have thoroughly vetted.

6. Solar panel disposal

At the end of their life, solar panels should be recycled. There are emissions associated with the recycling process, but it is better to reuse their components where possible rather than have them end up in landfill.

7. The buying process can be daunting

Going solar can be daunting process, a level of knowledge is required before purchasing solar panels. Our site is dedicated to helping you navigate this process!

8. Battery storage is expensive

Though battery storage has many advantages, it is not cheap. A 10 kWh solar battery can cost in excess of $10,000. However, unlike solar panels, the payback period on batteries is more in the line with the length of their useful life.

9. Low feed-in tariffs

When excess solar is exported from your system back to the grid, you will receive a feed-in credit from your electricity retailer. While this helps to payback your system, feed-in tariffs are far lower than the cost to buy electricity.

Benefits outweigh the drawbacks

In most cases, the benefits of solar panels far outweigh the disadvantages associated with installing them.

There are a myriad of advantages that come with solar energy, that mainly include far better financial and environmental outcomes.

The common barriers associated with getting solar panels can, in nearly all cases, can be overcome. Primarily, cost is the major drawback for most homeowners, but when viewed as an investment, it is hard to ignore the return on investment that solar energy can deliver.

Solar pros and cons FAQs

Why are solar panels good?

Primarily, solar panels are good because they can reduce electricity bills and generate renewable energy, which is far better for the environment.

Why are solar panels good for the environment?

Solar panels are good for the environment because they produce clean, renewable energy with no greenhouse gas emissions. Generating solar power at home can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

What are the two main disadvantages of solar energy?

The two main disadvantages of solar energy are the high upfront cost of purchasing panels and their reliance on sunny weather.