If you’re not sure that switching to solar power is the right thing to do, you’re not alone. It’s a big investment, and there’s obviously a lot to think about before making a decision. That’s why we’ve compiled a short list covering the main pros and cons of solar panels.
- Saves you money on your electric bills: By generating your own electricity, you’ll be less reliant on corporate energy companies, and as such, you won’t be hit as hard when electricity prices spike.
- A way to make a tax-free income: If your solar panels have generated a surplus of electricity, you can make money by selling it back to the National Grid with Feed-in Tariffs.
- Cuts carbon emissions: This environmentally friendly way of making energy produces no harmful emissions as a by-product.
- Renewable energy: Unlike other forms of fuel (like oil, coal and fossil fuels), the sun isn’t going to run out anytime soon!
- Generates energy silently: Leaving your grouchy neighbours with no noise complaints.
- Solar panels are made to last: Most commercial solar panels last at least 20-25 years, and some companies claim that their newer modules can last well over 40.
- Virtually no maintenance: Beside the occasional clean, this no-fuss piece of equipment requires very little attending to. There’s no switching off and on, virtually no adjusting, and there’s little or no cost after the initial payment.
- 24-hour power: Coupled with a battery storage unit, you’ll have access to free electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. You’ll also be less vulnerable to blackouts and power cuts.
- High upfront cost: This is true to a point, but there are incentives/schemes put in place by the government that help to soften the blow. Furthermore, the technology has been progressing rapidly, which has led to the production of more efficient, significantly cheaper solar panels. They now cost a fraction of their former price (about 75% cheaper than solar panels made 10 years ago).
- Dependent on the weather: Although solar panels don’t require direct sunlight to work, they do need enough light to generate a usable amount of electricity. A battery storage unit would be one way around this, saving a backup supply of energy for those early nights in the winter.
- They look ugly: Some say that solar panels are ugly, and attaching them to their roofs would cause that house to lose value. This is a matter of opinion – as they are generating free electricity the opposite could easily be said, that solar panels add value to a property. If you think they are a bit of an eyesore then there are alternatives worth looking into, for instance Solar PV glass and Tesla’s solar tiles, which are expected to arrive in the UK in 2018.
- I’m paying for someone else’s solar panels: It’s been pointed out that the money paid in taxes is being wasted on financial incentives for solar panels. However, the National Grid is already stretched thin as it is. In 2015, 36% of the energy used in the UK was imported from overseas.
You could argue that this money is better spent encouraging people to invest in their own power generator, relieving pressure on the Grid, rather than paying to import more sources of electricity from overseas.
As you can probably tell, we believe that the pros far outweigh the cons. Most arguments against solar panels can be disproved, you’ll be playing your part to combat climate change and on a personal level, the money you invest will be returned to you with benefits.
The question of whether your home is suitable for solar panels is highly conditional, so here are a few things to ask yourselves before settling on a plan of action.
 Sourced from Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) July 2017, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)