Pros and Cons of Solar Energy — A Complete Guide


So, you’re thinking about going solar? 

Like anything, you’ll want to carefully consider the pros and cons of this decision before investing thousands of dollars into a solar panel system and installation for your home. You’ve likely heard that solar panels have many benefits – and that’s true. But what are they? 

Today, we’ll cover some of these benefits and some of the (very few) drawbacks. After all, nothing’s perfect, even if we think solar comes pretty close. 

Let’s take a closer look at both the pros and cons of solar energy. 

Pros of Solar Energy

Let’s start with the positives! Solar energy has many benefits for people, so let’s take a deep dive into what you can expect when investing in this excellent renewable energy source.

1. Renewable Energy Source

One of the main benefits of solar energy is that it’s a renewable energy source. Renewable means that, unlike other forms of generating energy, such as fossil fuels or nuclear power, we can use it without depleting precious natural resources for fuel.

As solar power is renewable and converted from sunlight, we’ll have access to it as long as the sun is around — which should be another 5 billion years — so we don’t have to worry about that for quite some time. 

2. Environmentally Friendly

The clean, renewable nature of solar energy also makes it environmentally friendly. It’s non-polluting and doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses or other atmospheric pollutants. 

Sustainability is the number one reason people switch to solar, and it’s becoming increasingly accessible for homeowners looking to do their part to protect the environment.

3. Reduced Electricity Bills

Using solar energy to generate power can reduce your electricity bills significantly and help pay back your initial investment in a residential solar power system over time. It may even eliminate your bills depending on how much electricity you use and how much power your solar array can generate. 

Through this reduction in your electricity bills (and other financial savings), your solar panels will end up paying for themselves over time – which is referred to as the solar payback period. The solar payback period is how long it takes for the savings incurred by your solar panels to offset the cost of your investment. 

4. Tax Credits and Net Metering

In addition to savings on utility bills, homeowners can receive federal, state, and local tax credits. These solar incentives include a 30% tax credit to offset your initial investment in a residential solar power system and the costs associated with installation and maintenance. 

With achieving net-zero carbon emission goals becoming an urgent priority, the government is constantly developing ways to make solar energy even more cost-effective in the long run. 

Net metering is another program that incentivizes the switch to the sun’s power. If you have a grid-tied solar power system, net metering programs let you sell unused electricity back to your utility company. Likewise, if you consume more electricity than you generate, you can tap into the grid whenever needed, like at night or during inclement weather.

5. Increased Home Value

Installing solar panels on your home can increase its value, especially if you’ve already paid the array off. Not only does this mean you can enjoy reduced electricity bills while living in your home, but you’ll also benefit from increased equity when it comes time to sell. 

According to Forbes, “Every dollar a solar panel saves you on your electrical bills increases the value of your home by $20.”

6. Power During Outages and Disasters

In a power outage, off-grid solar energy can keep essential appliances and devices running. Access to off-grid power is becoming necessary as more areas become prone to extreme weather events and natural disasters, such as hurricanes or floods. A combination of aging infrastructure, severe weather, and increased demand can disrupt grid power for days or weeks. 

Even if you don’t have an entirely off-grid solar power system, you can install a backup system like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro Portable Power Station to kick in when the next blackout strikes. During that time, you can rely on your solar panels to continue producing renewable energy to power your home even during a grid failure. 

(Source: SEIA)

7. Increasingly Affordable (With Quick and High ROI)

The cost of renewable energy technology has decreased significantly in recent years, making it much more affordable for the average consumer. While there’s still a significant upfront investment, costs continue to fall. Many customers recoup their initial investments within 5 to 10 years, depending on usage, government incentives, and financing.

Even after the solar payback period is complete, your solar panels will continue to save you money, improving your return on investment

8. Low Maintenance Costs

Once installed, most solar panel systems require minimal upkeep or maintenance costs over their life since they are self-sufficient in generating power from sunlight alone. Additionally, many manufacturers offer multi-year warranties that cover parts, labor, and repairs if anything goes wrong.

9. Smart Home Integration

Smart technology transforms how we regulate the temperature inside the home, monitor who is at the doorstep, and even control light and air conditioner levels — and you can do it all remotely using a smartphone. 

If you’ve grown accustomed to the conveniences of a smart home, the good news is that the latest advances in solar energy are keeping pace with these technologies. In fact, you can build an entire smart home ecosystem that you can control from an app on your phone. Say goodbye to outdated power sources and hello to the future of energy efficiency.

10. Suitable for Remote Locations and Diverse Applications

Harnessing the sun’s power is ideal for remote locations where access to traditional forms of electricity may be limited or unreliable. Solar technology is highly versatile, and you can generate power independent of the grid under virtually any conditions. EcoFlow’s solar panels are ideal for both on-grid and off-grid installations.

11. Portability

Solar energy is highly portable. EcoFlow provides systems of varying sizes, from Power Kits that power RVs and tiny homes to the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Portable Power Station, perfect for camping and outdoor adventures.

It’s not just the power station that’s portable, either. EcoFlow’s portable solar panels let you take your renewable energy system anywhere. Of course, if you want a more permanent solution, you could opt for EcoFlow’s 400W Rigid Solar Panel, but portable options are available for those who are always on the go.

12. Long-Term Electricity Savings

Using the sun’s power is more cost-effective than other energy forms in the long run. While the upfront investment for equipment and installation is higher than connecting to the traditional power grid, you’ll likely start seeing returns on your investment within five to ten years. The power produced is virtually free after that initial “payback” period.

13. Energy Independence

When you produce electricity, you no longer rely on the grid to keep your lights on. As extreme weather events are likely to become more intense or frequent, freedom from a vulnerable electrical grid is a great advantage that users of solar electricity will benefit from. That’s called energy independence.

14. Solar Energy Supports the Economy

The increasing popularity of solar power means more jobs in the renewable energy sector, which helps to grow and support local economies. Additionally, many governments offer tax credits and incentives for homes or businesses that switch to solar. More incentives spur further growth and development in the industry and boost job creation.

Cons of Solar Energy

That was a lot of good that can come from relying on the sun for electricity – but what about potential downsides? 

Here, we’ll look into some of the things you’ll need to weigh these benefits against to determine whether or not solar energy is a good fit for you and your household.

1. High Initial Investment

It’s no secret that solar panels come with a high upfront investment. According to Forbes, you should be prepared to pay between $5,400 and $18,000 for an average system between 6kW to 12kWs. Add in installation, and your price tag could ring up anywhere between $6,600 – $22,800. 

Of course, that price is nothing to sneeze at. However, it’s essential to consider what tax credits and other incentives might be available – for example, the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which reduces tax liability by 30% of the total cost of your solar system installation. 

You can also look up additional programs to incentivize solar power in your area that you may be eligible for. By combining all the different financial incentives you can benefit from, you can bring down your initial investment as much as possible.

2. Relies on Sunlight

Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity. Without sunlight, the entire system falls apart. While sunlight is limitless, it’s not available 24/7. Weather conditions and nighttime hours can hinder your electricity production. 

However, you can mitigate this concern by planning accordingly with an appropriately sized system for your needs and adequate storage for your excess electricity. EcoFlow even offers whole home generators, so you’re ready for many scenarios. 

3. Installation Can Be a Challenge

Depending on the type and size of your system, installation can be complicated. Installation is especially difficult for roof installations. While DIY solar installations are possible, many opt for a professional installation due to the complicated nature of some systems. 

4. Limited Space Can Pose a Difficulty

To produce the amount of electricity you’ll need to run your household, you might need a relatively large system. Space limitations may challenge this, as solar panels can take up a lot of space. By opting for solar panels with a higher-rated power (which comes with a higher price tag), you can make the most of the area you do have available. You can also fill in gaps and irregular surfaces using flexible solar panels.

5. Environmental Impact During Manufacturing Process

While solar power is a huge improvement over many other forms of electricity in terms of sustainability, nothing is perfect. Solar power has some environmental downsides, including during the manufacturing process. While solar panels are eco-friendly while they produce electricity, the manufacturing process does have an environmental impact. 

6. End-of-Life Drawbacks

Once solar panels have lived their useful lifetime, there are some additional drawbacks regarding recycling or disposal. Recycling options for solar panels are limited. Disposing of solar panels properly is essential as solar technology contains substances harmful to the environment. 

Is Solar Energy Worth It?

Whether or not investing in solar is worth it is a highly individual decision, but the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. While there are some environmental impacts of solar panels, they’re a much better alternative to many traditional forms of electricity. 

In addition, these systems help cut down on electricity costs month after month, effectively paying for themselves and then some despite the high investment cost. And speaking of that high investment cost, many tax credits and incentives are available that may help offset that expense.

Final Thoughts

Solar panels may have some downsides; however, switching to solar energy has numerous benefits, such as reduced electricity bills, tax credits, net metering opportunities, increased home value, and low maintenance costs. 

Now that you know these benefits and drawbacks of the sun’s energy, you can decide if it’s the right option for your home or business.

If you agree that solar is a worthwhile investment, check out our selection at EcoFlow today, where we strive to offer cutting-edge solar technology for every need. 

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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