solar energy

Are you a Pacific Northwest resident looking to go solar? Many homeowners find new solar technologies worth the investment. Whether you want to save the environment or save money on energy bills, there are many advantages to having solar panels installed on your property.

While solar energy is a great boon for many homeowners, going solar may not be the best fit for every living situation. Here are some pros and cons of solar energy you may not have considered.

Pros

Reduced or eliminated energy bills

When you switch to solar, you start producing your own energy. Instead of having a typical energy bill, you simply pay off the cost of your solar panels. You have a consistent payment amount and don’t have to worry about the fluctuating costs of monthly utility bills.

Federal and state tax benefits

In the US, there is currently a 30% federal tax credit on solar panel installation that will last until 2032, with smaller credits planned for 2033 and 2034.

Depending on your state and when you install your solar panels, you may be eligible for an additional state-specific tax benefit. As of this writing, Washington State residents can also enjoy the Washington State Sales Tax Exemption, which allows you to save 7-10.5% on the costs of your solar panels depending on your local sales tax rate.

Solar energy improves home value

Installing solar panels increases the value of your home, making your property more appealing in a competitive market. For the average American home, it can increase the resale value by 4.1%, or more than 14,000 dollars.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, improve your property value, and set an example for your neighbors, going solar may be just what you need.

Net Metering

solar energy

One of the perks of going solar is that you can get credit for the energy you produce but don’t use. By selling your extra energy, you can make more money off the investment put into your solar panels.

Washington State residents who are still tied to the grid can take advantage of net metering programs. If you get your solar power system certified as a qualified facility, you can sell the energy at your utility company’s avoided-cost rate. This system gives you “energy credit” equal to the current market rate of a kilowatt-hour, which you can use during dreary winter months when your system isn’t producing much electricity.

Solar energy independence

A big plus of going solar is that you create your own energy. You are not dependent on your local grid, so local power outages don’t affect you.

The sun’s light is a renewable resource that can be utilized forever. You will not have to depend on fossil fuels that are not only non-renewable, but pollute the environment. Solar energy gives your home a consistent and reliable energy source that will last for years to come.

Reduced carbon footprint

solar energy

Solar energy is clean, with no harmful emissions from its efficient energy production. The greenhouse gas emissions from a solar panel’s everyday use are zero. By switching to solar, the average American household can reduce its carbon footprint by 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, which is about a 20% decrease in harmful fossil fuel emissions.

Long lasting with minimal maintenance

The technology for solar energy is always improving, and the newest solar panels are always more reliable and longer lasting than those that came before. The panels themselves require little upkeep and can last 20, even 30 years.

You will still need to do some maintenance on your solar panels, like cleaning. In the event that something happens to your system, your provider will know how to fix any problem.

Cons

Solar energy doesn’t work for every roof

solar energy

The effectiveness of solar panels can sometimes depend on the roof’s orientation and the amount of shade it gets. Roofs facing the south are the best for placement, though the degree of its angle can help or hinder its effectiveness. If your home is too shaded by trees or other buildings, or if the angle is wrong, solar panels might not bring in much energy.

Some roofing materials don’t work well for mounting solar panels. Additions such as skylights can also make it more challenging to find places to install them.

Weather dependence

Solar panels produce more energy in the summer than in the winter. Similarly, they can’t produce anything at night.

If you live in a cloudy area of the Pacific Northwest, your solar panels will get less sunlight than if you lived in a sunnier area. You may need more solar panels to make up for the lack of sun.

However, the cooler weather can also help reduce the voltage the panels produce, which makes the panels you have a bit more efficient.

Financial investment takes time to pay off

Unfortunately, it can take about fourteen years for you to make back the money from your initial investment in solar energy.

If you are planning on moving in the near future, it may be wise to wait until you have a more permanent home to invest in solar panels, unless the added property value the panels give equals or surpasses the investment put into them.

The up-front costs of solar energy are high

The high costs of solar panels are hard for many homeowners to afford without financial assistance. In Washington State, a system can cost around 11-16,000 dollars or more. Financing, rebates, and tax credits can vary from state to state, and the federal government may or may not always provide the same financial incentives to go solar.

However, with improving technology, solar panels are becoming more affordable every year. New financing options may also become available.

Finding quality solar energy installers can be difficult, depending on your location

Depending on where you live, it can be hard to find an experienced solar panel installer in your area. On the other hand, you could have the opposite problem and have too many options to choose from. It can be challenging to find a good electric company knowledgeable about solar technologies, so be sure to do your research and get quotes before committing to an installer.

Solar energy is an outstanding option for many homes, but it may not be the best choice in every case. It ultimately depends on your situation and priorities. Electric providers such as Switch Electric are more than happy to help you figure out if going solar is right for you.

Switch Electric is an experienced electric company with solar energy expertise. We will work with you to determine whether solar energy makes sense for your situation, find the best solar option for your home, and help you implement it.

If you are interested in getting solar panels installed on your property, use this tool to calculate your cost to go solar.