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Solar Energy – Disadvantages of Going Green

Using solar energy has it’s advantages, and disadvantages. Just as we pointed out the advantages of solar energy in our article last week, if you are really serious about solar energy to provide your home with electricity, you will need a deep understanding of its disadvantages as well. Today we are going to look at the many disadvantages of using solar energy.

Despite the fact that solar energy has been used for over 50 years, the technology is still considered relatively new for home use.

Solar Energy – Upfront Costs

There are many disadvantages of solar energy panels for home installations.One of the biggest disadvantages of solar energy panels is their cost. Of course, cost largely depends on the size of the home, and the type of solar energy you plan to install.

The cost of an actual system probably won’t vary much from place to place, but there are a lot of options, and there are different incentives from place to place.

A PV System producing 1 kWh can go somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000, and this size system won’t power most homes, at least not the entire home.

Many home installations of solar energy are used to supplement the power received from the electric company and are not intended to completely replace that. Many homes would require a more sizable investment, perhaps upward of $30,000 or more for a whole house system that would generate enough power not to ever have an electric bill.

If you’re seriously considering solar energy, check with your electric utility to see if they offer any rebates or energy credits. It could save you thousands on the installation. You’ll need to figure in federal tax write offs to determine what your net cost will end up being.

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Solar Energy – Get a Site Survey Done

If you’re thinking of going with solar energy, you’ll need to have a site survey done to make sure you home can handle it. Both from a location standpoint, and from a structural standpoint. Solar panels are heavy and your roof must be able to handle the weight. Solar energy panels, on average, will add about 5 to 6 pounds per square foot of roof load.

If you’re going to be relying on funding assistance in the form of any kind of rebate, the electric company is going to require that your roof is pointing in the right direction. This means it must be facing south within about a 20 degree window. If you can’t point the panels in that direction, you might as well forget it because your solar generation drops dramatically. Same goes for shade. If you’ve got a building beside you, or trees that tower over the house, your solar energy plans are done.

Solar Energy Panel Inverters

Solar energy panels emit DC current. This is like the current that comes out of a battery. But houses use AC current. So an inverter takes care of the conversion. There are two types, micro-inverters, and solar panel inverters. While micro-inverters are more efficient, they are also more costly. Solar panel inverters will run you around $3,000 to $4,000, and micro-inverters will add another $1,000 to $2,000 on top of that.


As you can see, there are many advantages AND disadvantages for installing solar energy panels on your home. Cost being the major disadvantage, experts believe that in a few years, solar energy will become gradually much cheaper, more accessible and more effective. Here’s where to go if you want to read more in our article from last week about the Advantages of Going Green with Solar Energy.

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Check out our other articles on Home Energy Efficiency and Savings here.

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