Solar Tribune

Going Solar: Pros, Cons, and Considerations

Solar energy continues to increase in popularity in the U.S. market, with PV installations for both residential and nonresidential users growing exponentially in recent years.

Solar may not be an ideal fit for everyone, however, and it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages before committing to a solar energy system for your home.

Here are some of the primary pros and cons associated with residential solar energy systems:


  • Reduces your electricity costs: The average U.S. household spends about $1,400 a year on electricity. A solar energy system can save you tens of thousands of dollars in electricity costs over the lifetime of the panels.


  • Increases the resale value of your home: A 2015 study by researchers at UC-Berkeley found that homebuyers on average were willing to pay $4,000 more per kilowatt of solar capacity when buying a solar-equipped house. This means that a standard 6-kWh solar energy system can add $24,000 to your home’s resale value.


  • Sell excess power back to the electrical grid: Grid-connected solar energy users can sell excess solar-generated power back to their utility through a process called net metering.



  • Flexible financing tools: Solar-specific financing tools, like solar loans, allow you to realize returns on your solar investment while avoiding significant upfront costs.


  • Reduces your carbon footprint: The average U.S. household uses about 11,000 kWh of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from 9,000 pounds of burned coal. Producing this power through renewable sources like solar can dramatically reduce your household’s carbon footprint, and help reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Cons and Considerations


  • Solar energy is an intermittent energy source: Solar energy production fluctuates based on time of day and season, so unless you have a solar battery to store your energy and smooth out the fluctuations, your panels will do you little good during off-peak times.


  • Rack-mounted panels can be aesthetically unappealing: Traditional rack-mounted solar panels are not very visually appealing, but new-age solar products with a sleek design, like solar shingles and solar tiles, can help to mitigate this issue.


  • Little benefit if your electricity costs are already low: If your electricity costs are already low, you won’t benefit much financially by getting a solar energy system.


  • Not a good fit if you plan to move soon: The payback period for most solar energy systems is between 5-10 years. If you know you will move from your home in the near future, then solar panels make little financial sense for you.

Ultimately, whether solar is a good fit for you will vary depending on your particular situation. Like with any major investment, you should do your homework and evaluate all the pros and cons associated with residential solar energy systems. Be sure to check out all of the resources on Solar Tribune to help make the decision-making process easier.