If you’ve walked through your neighborhood you might have seen an increasing number of solar panels. Coming in a variety of sizes and colors, opinions are mixed on their aesthetic. In this post, I’m going to give you some background on whether solar panels are worth it in 2021 if you’re considering taking the plunge and getting them installed on your house.
How it works
Most houses use a very standard setup for solar panels. The desired number of solar panels are secured to your roof and connected to an inverter, which itself will be connected to the electric mains of your house. When they are producing power, your electricity-using appliances will directly consume the electricity being produced by the solar panels. If there is any spare power, this is transferred to your electricity provider or grid operator for other houses to use (in some countries, you are paid for this electricity). At night when your solar panels are not generating power, your appliances use electricity from your provider as normal. Simple right?
When you’re researching whether solar panels are worth it, it’s important that you read relatively new articles. This is because the technology is changing at unbelievable rates.
Thanks to a huge increase in competition from Asia, the solar panel industry is changing significantly. Since 2010, the cost of generating each watt of energy through solar panels has dropped 82%. The panels are getting cheaper and are able to generate much more power.
Benefits of solar panels
- An obvious benefit is that once they’re installed, they can keep generating energy for you which you don’t need to pay for. This is great for the environment and for your wallet.
- Often they have a positive impact on your home’s value, as they will reduce the energy bills of future residents.
- Any energy which you generate but don’t use will go back to the energy grid, which is useful because you’re making other people’s energy greener too!
Drawbacks of solar panels
- The initial installation cost can be high. This will be paid back with lower energy bills, but if you don’t have money available up-front it can be quite problematic.
- If you aren’t paid for the excessive energy you produce, you could generate a lot of excessive energy in the daytime and then need a lot of energy in the evening. In this case, your energy bill would not fall by as much. This would be good for the planet but not as good for your finances.
- Some people don’t like how they look. This is a pretty reasonable drawback if you are one of these people.
- If you have an old or damaged roof, it is possible that this will need to be repaired before solar panels can be installed.
What to consider
There has been a significant amount of change in this industry over the years. The economics, efficiency and design of solar panels continues to develop. If you’re thinking about whether solar panels are worth it in 2021, you should read the tips below:
You should request quotes from several companies to ensure you get a good deal. New solar panels are being released all the time so it’s essential that you don’t get stuck overpaying on an old model of panel. Interestingly, smaller companies are often cheaper than large companies because they tend to receive more Government subsidies.
- Find the right balance for your energy needs.
Ideally you would get solar panels which can generate close to your energy usage. You should calculate what your up-front budget is because paying more now may save you money in the long-run. On the other hand, it is usually not a good idea to buy solar panels which exceed your energy usage if you want to make your money back.
- Look into design options.
People associate solar panels with the light blue color with thick lines on them. These are still around, but there are many others to choose from in 2021. You can get completely black ones, which look great on a dark colored roof. If you haven’t had them in the past because of the design, it might be worth reconsidering.
- Look for subsidies.
If you’re worried about the cost of installation, it is worth looking into if there are any subsidies available. There are also other options available these days. One example is companies with free installation where you pay a set amount each month to rent the panels. This can be a great alternative if you can’t afford the up-front cost.
- Check if your roof catches sunlight.
If your roof gets a lot of shade from trees, houses or any other obstacles, this will drastically reduce the amount of energy that you can generate. You can ask an installer for advice on whether your roof is a good candidate for solar.
To conclude this post, I’d like to say that there are probably way more varieties of solar panels and of solar panel installation than you think. If you’re considering getting them installed in 2021, there’s a good chance that it’s possible to make it work for you. We had them installed a few months ago and we’ve been very happy with them. The economics of them only seem to be improving over time, so we’d say solar panels are definitely worth it in 2021 and likely beyond 🙂