This year has seen a spike in interest in green living and sustainable practices, known as green economics or green investing. This new focus has seen an increase in the popularity of solar power – and it’s not hard to see why. After all, who doesn’t want to go green? Buying solar cells and installing them yourself is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to generate your own power, and perhaps even make a bit of money on the side.
On the surface, solar power appears to be the perfect fit for those seeking to reduce their eco footprint. After all, there’s no emissions, your fuel costs only go up as the solar cell market and technology improves, and you can be sure that you won’t run out of renewable energy. If that’s not enough reasons for you to try solar power, perhaps the fact that the technology is now completely deregulated can persuade you.
On the surface, solar power seems like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn’t want to reduce their eco footprint and be good for the planet? Not everyone though, as you’ll soon discover, there are a number of disadvantages to solar power that can stop even the most committed green consumer from pursuing this option.
For those seeking to generate their own power without reliance on the grid, the lure of solar power comes with a number of advantages, but it also has its trade-offs.
On the plus side, you have a renewable energy source that can be accessed anywhere, at any time. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or the city: you can go solar and generate your own electricity whenever you want. It also provides a hedge against inflation as the cost of solar technology continues to decline. Finally, many solar power systems are now equipped with inverters which make it easy for homeowners to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), making it ideal to use in homes and small businesses.
The cons of solar power, however, are fairly significant. For starters, solar power isn’t suitable for everyone. First and foremost, if you live in a cold climate, you’re not going to enjoy yourself too much inside a greenhouse playing with all those warm gadgets and expensive accessories. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a way to generate your own power, you need to have the financial resources to do so. Lastly, many individuals prefer to co-own their power plants rather than lease them, as it gives them a sense of pride and ownership. However, this also adds to the overall cost of ownership.
The Real Costs
While the costs associated with solar power may seem insignificant at first glance, the reality is that they can add up quickly. When you factor in the cost of the hardware, along with the installation, there are several other expenses that you need to consider. To start with, you’ll need personnel to do the installation for you. Depending on how experienced you are, this could be fairly easy or fairly challenging. Also, you may need to purchase additional equipment to handle the higher voltages that solar panels generate.
To give you an idea of what you’re in for, consider these facts:
- The cost of solar cells has decreased significantly in recent years, providing you with more options and making it easier to justify the cost. However, this has also made them more expensive. Over the last 10 years, the price of a solar cell has decreased by 29%.
- Depending on your area and what size system you go for, you may need to purchase additional equipment, such as an antinaturalist, to ensure that your panels perform their intended function. This equipment typically runs you between $500 and $1,500.
- The cost of electricity varies by location and is generally higher in the city than it is in the country. Therefore, if you’re located in an area where the cost of electricity is high, you’re limited to utilizing fewer appliances and less electronics. This is especially relevant if you want to generate your own power because if you’re located in an area where the cost of electricity is high, it’s more efficient and cost-effective to purchase additional appliances rather than use the ones you already have.
- Most importantly, there is the cost of installation. Just because you have the solar cells and the support equipment doesn’t mean that you can roll them out and install them yourself. You’ll need at least two people to handle this task. If you have any previous DIY experience, you may be able to handle this on your own. Otherwise, you may want to consider hiring contractors who can help you get the job done quickly and cheaply.
If you want to generate your own power without being encumbered by expensive utility bills, it may be a good idea to consider going solar. However, before you do, it’s important to understand the trade-offs so you can weigh them against your personal priorities. With the right information, you can have an idea of what you’re getting into and whether or not this is the right fit for you.