Considering Solar Energy? Pros And Cons For The Metro-East Homeowner

Posted On: February 02, 2013

Solar (or photovoltaic) panels installed in your home can offer you freedom from high electricity bills, reliable energy for your Metro-East home, and a positive effect on the environment, among other benefits. Before you proceed with a solar installation, take the time to thoroughly research the pros and cons of a solar-powered system.

Pros of a solar installation

  • Solar power is free and renewable.
  • As soon as the system is up and running, you start saving.
  • Once you pay back the costs of the system and installation, you’ll receive free power over the life of the system.
  • You can start with just a few solar panels to power certain home systems, and expand the panels and power supply as you go.
  • There is very little environmental impact with solar panels.
  • Significant rebates and incentives are available when investing in solar.
  • Grid-tied systems allow you to “sell” excess solar-produced power back to the electric utility. You’ll receive credits on your electric account for the surplus solar power that goes back to the grid.
  • The payback period for investing in solar is relatively short, offset by the high energy savings.
  • A system that’s not tied to the electrical grid will allow you to still receive power when the electrical grid goes out or is having problems.

Cons of a solar installation

  • While solar panels last a long time, often 30 years, the panels should be installed on a relatively new roof to avoid having to remove panels to repair or replace an older roof.
  • While our region generally enjoys sufficient solar radiation access, during summer and winter seasons, there may not be enough solar power to supply all of your electricity needs. In this case, a grid-tied system is a must so that you can access electricity, but energy bills will be higher during this season.
  • A grid-tied system will put you at the mercy of the elements. After Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners with grid-tied solar systems lost their power just like everybody else. Increasingly, however, homeowners have the option of storing excess energy in batteries if they’re willing to make that investment. This, in effect, allows them to go off the grid, if necessary, for short periods.

In all of the state, southwest Illinois receives the greatest solar radiation, positioning homeowners in the Metro-East to especially benefit from using solar power. However, solar radiation potential depends greatly on the type of installation you choose, the tilt and orientation of the panels, and other factors. For optimal results, work with an established solar contractor to select the right-sized system, installation type and power capabilities.

Ernst Heating & Cooling is happy to assist homeowners throughout the Metro-East with a solar installation, air conditioning repairs and furnace maintenance. Give us a call or visit our website for more information.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about solar energy and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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