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Discussion – Are solar panels good investment?

Countless reports say that making solar panels as a source of energy can save you costs on bills since you’ll use less from your energy supplier.

Solar panels are designed to absorb the sun’s rays as source of energy to generate electricity and heating.

The concept of solar panels dates back to 1839, when a young physicist working in France named, Edmond Becquerel, observed and discovered the photovoltaic effect. It is a process that produces a voltage or electric current when exposed to light or radiant energy.

With the issues regarding climate change, are solar panels considered a good investment?

Tl; dr;

Solar panels crowned upon rooftops, fields, or on any structure, offers a promising benefits for alternative energy (solar energy).

The equipment offers lower energy costs (depends upon the amount of solar energy produced in various conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity).

It is one of rapidly developing energy source in many countries across the globe.

They are easy to install and has low maintenance without any waste or pollution.

Overview on Solar Panels

solar panel structure

Source: SUNPOWER

Made out of photovoltaic cells (that’s why generating electricity through solar panels is also called solar PV), solar panels convert the sun’s energy to electricity.

The photovoltaic cells are sandwiched between layers of semi-conducting materials such as silicone (same stuff used in microelectronics). Each layer has different electronic properties that energize when hit by photons from sunlight, creating an electric field – also known as photoelectric effect.

The effect creates the current needed to produce electricity.

As solar panels generate a direct current (DC) of electricity, it is then passed on through an inverter to convert it into an alternating current (AC), which can then be funnelled into the electric grid or be used by homes and business establishments the solar panels are attached to.

Advantages

Using solar panels is good because,

  • It is a renewable energy source.Solar panels use solar energy that’s why it’s a 100% clean, abundant, and renewable source of energy. They don’t produce any pollution as contrasted with commercial electricity production processes that largely rely on oil, coal, and natural gas – they are commonly produced from fossil fuels and are responsible for global warming.
  • You have total control over electricity. Adding a home battery unity by residential solar panels can store enough electricity to power homes through peak usage hours, thereby giving households the energy independence.
  • You can save on energy costs. Solar panels offer you a year-round efficiency and savings since the sun emits energy through clear and cloudy skies and even in colder, cloudy climates. Some solar panels can actually generate more electricity than your home consumes, depending on their size, efficiency and orientation – reducing your monthly electric bill to zero.
  • It qualifies you for tax breaks. Grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs are available to help you with the initial costs, thus, increasing the affordability of solar panels.
  • Its costs significantly dropped. In recent years, the cost of solar have fallen dramatically. Since there are no moving parts to dismantle, you’ll save money on maintenance as well.

Limitations

The downsides will be,

  • Using a lot of space. If you want to produce more electricity, you’ll need more solar panels to collect much sunlight. Solar PV panels commonly require a lot of space and some roofs aren’t big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have. You may install some of the panels in your yard but make sure they can still have access to sunlight.
  • Weather dependence. Though solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, solar panels are largely dependent on sunlight that’s why their efficiency drops.
  • High initial costs. Although tax breaks exist, still the initial costs for purchasing is fairly high. That includes paying for materials such as solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring, and for the installation as well.
  • Expensive large batteries for solar energy storage. Solar energy should be used right away or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries can be charged during the day in order for the energy to be used by night. But they are quite expensive.

Are Solar Panels worth investing?

At this point, it really depends upon your judgement as to whether or not installing solar panels at your homes and business establishments can help you save on electrical bills.

Surely, solar panels are economically and environmentally friendly but is it a good investment?

Consider these questions for yourself:

  • Is it sunny where I live?
  • How much am I paying for electricity costs?
  • How much does a solar panel system cost?
  • How will I finance such a system?
  • Are there any government implemented home solar financial credits or incentives?
  • Will these systems work on my roof?

If all answers boils down to a positive light, then you are qualified to proceed in arranging your decision in investing with solar panels systems.

Summary

In today’s climate change issues, many are now opting from commercially produced electricity to solar panels.

Solar panels are reliable and renewable source of energy. They have the ability to live grid free if all power generated provides enough for the home/building. Reduced dependence on fossil fuels and can be installed anywhere (i.e. fields or rooftops).

By Tuan Nguyen

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