Solar panels are more than just a way to cut down on electricity costs. The technology gives you control over your energy consumption and production. Not to mention the various tax incentives being offered to homeowners who install solar panels on their roofs. But is it all good news when it comes to solar panels and roofs? Or are there some downsides to this exciting and innovative technology?
Jaime Westenbarger is from Brentwood, Tennessee, and is the director of sales for Bluebird Roofing in Nashville. He is an experienced entrepreneur that has been involved in sales his entire career. He worked in the financial and insurance sector for over 20 years. As a homeowner, he believes that when it comes to roofs and solar panels, things are not always as clear cut as they seem. There are undeniable advantages to solar panels, but they also come with some drawbacks.
Solar Panels and Roof Types
Roofs come in different shapes and materials. According to Jaime Westenbarger, not all of those roof types are good candidates to install solar panels. Tile roofs for example would need extra brackets installed to support the solar panels. Metal roofs, on the other hand, are considered the best roof types for solar panels. They are durable, cost-effective, and don’t require extra adjustments to accommodate the panels. The same cannot be said about tar and gravel roofs. While you can still install solar panels on roofs made of tar or asphalt, they are generally difficult to install and maintain. Torch down roofs and foam roofs are considered ideal for solar panels but you should avoid wood roofs because of the extra work and cost involved when installing the panels.
Advantages of Solar Panels
Jaime Westenbarger agrees that the advantages of solar panels outweigh their disadvantages. Here are just some of these benefits.
● Increased Property Value: When you install solar panels on your roofs, the value of your property goes up, not down. When you put your house on the market, prospective buyers will get all the benefits of solar energy as well. These benefits factor into the price tag you put on the house.
● Environmentally Friendly: Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. This is clean energy that doesn’t involve fossil fuel and all the dangerous pollutants and emissions that contribute to global warming. It is estimated that a home that relies on solar energy reduces its carbon footprint by the equivalent of planting 88 trees per year.
● Lower Electricity Bill: With your solar panels providing you with enough energy, your electricity costs become noticeably less. On average, you can expect to shave as much as $84 off your electricity bill.
● Tax Incentives: In some states, you will get tax incentives for using solar panels. This helps you cut down on the costs of the panel installations.
● Tax Credit: On the federal level, you get a tax credit for the solar panels on your roof. When you install solar panels for the first time, you can deduct as much as 30% of the costs from your taxes.
● Go Off the Grid: In some cases, you can go completely off the grid and get all your energy needs from the solar panels on your roof. This usually requires a large space to install all the solar panels you require. Also, the upfront costs are something to think about.
Jaime Westenbarger on The Cons
With all these benefits, Jaime Westenbarger argues, it’s hard to imagine why every home won’t have solar panels on its roof. However, there are disadvantages both to solar energy and solar panels that make them either inconvenient or not accessible to everyone.
● High Upfront Costs: This technology doesn’t come cheap. You’ll need to fork out on average about $17,000 to have solar energy in your home. This number could go up depending on where you live, the type of your roof, and the space available.
● House Orientation: A roof facing north or east that doesn’t get many hours of sun every day isn’t suitable for solar energy.
● Access to Sunlight: In addition to the house orientation, not every part of the country gets sun all year round. Without the sun, you can’t have energy, which means you’ll get your electricity from the grid.