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The pros and cons of solar energy

Advantages of solar energy

Solar energysaves you money in the long term

It generally takes around 7-9 years to pay off the initial cost of solar panels with electricity bill savings. After this period, your power is essentially free! To get the best value, the size of your solar energy system needs to closely match your electricity usage. Learn which capacity system would be best for your homehere.

Here’s an example from a Harrisons Solar customer:

We installed a 3.7kW solar energy system using LG panels and a Fronius inverter in a relatively typical Kiwi family home in Auckland. They previously had a roughly $200 power bill each month. They now pay next to nothing on power bills each month; they sometimes need to top up using the national grid when using lots of heating in winter. As retail power prices continue to rise, they will save more than $50,000 within the next 25 years of using their system!

Solar energy is good for the environment

Solar panels are a zero-emission, completely renewable energy source during their usable life. Once installed, solar panels emit no greenhouse gas emissions or other harmful toxins while producing electricity. Switching to a solar energy system will reduce your household's carbon footprint and help slow down climate change and all of the harmful effects that non-renewable energy sources have on the Earth’s ecosystems. Read more about the benefits of home solar energy systems for the environment here.

Solar energy is a renewable power option, so it doesn’t deplete natural resources. The sun provides more solar energy than we will ever need, so electricity from solar power is an excellent alternative to ‘dirty’ energy production methods such as the burning of fossil fuels. When we use solar energy, we are taking pressure off power grids that don’t use renewable energy sources. While most electricity (currently about 84% and counting) in New Zealand comes from renewable sources, our power grid is still responsible for the depletion of some non-renewable resources such as coal or oil. It’s certainly better for the Earth to use power sources that won’t run out!

Solar technology is rapidly evolving to become even cleaner for the environment every day. Learn exactly how clean solar energy is here.

Solar panels can increase property value

Even if you are planning on moving in the next few years, solar panels might still be worth it. A pre-installed solar system is a huge bonus that promises reduced power bills for home buyers, without them having to do the administration to make it happen. Research done in Australia estimates an increase in home value of around $6,500NZD per kilowatt of solar energy. This means a rise of over $30,000 in the retail value of your home for a 5kW system! You can read more about which system capacity is best suited to your home here, and you can check out the New Zealand data from our mates at homes.co.nz here (bottom of this page https://www.harrisonssolar.co.nz/solar/price-and-savings)

Solar energy systems are easy to maintain and have a long lifespan

Most solar PV panels last at full capacity for over 25 years. A solar panel is a relatively simple device with no moving parts; they require minimal ongoing maintenance if they have been installed properly. All you have to do to maintain solar panels is keep your panels clear of debris, dust, dirt and pollen with a regular hosing down and get a professional maintenance check every few years. With proper maintenance, solar energy inverters should last over 10 years and are relatively simple to replace.

Worldwide, the best quality modern solar PV panels generally have a warranty for operating at optimum productivity for 25-30 years, and it’s very rare for solar panels to ‘go bad’. After 25-30 years, it is common to see the solar panel’s electricity production decrease 10-20% below their initial power output rating, but this doesn’t mean their life is over yet!

High-quality panels have been shown to degrade at a far slower rate, while cheaper solar panels degrade faster. Choosing high quality panels with a 25 year performance warranty AND 25 year product warranty, like LG, will mean the panels will last longer, and the savings are higher - be weary of cheaper panels that only offer a 25 year performance warranty, but only a 12-15 year product warranty, they obviously don’t expect the panels to last 25 years…

Disadvantages of solar energy

The upfront cost of solar panels

The initial cost of a solar energy system does not seem cheap. But with the right payback finance options, it can be as little as a cup of coffee a day! However, the payback period in NZ is only around 7-9 years, and this period will decrease as the price of electricity from the national grid continues to rise.Get in touch with us for a quote if you want to know exactly how much it would cost to install solar panels for your household.

You cannot install solar panels yourself

DIY solar panel home installation is absolutely not recommended. However, hiring experts does mean that you can rest assured the installation is done right with proper warranties and meets all NZ electrical regulations and building codes. It will cost you more to fix a botched DIY job than to get the system installed properly in the first place.

Solar energy isn’t suitable for all homes or locations

Consult our experts to see if solar panels will work for your building. The roof orientation of some buildings can unfortunately make them unsuitable for solar panels.Solar energy systems are also not effective in areas that do not get much sunlight, or where it snows heavily a lot. Neither of these factors are major issues in many locations across New Zealand, and modern solar panels have become increasingly more effective in a wider range of climates. If sunlight in your location is extremely variable, you couldconsider a battery for your home solar system.

So, is solar energy a good option for your home?

Solar panels are a worthwhile investment for electricity bill savings, value added to your home and the opportunity for your household to reduce your carbon footprint and become more self-sufficient.

Learn more about the benefits of solar power in New Zealand and whether it would suit the needs of your home by getting in touch with the Harrisons Solar experts. We can answer any of your more complex questions and can arrange an at-home consultation to help you figure out your exact household energy needs. Reach out to us to start your solar energy journey today!

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