Screw the Earth by Installing Solar Panels

Posted February 25th, 2010
by Staff (no comments)

solarpanelsNow, I know that Al Gore and all of the rest of the activists will tell you otherwise, but let me let you in on a dirty little secret that “they” don’t want you to know:

Solar panels aren’t always a good thing.

That’s right. Solar panels aren’t a panacea. They aren’t right for everyone, and in some cases will wind up being so inefficient as to actually use more natural resources in their manufacturing and their operation than what you’d use otherwise.

Here are some factors to consider when you’re thinking about installing solar panels:

Sunlight level

If you live in New Mexico, you might get 300 or more days of sun a year. If you live in the state of Washington, you might get 50. There are some parts of the country that get so little sunlight, comparatively speaking, that it will take years just to pay for the panels themselves.

Home size

Larger homes, by their very nature, require more power. That means more solar panels. The problem is that solar power doesn’t always scale the same way that a house size does. You might wind up having to purchase and install a battery storage system for your solar power, which can double your costs and uses that much more in terms of resources.

Power source

Overall, the power grid is getting greener. Yes, there are still coal-fired power plants. But if you live in an area with a lot of greener technology and power plants, you might not be as much a drain on the earth as you think. Yes, a house in an area of West Virginia that’s powered by a 50 year-old coal plant could benefit the earth by using solar power. A house in Arizona whose local power grid is fed primarily by wind turbines, however, won’t have the same kinds of benefits.

Money matters

Going green isn’t a zero-sum game. Some people that care about the world around them can’t afford to buy a Prius, and others have a family that’s too big to make effective use of one. The same goes for solar panels. Yes, grants and such can help defray the cost of the solar panels, but if you can’t afford to put them in then it’s really a non-issue. You should also make sure that putting in panels won’t affect your homeowners insurance in a negative way, as some policies may see this as a liability.

Photo via bkusler

Categories: Advice

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