Solar Energy—A Practical Solution?

solar energy

Solar energy has been propped up by many people as the solution to all of our energy problems, on the national and at the individual level. The notion of solar as an inexhaustible energy source is an understandably compelling idea. But is the theory of solar energy as impactful as the reality? Here are some important factors to consider.

Upfront Costs – While it’s true that there are rebates available to reduce the upfront installation costs of solar panels, the reality is that most homes will still have to spend many thousands of dollars for panels. And the payback to break-even could take 10-15 years!

Limited Sunlight – Solar energy works best when sunlight is consistent and abundant. And while it’s possible to purchase a solar energy storage unit, it is likely that New Jersey homeowners will still need to rely on an electric heat backup. This type of setup could be extremely uncomfortable in the winter time when there isn’t enough sunlight to power your heating system.

Inefficiencies Abound – Standard solar panels operate around 40% efficiency, which means that 60% of the sun’s energy is not captured. The newest technologies can only achieve efficiency nearing 80%, which is a far cry from the cutting-edge oilheat technology that achieves 95% efficiency.

So while the idea of solar energy as a renewable and inexhaustible energy source has great allure, it is not an effective or practical solution for Garden State homeowners.