For many people, solar energy is equated with going green and living off the grid. Yet, although it is generally seen as a positive switch for both preppers and eco-enthusiasts alike, no change comes without some sort of price. For this reason, it’s best to consider all the solar energy advantages and disadvantages before you go “all in” and make your move toward living off the grid.
Solar Energy Advantages: The Good
One of the largest benefits you can receive by switching to the sun’s natural energy source is financial. That’s not to say that an emergency situation wouldn’t trump saving money, but in everyday usage, no one can argue the fact that electricity prices continually raise over time. When you have solar energy system in place, however, you will find that the cost of your energy usage will either remain the same, or may even drop. It may not seem like a big difference right now, but considering the fact that are very durable and can last up to thirty years or more, and factoring in the rate of inflation, this can all add up to substantial savings over the long-term. You can even sell some of your energy back to the grid and actually earn income in some geographical locations.
In addition to the cost benefits of going solar, you are also protecting you and your family from the loss of energy during man-made or natural disasters. Survival in emergency situations requires preparation, and you don’t have to be a traditional “prepper” to understand the magnitude of how an independent power source can help during the most undesirable of circumstances. For instance, what will you do in the event of a natural disaster? You could be without power for weeks at a time. Weeks! But, the good news is, the panels which harvest the energy from the sun continue to work when all other resources are shut down. So, as a self-sufficient powerhouse, your quality of life and your family’s safety will continue at the level you’re comfortable with.
Monetary and survival benefits aside, one can’t overlook the fact that switching to solar energy is good for the environment as well. As a totally green way to provide power to your home, it not only helps to preserve our earth and every type of ecosystem, but it also adds to the value of your home. So, once again, even though you’re doing something that’s good for the environment, it still comes full circle… it comes back around to saving and/or making money. Homes with solar panels appeal to a broader buyer base when you’re selling, and it increases the total value of your home.
Lastly, when you decide to use solar as your primary source of energy, you are affecting more than just your family alone. The solar power industry employs a lot of people, so you are helping to provide much-needed jobs – both nationally, in your local communities, and even abroad.
Solar Energy Disadvantages: The Bad
As with any type of product or service, there is always the bad to go with the good – and solar energy is no exception. While nearly everyone would prefer to have some kind of solar power system in place, it isn’t always a realistic option.
When installing a solar power system, the initial cost can be substantial, depending on the size of your home. Yet, while the price tag might be a huge slap in the face, the reality is that the panels will pay for themselves over time. Plus, there financing is available, as well as rebates and money earned from selling some of your excess energy back to the grid you’re trying to escape from. So, even though the price tag is hefty, it’s still doable for those on tight budgets.
Another disadvantage to going solar is that in order to live 100% off the grid you have to be set up with battery back-up power. The sun doesn’t always shine, so if you’re planning on using your solar power for periods of survival when the sun isn’t up, it will take a little extra planning. Still, most of times in which we actually need power are during the daylight hours, so the downside, while still present, is limited here.
The last disadvantage to having solar power is that you may be the target in the event of an emergency. There are many people who aren’t yet on the prepper wagon, and for those who are, they risk being inundated with requests for assistance during natural disasters that they can’t possibly fill. Other than that, there really aren’t that many negatives to switching to sun power. It’s readily available and can never be contained or monopolized by any government entity or corporation. No one can suck the sun into a can and prevent you from getting your share.
Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages: The Ugly
Despite the good and the bad, there are things about solar power that can be very ugly – namely the appearance of the panels. While there’s no real way around having the panels, for those stuck on the aesthetic roadblock to getting a solar power system in place, it’s important to note that they look much sleeker than they did when they first came out a few decades ago. Even then, if you are having trouble making the switch, there are creative ways to detract from the panel’s presence. All it takes is a little innovative landscaping and strategic use of color around them to make the panels blend in a little more. After all, when it comes to landscaping, not only is planting a tree good for the earth, but it may be used for other purposes in the event of an emergency.
For those looking for complete energy independence, harnessing the energy from the sun is the only real alternative to being a slave to the grid. And, while there are a number of solar energy advantages and disadvantages to consider, whenever clean, pollution-free energy is feasible and available, it’s always the preferred choice.