Why Should Jacksonville Homeowners Install Solar Panels on Their Roof?

Why should anyone invest in solar panels? How expensive are they? Can they actually save people money? Do they actually benefit the environment? What negatives should buyers be aware of? 

These are all valid questions anyone considering installing solar panels on their roof should be aware of. Cache Roofing, a roofing company in Jacksonville, FL., are experts in roofing and work with experts in the solar energy field. The Cache Roofing team can help you make the right roofing choices and connect you with those who can help you make the right solar panels decisions.

So, why should anyone invest in solar panels?

Well, depending on your energy usage, energy bill, location and possible tax breaks, solar panels could be very beneficial for your wallet. Plus you’ll be helping the environment. However, the upfront cost can be expensive and there is some concern with some of the toxic material used to create the panels. 

How Expensive Are Solar Panels?

Compared to your electric bill over time, potentially not very expensive. If you plan to get the most out of your panels over many years, then the savings may outway the upfront cost. Plus there are many tax exemptions and rebate options for those considering installing solar panels. 

Nerd Wallet wrote an article explaining solar panel installation costs and possible savings. The article says that most of the cost is upfront with the purchase and installation of the panels. “Minimal long-term expenses can make up for the upfront costs,” the article said. 

Nerd Wallet breaks the cost down like this:

“With installation, an average residential 5kW size system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, according to the CSE, which results in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. That cost is before any tax credits and incentives.”

There are government incentives for taxpayers that help recoup about a quarter of the cost of installation after just the first year.

Solar Estimate’s write-up on Florida explains that the state of Florida has one of the lowest installation prices for solar panels. “The average cost charged by solar energy installation companies in Florida is the lowest in the nation at just $2.70 per Watt for cash-purchased systems and $3.01 per Watt for systems purchased through a solar-specific loan, which is arranged through the installer,” Solar Estimate said.  

Can Solar Panels Actually Save People Money?

In the long term, yes. The initial cost is high, so many won’t see the savings until years after the installation. However, after a long period of time, savings can add up to be into tens of thousands of dollars. 

Florida, the sunshine state, has an abundance of sun and therefore the ability to provide homeowners with a ton of savings. There some things to consider, according to Nerd Wallet. “Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output,” Nerd Wallet said

Solar Estimate also says that location makes a difference in the amount of savings a homeowner will see. “Solar panels produce different amounts of energy in different locations,” Solar Estimate said

Solar Estimate does have a break down for the Jacksonville area. In fact, Solar Estimate can give you an estimate on your possible savings on their website with your exact address. 

Solar Estimate’s Jacksonville break down looks like this:

“Around the Jacksonville area solar panels installed on a south-facing 20-degree pitch roof will typically produce:

  • 1,351kWh
  • per year per 1kW of peak DC
  • (direct current) capacity”

Solar Power Rocks adds that in Florida savings will “last at least 25 years” because of “solar panel warranties.”

Do Solar Panels Actually Benefit the Environment? 

According to many organizations and government agencies, solar panels benefit the environment because they provide an energy source that emits less greenhouse gas into the air. 

Yale Climate Connections debates the environmental benefits of solar panels. “On the brighter side is the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that solar energy’s widespread adoption can yield. Both solar PV and concentrating solar power have a much smaller life-cycle carbon footprint than conventional power generation,” the Yale Climate Connections article said

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, an office within the U.S. Department of Energy, says that solar panels “produce far lower lifecycle levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and harmful pollutants…” This is compared to “fossil fuel generators.” The article on the Energy.gov website explains that, “Achieving the SunShot-level solar deployment targets—14% of U.S. electricity demand met by solar in 2030 and 27% in 2050—could reduce cumulative power-sector GHG emissions by 10% between 2015 and 2050, resulting in savings of $238–$252 billion.” What this means is that by increasing the energy made and used with the use of solar panels, we are decreasing the energy made and used with fossil fuel generators. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that because solar energy does not pollute the air or water and does not emit greenhouse gases, replacing other energy sources with solar energy can benefit the environment. “Using solar energy can have a positive, indirect effect on the environment when solar energy replaces or reduces the use of other energy sources that have larger effects on the environment,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

What Negatives Should Buyers Be Aware Of? 

While solar panels can have positive impacts on your wallet and on the environment, there are some things you should be aware of. 

Many studies have found that some of the products that make-up each individual solar panel are toxic. Many of these products can have negative effects on the environment and there is concern over the ability and cost to recycle the panels. 

The Foundation for Economic Education spoke with a cancer biologist who listed out at least five toxic chemicals found in solar panels. It’s worth noting because while homeowners with solar panels may not be directly handling or assembling the panels, they are living underneath them. 

The real concern, however, is with the large solar farms and the improper disposal of solar panels. Forbes.com wrote an article describing many of the concerns expressed by environmentalists. “The fact that cadmium can be washed out of solar modules by rainwater is increasingly a concern for local environmentalists…” The Forbes article also quotes a study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute concerning the disposal plan for the solar panels. Forbes uses the study to explain that if old solar panels break inside a landfill, it is possible that “‘toxic materials leach into the soil’ and so ‘disposal is potentially a major issue.’”

National Geographic article also points out the water and energy used and waste created in making each panel “could undercut solar’s ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.” 

What Does It All Mean?

Overall, solar panels can save you money in the long run, especially living in a sunny state like Florida. When used on a large scale, solar panels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Anyone considering the use of solar panels should look into their current electricity bill and calculate their possible savings over the next decade with the use of solar panels based on their exact location and sun exposure. Homeowners should also consider the toxic chemicals inside the panels and environmental ramifications if the panels are not disposed of correctly down the road. Homeowners, especially in Florida, will also want to use caution if any of the panels are damaged during storms.