Are Solar Panels A Ripoff? Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels

Updated on October 27, 2022
Are Solar Panels A Ripoff? Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels

Are solar panels legit or a ripoff?

Are solar panels a ripoff or are they worth it?

A ripoff is defined as a theft, cheat or swindle. In the case of solar, it would suggest that solar panel manufacturers are knowingly selling products that do not perform as indicated. Solar panels are not a ripoff if care is taken to purchase quality products from a known manufacturer, and they are installed correctly.

I don’t believe solar panels are a ripoff. Certainly, some solar panel manufacturers are pushing out masses of sub-standard solar panels, often mis-representing the real power output.

In some cases, solar panel build quality is poor, but it’s up to the buyer to do detailed research and make sure they are sure of whatever they are buying.

Are solar panels really worth the money?

What do we mean by ‘worth it‘? Normally, the idea of worth is based on value for money and is often justified in terms of what else could be bought for the same money.

Appliances and other devices we buy for the home are designed and intended to either give us pleasure or make our lives easier.

Solar panels are a little different – they produce something we can use from nothing but sunshine.

They are quite unique compared to every other home appliance or energy generator in that they don’t need fuel in order to generate electricity.

Are solar panels really worth it?

People have solar panels installed with the aim of reducing or eliminating electricity bills and there’s no denying that this is what they do.

It is possible that a solar installation might deliver less energy than initially thought, but this is up to the due diligence of the home-owner and the quality of the solar installer.

The competitive nature of the solar installation business at the moment generally ensures that installers strive to give maximum value.

Are solar panels a waste of money?

It’s difficult to see how even mediocre solar panels could be a waste of money. Even if they don’t produce quite as much electricity as first thought, after the installation costs are covered, all electricity is free.

How long do solar panels last?

Manufacturers give various warranties but in general you can count on 25 to 30 years guaranteed output.

In fact, solar panels will continue to generate power for many years after the warranty period – up to 50 years, but at reducing rates of efficiency.

Do solar panels add value to your home?

Zillow found that a solar panel installation can add up to 4% to the resale value of your property.

Not only does a solar installation save you money on utility bills but it also increases the value of our home. It doesn’t sound like a ripoff to me!

Do solar panels really save money?

This is the proof of the pudding – does a solar installation save you money in the long term?

This is best illustrated by an example, based on a 5kW solar system installed on a home in San Francisco, Ca:

Do solar panels really save money?

Solar panel payback period depends on irradiance

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Solar system size: 5000 watts
  • Total capital installation cost = $18000 – 26% federal tax credit = $13580
  • Average irradiance for San Francisco, Ca = 2089.1 Peak Sun Hours
  • Energy generated by solar panels = 2089.1 x 5kW = 10445 kWh
  • San Francisco home electricity/kWh = 25.7 cents/kWh
  • Annual savings = solar generation x electricity cost = 10445 25.7 = $2684
  • Solar payback time San Francisco = solar cost/yearly savings = 13580/2684 = 5 years


Federal Solar Tax Credit

US Electricity Rates

Are solar panels legit?

Legit stands for legitimate, which really means ‘are solar panels what they are said to be?’

Thousands of home-owners are using solar panels to reduce or even eliminate their electrical bills. This is practical evidence of their legitimacy.

If solar panels were not legit, why would so many people be using them?

Are free solar panels a con?

No, free solar opanels are not a con, whichever way you look at it. ‘Free’ solar panels refer to two different situations:

Many companies advertise free solar panel installations completely free of charge, but this doesn’t accurately reflect the business relationship.

The companies in question take all or a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of electricity generated, while the customer benefits from greatly reduced utility bills.

In general, it’s a good relationship and many home-owners take advantage of it.

Secondly, there is a possibility of getting actual solar panel completely free from solar farms. It works like this – solar farms have hundreds of large solar panels in their arrays, often 300 to 400 watts in power rating.

Solar farms panels are monitored for efficiency and if a panel’s oputput falls below a certain threshold, it is removed and basically scrapped.

It costs money to scrap solar panels and some solar farms will actually give the panels away if you simply ask!

Even if a 300 watt solar panel only delivers 150 watts, it’s still a lot of power that you could use to build your own system.


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