Solar Panels Versus Electricity: The Real Deal

Feb 23, 2013   //   by Russell   //   Solar Comparisons  //  No Comments

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Solar Panels Versus Electricity: An Honest Comparison

solar panels versus electricityWhen you think of saving money on your energy bills, the first thing that may come to mind is the use of alternative energy. Today, solar energy is the most popular alternative energy – the popularity still surpassing that of wind power. However, most people who want to convert to solar will only do so if it makes financial sense and they can save money on their electric bills.

So in that vein, comparing the important aspects of solar panels and conventional electric energy is likely something that anyone wanting to convert to solar would want to do in order to decide which source of electricity is best over the long-term.

Solar Panels Vs Electricity

When doing a thorough comparison of solar panels versus electricity, its important to note that both solar panels and regular electricity provide well-needed power to run your home appliances and lighting system in your home. Both are dependable and are excellent sources of electricity for your home or business.

But let’s look at the multiple variables that make these two energy sources similar as well as different.


A commercial source of power provides electrical energy that is always available except when there are unexpected power shortages or outages. the northeastern United States has experienced a number of heavy storms over the past few months which make this problem readily apparent.

The inconvenience that power outages cause is certainly a cause for concern for many people. For most of the United States, electricity from the electric company is extremely dependable – but outages do occur nonetheless.

However, solar panel systems depend on sunlight which is not available 24 hours a day. The upside is that your solar system can collect the energy and store it in battery packs for use during the night, in winter or in case of power outages. Also, you can invest in many batteries to make sure you have a steady supply of electricity to your home.

The Cost of Solar Panels Versus Electricity

Even after your home gets connected to the grid you have to pay monthly for the electricity you use. However with solar, you invest in the solar equipment then you may occasionally tap back into the grid if there are long periods of cloudy days.

Although there is a upfront cost of installing solar panels, the system does not require expensive maintenance. In most cases, the amount of money you save on electricity pays for the installation and upfront investment usually in under ten years. Longer term, the money you spend in setting up the solar system in your home will be returned to you, both in terms of savings in electric bills but also in conserving the environment as well.

The Environmental Impact

Commercial power plants which supply power for domestic and commercial use can lead to environmental problems. For obvious reasons due to global warming, electric plants belching out coal or oil fueled electricity have serious environmental consequences.

The emissions due to use of coal are especially harmful to the environment. A domestic solar panel system produces no harmful emissions which makes this healthy and convenient.

Reverse Metering

Solar panels provide an opportunity for you to make money with the extra energy you generate in your home. This can raise some extra income for you by “reverse metering” and selling that energy back to the grid.

With electric energy, you only use and pay for it with no such payback.

Effect of the Weather on Solar Panels Versus Electricity

The efficiency of solar energy can also be affected by the prevailing weather conditions. Winter or cloudy weather can reduce the efficiency of the solar panel system by up to 50%. Whether it is cloudy, snowing or raining, the level of electricity you receive in your home is constant, unless something happens to disrupt it.

Effect of Positioning on Solar Panels

When comparing solar panels versus electricity, another factor that affects the performance of solar panels is the positioning on your rooftop. The solar panels need to be positioned in such a way that they capture the sunlight properly. The positioning aspect, although it does not factor into regular electricity supply, once its done, its done forever with little if any maintenance.

When they are installed, solar panels need to be positioned carefully to avoid shade caused by trees, tall buildings and other objects. This is not a factor with electricity from the grid because the energy is simply supplied through wires unencumbered by these outside factors. This makes electricity very dependable.

Solar Panels Versus Electricity Conclusion

In conclusion, it is best to use both sources of energy depending on your needs. You can use solar energy when it is available and switch to the grid when the stored energy runs out. For a greener environment though, it is far better to use solar energy as its clean, efficient and the sun’s rays are in abundant supply.

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