Skip to main content

If you’ve been considering switching to solar for your home or business, it’s important to weigh up the potential benefits of solar. While solar PV systems can be an effective way of tapping into a renewable energy source which could have an impact on your electricity costs, installing solar panels isn’t right for everyone.

Here’s our guide to the potential advantages and disadvantages of solar power for your home or business.


The potential benefits of solar panels

Here are five potential advantages you could enjoy from installing solar panels:

You could help reduce your electricity costs

One of the main advantages of a solar PV system is the potential to reduce your electricity costs. By installing solar panels, you can tap into a renewable energy source (the sun!) and make the most of that free energy source while the sun is shining. 

If you can switch some of your electricity use to during the day rather than at night, you’ll use less power from the grid when the sun goes down – and this could make a difference to your electricity costs. 

If you invest in a solar PV system with battery storage, you may be able to generate and store solar energy to power some of your home or business’s electricity use when the sun is not shining. With a battery storage system, excess solar power generated can be stored to use when your solar PV system isn’t generating. This might help reduce your need to buy electricity from the grid during peak times.

You are tapping into a renewable energy source

Installing solar panels could help to reduce your carbon footprint in terms of your overall electricity use. 

While electricity from the grid comes from a mix of sources, including fossil fuels, a solar PV system is a renewable energy source. Installing solar panels for your home or business may help to reduce your demand for electricity from non-renewable energy sources. 

If you’re investing in a commercial solar PV system, installing solar panels could be one way to show customers that your business cares about renewable energy and reducing your impact on the environment. This may also have flow-on benefits for your brand and reputation, possibly giving you a competitive edge over some of your competitors.

If you’re keen to reduce your carbon footprint further at home or in your business, you could also consider working on other energy efficient habits to reduce your overall energy consumption.

SOLAR ENERGY FACT: The installation of a 6.6kW solar system will generally reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 250 tonnes in its lifetime.  

You might be eligible for an upfront rebate on the purchase price

When you buy a new solar PV system in WA, you might be eligible to receive an upfront rebate on the cost to reduce the price of your purchase as part of the Renewable Energy Target.

Upfront rebates are often available for the surrender of the Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)  generated by your solar PV system and may help with the cost of installing solar panels. You might even be eligible for other incentives, grants or rebates, depending on your situation.

Solar panels require little maintenance 

Solar PV systems generally need very little maintenance. You should also keep an eye on your solar data to understand more about your solar power production and the performance of your solar PV system, which could help you spot any issues. 

You might enjoy a return on investment 

If you can avoid poor quality solar panels and invest in a good quality solar PV system, your solar panels could last for many years. Some high-quality solar panels come with extended manufacturer product warranties for up to 25 years.

In WA, the cost of residential solar and commercial solar PV systems are generally able to be recouped within four to eight years through electricity cost savings. The actual payback period will depend on a range of factors including the purchase price, your system size and electricity usage habits.

Generally you will enjoy a faster payback period by self-consuming your solar power production, rather than exporting the solar power your system generates back into the electricity grid.


The potential disadvantages of solar panels 

It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of solar PV systems to help you decide if installing solar panels is right for you. The potential benefits of having solar panels are relatively clear, including the potential financial and environmental benefits – but solar power isn’t suitable for all households and business owners. 

Here are five potential disadvantages of installing solar panels:

You need to be prepared for a high upfront cost

The upfront cost of purchasing solar panels is relatively high. For example, a 6.6 kW residential solar PV system currently costs between $5,000 and $8,000 generally depending on the quality, size, brand, installation and other factors. 

Look carefully into the estimated time it will take to recover the cost of your solar PV system in reduced electricity costs and any estimated lifetime savings on your electricity costs before you commit to the upfront cost. If investing in a solar PV system isn’t right for you, there are other ways you may be able to reduce your electricity costs such as with a time of use electricity plan if you can make the most of lower electricity rates during off-peak times.

Solar panels need the sun for electricity production

Watch out for any solar installer who promises no more electricity bills – because a solar PV system won’t generate solar power when the sun goes down and you will still be connected to the grid and pay a daily supply charge.

Solar panels may still generate electricity when it is cloudy or overcast, but their output is significantly reduced. If your roof is shaded for most of the day by trees or neighbouring buildings, installing solar panels may not produce much electricity at all and therefore offer you limited potential benefits. 

You may need to change how you use electricity 

Given that the electricity production of your solar PV system is generally highest during the middle of the day, you may not be at home to use this electricity. If you don’t use the electricity it produces in real time, it will either be sent back to the grid or stored in a battery if you’ve also invested in battery storage. 

In terms of using your solar power, if you aren’t able to make the most of your solar power production during the day, this could have an impact on any potential electricity costs savings and your payback period (the time it will take to recover the cost of your solar PV system). 

Depending on your lifestyle and habits, you might need to shift some of your electricity use from the evenings to during the day in order to make the most of investing in solar. For example, you could set appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher to run on a timer during the day. 
If you want to use the excess solar power that your solar PV system generates at other times, like at night, you would need to invest in a battery, which would require additional investment. 

You’ll need to find a trustworthy solar installer

One of the barriers of switching to solar can be finding a trustworthy company to supply and install your solar PV system. You want to deal with a company with a proven track record, Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation and excellent solar installation practices.

Your home might not be suitable for solar power 

Contrary to some solar power myths, solar power systems are simply not suited to everyone

For example, if you’re considering residential solar and don’t own your home or live in an apartment or strata, or you are looking at commercial solar for rented premises, it could be difficult to have a solar PV system installed. Even if you own your home or commercial premises, the roof size could mean you’re restricted in the size and type of solar PV system you could install.  

If you plan to move in the near future, while you could install a solar PV system now and potentially take your solar PV system with you when you move, this will involve added solar installation costs and, in most cases, would be cheaper to simply have a new system installed at your new home. In this case, it could be worth waiting until after your move to invest in a solar PV system. 


Should you invest in a solar PV system?

Deciding whether the potential benefits of solar panels will work for you will depend on your personal circumstances – and it’s important to make an informed decision. If you’re likely to stay where you are for some years to come, you’re passionate about renewable energy or you’re keen to explore new ways to potentially reduce your electricity costs, installing a solar PV system could be a good option for you.

There are a number of solar PV system providers in WA, so if you’re thinking about installing a solar PV system, be sure to do your research. You can start by exploring our tips on how to choose a solar installer.