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3 Reasons Why NOT To Install Solar Panels

Brad Allen

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

Dec 20 4 minutes read

Solar panels are a popular method to cut down on electric bills and protect the environment. Zillow research shows that they can increase your home’s value by 4.1%. However even though rooftop solar works well for some consumers, I would argue it isn’t a good fit for every American household. If any of these reasons for not going solar apply to you, you may want to reconsider.

1. Your roof isn't suitable for solar panels.

Solar panels are often installed on the roof because it offers surface space and sun exposure. But what if you don’t have a roof to call your own, or you have a roof but it just isn’t up to the job? Here are the factors that could prevent a successful solar installation: 

  • You don’t own a house, which means that you don’t have your own roof to install panels on. 

  • Your roof is too old: Panels can be installed on pretty much any roof type, but it’s not recommended on a roof that is weak or damaged. Plus, if a roof is due to be replaced, you’re much better off waiting until that’s done. Otherwise, you’ll have to take off the solar panels first and reinstall them when the new roof is up. 

  • Your roof is too small: Solar panels need sunlight to generate electricity. The more sunlight they absorb, the more power they generate. If you have a small roof, you may find that solar panels simply won’t generate enough kilowatt-hours to make a real impact on your bills. 

  • There’s too much shade on your roof, which can significantly impact your roof’s solar generation potential. 

  • The roof’s layout is unfavorable: If your roof doesn’t face the right direction or isn’t at an optimal angle, then panels will make less electricity than they ideally could.


2. There's nowhere to put solar panels.

The roof is the most common place to put solar panels — but some homeowners will use other spaces, such as in the backyard or a secondary structure on their property. However, if both of these circumstances apply to you, then you’re out of luck: 

  • Ground-mounting isn’t possible. While this may be an option for farms and ranches, it is rarely feasible in cities and suburbs where there is less open space to work with.

  • No other structure is available: The last option to consider are buildings like carports or sheds, or backyard structures like gazebos, pergolas, and patio covers. If you don’t have any of these, or they lack suitable surface areas, it means that you'll have to hold off.


3. You plan to move or sell your home.

If you plan to leave your current home in the next few years, you should pause and reconsider whether solar panels are the best option for you right now. It can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to remove solar panels from your roof and reinstall them on a new one (which does cost a pretty penny). Your new home may lack the appropriate space or the local building codes in your destination could be more restrictive.

4. Your electric bill is already low.

Many American households spend hundreds of dollars every month on their power bills — and solar panels are often the most effective way to slash that amount. However, some homeowners don’t spend very much on electricity. This could be because of one or more of the following factors: 

  • You have a small home and/or household 

  • Your home and appliances are energy efficient

  • You enjoy low electric rates from your local utility

If that’s you, and you pay $50 or less a month for electricity, then installing solar probably isn’t worth the time and effort. 

Now, it’s entirely possible that despite these factors, you can save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your solar panels — just make sure that this is the case before you take the plunge.  


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