When Does Going Solar NOT Make Sense?

By - Alex Hay
16.05.23 12:06 PM

OK, so you live in a cave…. THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH…

        That could be a valid reason why solar might not make sense for a homeowner: if they live deep inside a dark cave, but who knows - if they have property nearby that’s exposed to sunlight, there could be a feasible space for a nice ground mount residential solar array! Truth be told, with all the incentives (both from the government and local utility companies) and improvements in solar technologies coupled against rapidly-rising traditional electric costs, we can confirm that solar makes sense financially for a vast majority of homeowners across the United States. And yes, building a home in a cave could not make you a viable candidate for rooftop solar, and that’s not the only circumstance where solar might not make sense financially, so let’s dive into it, and keep in mind: just because rooftop solar doesn’t make sense for you, doesn’t mean you should rule-out solar entirely…

Shading around your home

        Yes, the cave example was a bit facetious, but the reasoning is true: there are some homes that simply do not get enough sunlight to justify solar panels. Now I’m talking homes in the woods with almost zero sunlight hitting the roof during the day. There is still a very good chance that, even with a decent amount of tree-cover or other shade blanketing the roof, solar still makes sense. Tree removal can be an expensive last resort, but there are often less costly alternatives. We have also worked with homeowners over the years that were able to add in tree trimming or removal that was desperately needed for safety reasons, all in one loan with their solar array! This is why it is so important your solar provider does the additional legwork up front to make sure your roof gets ample sunlight to maximize your return on the investment as quickly as possible. 

Your roof is not the ideal shape

        There are certain rare instances where a customer’s roof simply isn’t conducive for panels. Maybe the pitch is too steep and facing in a suboptimal direction, maybe there are too many obstructions on the roof, who knows. This is why it’s important to partner with a solar company that uses a state-of-the-art design tool to determine roof pitch up up front to make sure your roof is conducive for solar. Oftentimes we find that homes with a difficult roof can still support a home solar array that can provide a significant amount of electric bill savings. 

You don’t own the home you're living in

        This may go without saying, but we always recommend you own the home you are interested in putting rooftop solar on. You could always ask your landlord if solar makes sense for the home, but you won’t be able to really reap the benefits of residential solar unless you own the home - chalk that up to another “pro” of home ownership! Solar programs for renters exist, but often will only help you offset your carbon footprint. If you want to help save the world and save thousands of dollars, you will need to own your own solar asset!

Interest rates are too high to justify investment

        If you plan on financing your solar array, there could be a point in the future when interest rates are so high the return on the investment just doesn’t make sense. Luckily, right now the interest rates still make going solar a no-brainer, but with rates trending the way they currently are, it’s important to look into rooftop solar sooner rather than later! The majority of solar owners actually pay their loans off years before their final payments are scheduled for. This is because of excellent refinancing options and homeowners just being excited about the fact that solar for your home actually works! If you’re worried about interest and debt erasing your financial return, don’t be! Installing solar on your home isn’t adding any new money to your budget, it’s replacing a bill that is guaranteed to go up with a less expensive payment guaranteed to end! Whether you pay up front or finance, it is always going to be better than paying a bill and getting nothing in return for it.

Alex Hay