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Experts talk pros and cons of solar panels

If you’re interested in cutting costs of running your home, solar panels may be an option.

But experts say there are pros and cons that you need to know.

Jane Hudson lives near Canton, Missouri. Crews from Green Leaf Solar out of Columbia are busy installing solar panels on her home. But, they said not all homes could benefit as much as her’s.

“I have a house that has great southern exposure. I live in the country. I want to be as self-sufficient as possible,” said Hudson, talking about how her brother inspired her after he got solar panels installed at his home.

She said her goal is to contribute less to climate change, and cut costs.

“I’m looking at retiring in a few years, I want to cut down my bills as much as I possibly can,” said Hudson.

While Hudson said that’s why these solar panels are right for her, the people from Green Leaf Solar said there’s a lot to consider when deciding if they’re right for your home

“I want to get my hands on your utility bill and your address, and from there we can take a look, stop by, do a shade test, and really see if you’re a good candidate for solar, not everybody is,” said Green Leaf Solar Owner Ryan Roe.

He said it’s important for the roof you’re installing the panels on to be long-lasting so they don’t need to be re-installed.

Roe estimates that installations at most homes would cost around $17,000, but there are incentives that help cut costs.

“[There’s] a 30% federal incentive that basically everybody gets, and so she’s down to just 30% of her bill, which ultimately takes about 7-8 years to pay off,” said Roe.

He said it’s also important to make sure there isn’t anything that would make the panels inefficient.

“Sometimes a bunch of trees would rob maybe 20, 30% of your production,” said Roe.

For Hudson, she’s glad the incentives made it affordable.

“I was waiting for the right opportunity and with the incentives and other things going on, it’s becoming much more prevalent,” said Hudson.

Roe said panels like these also slowly degrade over time, but even after the 25 year factory warranty, the panels are projected to produce around 80% of the power they were designed to produce.

Roe also said panels like the ones Hudson has are designed to withstand heavy winds and hail up to one and a half inches in diameter.

He said if that does happen, it’s something homeowners will likely claim on their insurance with other damages to their home.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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