Solar Energy for My Home (I Want It, Can't Afford It)

July 31, 2017

In this day and age where the annual temperatures are getting higher and higher, it’s hard not to spend more on electricity just to keep cool here in the Philippines. Years back I was the type of person who would resort to electric fans because the use of air-conditioning can be expensive but the heat has gotten to the point where I had to buy an air conditioner. One AC at home soon became two and my electric bill was suddenly higher than what we normally pay for. That prompted me to consider solar energy to see if it could be something we could afford to use at home. Solar energy costs are still high given my current budget, but it is still something worth considering because of the savings it will give you in the long run.

There is a lot of solar energy information out there, it’s not that hard to find. There are many companies that offer solar panels that will generate energy that you can use for your home, each with different pricing options and products offered. These companies are more than willing to provide you with information on solar energy and will even visit your home to give you an accurate assessment of the cost of installing solar panels to generate electricity for you house. They also explain how the energy generated works in relation to our electric provider through a solar/net metering system with Meralco. Some companies even conduct seminars for potential buyers so that they can understand the concept of solar energy for home/office electricity needs better.

Photo from skeeze of

Solar energy has its advantages and disadvantages. Based on what I’ve learned so far, here are the pros and cons:

PRO: Lower Electric Bill

One obvious pro is a lower electric bill since you will be using solar energy for your power needs. This is the main reason why I was considering solar energy in the first place.

CON: Expensive Cost

Even with the technology being better than before and cost being lower than when it first started out, the installation of a solar energy system at home can still amount to a lot of money. Yes, the money saved for the amount of time that the system will work for you will still be higher but since most companies do not offer an installment plan for this kind of service, you will need a large amount of money for this upfront. Can you imagine how many solar panels it would take (and cost) to shoulder your power needs if you normally have a large bill and want to zero it out with solar power? I don't even know if it will fit our roof!

PRO: Low Maintenance Cost

According to the companies that I have talked to, there is a low maintenance cost for this type of system. Most companies say their system can work for you for 20 years. Return on Investment (Savings from electricity bills) is much bigger than what their systems would cost since there is not much maintenance involved.

CON: Storage of Energy is Even More Expensive (and Impractical)

One thing I was curious about was power storage. For example, if there is not much sunlight and there is a power outage from Meralco, would there be any way to save energy generated from previous days to be used as a generator of sorts for our home? I learned that there were batteries that could be installed to save electricity for future use. However, these batteries are rather large and have a separate and equally expensive cost compared to the solar energy system to be installed.

PRO: Renewable Energy

The sun is a resource that won’t go away any time soon (I hope) so you are assured of a power source, especially here in our tropical country (Philippines). If you have solar panels and a system to convert that energy to electricity, you’re good to go.

CON: Use Depends on the Weather

Unfortunately, there will be days when you won’t have enough solar power to use, like when there are typhoons and when the weather is particularly gloomy/cloudy. You can’t use the system at night either so good luck with power outages at night (unless you also have the batteries I mentioned installed).

Even with all the disadvantages, I think that the advantages are enough reason to buy solar energy systems, especially here in the Philippines where the electricity prices seem to get higher and higher through the years.

Sadly, I can’t afford to buy a solar energy system now but I wish that I did. Hopefully one day I will.

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