Solar Versus Traditional Electric: Pros and Cons

Solar rays shining on solar panels

As solar energy becomes a more accessible and popular option, people often compare solar vs. electricity to see which might be the better option. Solar energy is sustainable, with cost-saving advantages and government incentives benefits, while traditional electricity provides an established infrastructure and relative reliability.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of solar vs. electricity, the cost-effectiveness of solar energy, and more to decide which type is right for your property.

Solar panels and traditional electricity are two popular options for powering homes. But, to choose between solar vs. electricity, it’s essential to know the pros and cons of each before making a final decision. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of electricity vs. solar energy.

Traditional Electric Energy


  • Minimal setup steps
  • Easy to use immediately
  • Readily available in every city
  • Currently, the more popular option
  • Often more cost-effective in the beginning


  • Users have no control over the cost of electricity
  • More expensive in the long-term
  • No rebates, incentives, or tax credits
  • Electricity typically comes from non-renewable resources
  • Limited choice in the type of electricity used

Solar Energy


  • Can provide long-term savings on utility bills
  • Has local, state, and federal rebates, tax credits, and incentives for installation costs
  • Reduces reliance on grid electricity
  • May increase home values
  • Is a sustainable, renewable, and green source of energy


A light bulb shining light behind a house stencil
A man holding a light bulb

Before making the switch to solar, many people want to calculate the potential cost-effectiveness of solar energy. The best way to determine possible monthly utility savings is to get a quote from a professional solar installation company like Axia Solar. For a more general estimate, you can use our solar calculator.

When it comes to the debate of solar vs. electricity, many wonder, “Are solar panels cheaper?” Here’s a general cost comparison between utility electricity vs. solar energy.


  • Solar panels — Solar panels have more expensive upfront costs surrounding system installation. The cost covers all aspects of the system, including panels, mounting structures, inverters, wires, and other necessary components. However, additional fees may be associated with obtaining permits or installation costs. Thankfully, financing, rebates, tax credits, net energy metering, and other solar incentives have made it more affordable to go solar and reduced upfront costs.
  • Utility electric — Utility electricity is set up and connected to a property when first built and includes items like electric meters, circuit breakers, wiring, and other electrical components. Once the electric system is installed, there are no additional installation costs, making it a cost-effective option upfront.

Operating and Maintenance Costs

  • Solar panels — A home solar system operates without any additional or ongoing fuel costs. However, the system may occasionally require simple maintenance, like hosing off any debris not washed away by the rain or inspecting connections. Still, the overall maintenance costs are low compared to utility electricity.
  • Utility electric — Utility electricity is connected to the local power grid, and the price of using the grid comes as a monthly electric bill. The usage rates are typically set by local governments or utility companies and vary based on electricity consumption.

Government Incentives and Tax Credits

  • Solar panels — Several local, state, and federal tax credits , rebates, and incentives are offered for those who currently use or switch to solar energy. These programs can include financial subsidies to offset the cost of solar installation or net metering programs that allow homeowners to send unused excess solar energy back to the grid in exchange for credits on their electricity bills.
  • Utility electric — For most utility agencies, there are no specific government incentives or tax credits related to electricity consumption. However, some cities may offer rebates or special discounts for certain environmentally friendly practices, energy-efficient appliances, or equipment.

How Solar Systems Help Homeowners Save

Replacing electricity from the grid with solar electricity you produce on your roof allows you to control your costs over the long term.

While regular electricity is the more used option, it’s not a completely foolproof solution. Several factors can affect the price, which is why users usually have widely fluctuating bills every month. Some of these factors include:

Watthour meter
  • Fuel costs— Producing and distributing electricity requires various fuel sources. Since fuel prices fluctuate frequently, especially during high-demand times, it can influence electricity costs because it will cost more to produce and distribute.
  • Weather conditions — Electricity generation can be impacted by changing weather conditions. Rain and snow create more water for hydropower generation, while days with good wind speed are ideal for electricity produced by wind turbines. These options can boost energy production, which could lower the overall cost of production. However, extreme temperature changes, like high heat or extreme cold, can lead to higher electricity use due to heating and cooling needs. This usage creates a high demand, which can also increase electricity costs.
  • Transmission and distribution systems — There are significant maintenance costs associated with the infrastructure that transmits and distributes electricity. These costs come from repairing or replacing systems that have been damaged by severe weather or accidents. The price of these maintenance tasks can impact electricity costs.
  • Local or state regulations — Each state has its own utility or public service commission that makes electricity pricing rules and regulations. These regulatory agencies manage and establish electricity generation, transmission, and distribution prices and can vary costs across a mix of pricing structures.

When choosing between solar vs. electricity, many people look at solar energy’s environmental advantages and cost-effectiveness of solar energy to help finalize their decision. There are several ways that solar panels can be more budget-friendly in the long run.

Using solar panels reduces the amount of electricity you need from the solar grid, meaning that it’s possible you could lower your electric bill as you generate and use more solar energy.

Many solar panels can last at least 25 years. Over time, the potential savings on your utility bill could far exceed the initial investment into the solar system.

Solar panels can increase the value of your home, which is beneficial if you are considering selling anytime soon. Homes with solar panels can sell faster and for more than homes without.