The Hidden Costs of Solar Power No One Talks About

When people ask about solar power, they usually just want to talk about how much the need for panels, amd how much does it cost to install. What happens after you get it up and going? No one talks about the hidden costs of solar after the installation.

This video is not a rant about how we were taken or lied to. It’s actually a request from a viewer way back when about what maintenance we have on our system. If you think we’re complaining or whining, you didn’t get the point.

We are a small homestead in south central Oregon living the best sustainable life as possible. We raise goats, rabbits, and heritage birds. Follow along as we divulge our secrets to surviving off-grid on solar power and growing our own food.

Keep up with us between uploads on Instagram: @spragueriverhomestead


  1. The best thing to clean is deionized water. Since its 0ppm that will remove all minerals that will attract dust on the glass

  2. I have solar panels on my roof I wash them off I don't have any problems, I have open cell batteries so I can put distilled water in them

  3. Thanks for the video. You did a great job going over the system. The only thing I think you missed was the controller cost that goes bad. I had friend that has lost 2 controllers in 8 years. They cost a pretty penny.

    The cost of the fuel filter for your diesel generator should be added in.

    You are right when you said no one talks about up keep. I asked that question many times and either got told there was no upkeep or if you want to hose your panels once in awhile thats all that's needed. I had to laugh at the sales people.

  4. Many years ago a man from my country came to the USA. He was an inventor. He said that electric power should be free for everyone. His name is Nikola Tesla.
    I think that water and electric power should be free too. Everyone can drill a well and get solar panels.
    In the States, even if you are not using electricity at all, Dominion Power is sending you a bill and charging you. They do not care if you were not in your house. But if you cut off their cables, they are coming and suing you for that. Not ethical at all.

  5. The cost of a yard farm was so high that it would take years to recover the investment. No thanks.

    Great video though, props!

  6. The talk is very general on weather effect. I tropical climate areas where no winter is experienced, there is no interruption on a day power generation. The speaker should have made a difference. Maintenance costs of solar is there, but relatively very low compared to the diesel generator.

  7. Labour cost? We all have a per-hour labour value. Each hour for repetitive tasks to save pennies on renewables, steals us away from $ productive higher value labour.
    It all adds up.

  8. I tried explaining to my "green" brother-in-law that solar and wind power are not "free" but it fell on deaf ears.

  9. Basically the only time solar is beneficial is if you are in a location with absolutely no source to grid power. At the initial cost + upkeep + failure replacement cost in a 10 year period, batteries, charge controllers, broken or degraded panels and not to mention the modification of lifestyle when using solar. You would need grid power monthly bills well over $250 to make it feasible. I hate paying a monthly electricity bill BUT I like being able to flip a switch 24/7 and run anything in my 3000 sq ft house + my climent controlled 2500 sq ft shop full of woodworking and metal fabrication machines for about $225 a month. I've looked at solar every which way I can trying to justify it and I just can't.

  10. Just think of this, you have no need for going to Barber shop for haircuts. You have plenty of time to adjust panels. Lol

  11. Absolute nonsense. Claiming the problem with the panels is the diesel generator or the batteries seems quite irrational as the problem is not the panels. If you are on the grid there is no problem. Ours installed 8 years ago. Never been cleaned, never need to adjust the angle, snow just slides off and on a sunny summer day can make 30kWh.

  12. Thank you for sharing, it would be nice to know the cost of removing the panels once the 30 years or so is over. That is my main concern. Once again thanks for sharing.

  13. OK..30 minutes is a long time to have to spend tilting solar panels? Set it up so it takes ten….easy to do. Set you panels to a steeper angle in winter (they don't have to be perfectly perpendicular to the sun) and the snow will mostly slide off – with minimal help – and when you instal, make sure you don't have a snow restricting lip on the bottom edge.
    A generator back-up is not a "cost" of having solar, the panels are a cost saving to using generator – few things work in isolation. Perhaps we have heard this saying before "everything is connected"?
    Distill your own water while you are running the generator (waste heat use).
    Batteries are not an extra to solar…they are part of the system.
    But you didn't talk about the "expenses" of solar compared to the expenses of running a generator full time. And usually when you go renewables, you need to think about solar, wind, geothermal, water etc as well. They need to be integrated. Also you don't need a big system if you reduce your use appropriately by designing your buildings and use (appliances, water use, lighting, refrigerators etc.) to be as efficient as possible.
    All that being said, I have heard lots of discussion about these issues in many places over the thirty or 40 years a I have been interested…so they aren't really 'hidden'.

  14. The more basic the system the less the maintenance. I had forced air solar for 30 years. Only maintenance required was oil in fan bearings. Costs very low. Finally had to take system out because panels started leaking and because of solar losing popularity no company's left to to maintenance. Great system it just wore out. Since removal utility cost are up about 40 per cent. System was installed during the 70s when tax credits were large so overall cost for over 30 years were very low

  15. If on a roof, a huge cost is that your roofing and your panels will likely not need replacing at the same time and you wont replace one and not the other. So one is going to be replaced before you get your full value out of it. Your 25yr shingles might get replaced at 20 because you need new panels. Or your roof is shot but the panels still have 25% life left in them. Solar on a roof won't save you a dime.

  16. I'll take the hidden costs of washing and vacuuming a new car into consideration next purchase. Thanks for the heads up.

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