Sustainability is the driving force behind the green market, therefore knowing what solar energy advantages and disadvantages are is quite important. The need to adopt greener energy solutions is rapidly rising, and with the cost of electricity rising three to five percent each year, switching to a more sustainable energy generating source is economically beneficial too.
When in a conversation concerning energy sources, the chances are that the Sun would be trending as the primary energy source on Earth. For this reason, we decided to compile an article to explain exactly what solar energy is, what its advantages and disadvantages are and why you should consider solar energy for your home.
Solar Energy Explained
Simply put, solar energy refers to light and heat generated from the Sun. This energy can be harvested through several technologies:
- Photovoltaic cells comprise an electric component in the cell that converts sunlight to electricity when exposed to photons.
- Solar thermal technology systems collect and concentrate heat from the Sun to make water and steam for electricity-generating.
- Molten salt towers use the Sun’s rays through reflecting mirrors to heat salt for boiling water to create high-pressure steam, which turns turbines that generate electricity.
There are many practical advantages to solar energy, and it can be utilized in the following ways:
- Solar electricity for residential, commercial, and industrial use
- Solar water heating
- Solar heating for residential, commercial, and industrial spaces
- Solar ventilation and cooling
- Solar lighting
- Solar transportation
Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages
Before concluding an energy source’s environmental and economic impacts, it’s highly recommended to compare the source’s pros and cons. Below is a discussion of the pros and cons of solar power.
SOLAR POWER ADVANTAGES
SOLAR POWER DISADVANTAGES
|Sustainable and Renewable||Negative Environmental Impact|
|Long-term Savings||Initial Cost is High|
|Diverse Application||Expensive Storage Costs and Space Consuming|
Solar Power Advantages Explained
Sustainable and Renewable: Not only is the Sun a sustainable energy resource, but it’s also renewable. These factors form part of its primary benefit. Energy harvested from the Sun can constantly be replenished as we use it up. Scientists also estimate that the Sun will still exist about 5 billion years from now, making it sustainable and reliable.
Long-term Savings: After the initial set-up costs, maintaining a solar power system isn’t expensive. Reliable solar panel manufacturers offer warranties of 20 years or more, and since there are no moving parts on a solar power system, no wear and tear are present. Batteries and inverters also have warranties and are expected to last for years before they need replacing. Households can save a lot of money on their monthly electricity bill if they switch to solar power or decide to go entirely off the grid.
Widely Available: Amongst the advantages of using solar energy is the fact that it’s widely available. Not only the Sun but the systems as well. With solar power becoming a global trend, many countries are starting to implement it, and manufacturers also offer residential use systems. Besides the systems, the Sun shines daily through the majority of the world, and even on cloudier days, minimum amounts of solar energy can still be harvested.
Diverse Application: Energy harvested from the Sun can be broadly used. As technology evolves, uses for this power source are being added. Residential, commercial, and industrial use is possible in various ways, including heating, lighting, and transportation.
Solar Power Disadvantages Explained
Negative Environmental Impact: Contrary to the fact that solar power is eco-friendly, it’s important to know its impact on the environment. The main concerns concerning its effect on the environment include the energy demand required during the manufacturing of solar power systems and plants, the chemicals involved in producing solar-grade panels, and the recycling process of solar panels that are replaced.
Initial Cost is High: Setting up a solar energy plant or purchasing solar energy for home is expensive. Costs relating to panels, inverters, batteries, wiring, and installation should all be accounted for.
Intermitted: Solar power is intermittent since the Sun doesn’t shine equally in all parts of the world. Solar energy harvesting is also limited to day-time hours and the availability of sunshine. Without electricity storage, it’s impossible to use this resource consistently.
Expensive Storage Costs and Space Consuming: Solar power panels take up a lot of space. The more energy you need to produce, the more panels are required. Solar panels can be installed on rooftops or any open space with direct sunlight exposure. When energy harvested needs to be stored, batteries are used, and these are priced relatively high.
The Verdict – Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages
Although individuals will draw their own conclusions when comparing solar energy to other sources, it’s fair to say that solar power is an excellent source to utilize. Despite the cons of solar power, evolving technology is working hard to find more sustainable and less expensive ways to access solar power.
Now that you’ve gained enough information to understand solar energy advantages and disadvantages, you can draw your own conclusion and decide whether it’s a source you would choose to utilize to contribute to a greener environment.