Solar energy is one of the most beneficial sustainable forms of energy that human beings can use for a variety of purposes. It is a thoroughly renewable form of energy and can be used by the entire human race till the end of time. There are several different uses of solar energy in our day to day life, such as cooking food in solar cookers, using solar energy for generating electricity as well as heating waters in large reservoirs for saving electricity and resources. It is a very simple technology which can cut short on the cost of energy consumption and make the earth a better place for us to live in.
Pros and cons of solar energy:
Advantages of solar energy
- Solar energy is available for absolutely free of cost. Even though there are equipment and devices required for the generation of solar energy from the rays of sun, the cost is very low as compared to what we spend on fulfilling our energy needs.
- One of the advantages of solar energy is that it can be used in the rural and remote areas as well. In these places, it is usually very expensive to deploy the electricity power grids and solar energy can be generated in ample amount here.
- Solar energy can be extensively used for the purpose of charging devices which consume very little amount of energy, such as calculators and solar cell batteries.
- This is probably the greatest benefit of using solar energy that it does not cause any kind of pollution. Even though the equipment, collectors and devices used are manufactured in big factories, there is no pollution generated during the process of generating solar energy from the heat coming from the rays of sun.
- Solar energy is an infinite source of energy and we will never run out of it till the end of the world. On the other hand, other resources and oil reserves will last for as long as 40-50 years from now.
- Solar energy is a renewable source of energy which can never get out of stock.
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Disadvantages of solar energy
- Solar energy can only be harnessed for various activities during the daytime when there is ample sunlight available.
- The cost of deploying panels, collectors as well as solar cells for the generation of solar energy is very high and the manufacturing cost of the collectors and devices is also quite high.
- Even though solar power stations are easy to build but the amount of energy harnessed here is very less in output as compared to the conventional power stations of the same capacity.
- There are large acres of land required for the deployment of solar energy plants and for capturing the energy coming from sun. Large collectors are arranged together with each other so as to gather huge amount of energy.
- In places when there is no ample amount of solar energy available, it is very difficult to produce electricity from sun’s energy.
As we can see, solar energy is really the future for us. Although it has few cons, but these can be overcome easily with the advancement in technology. Our governments need to invest more in solar energy so that new technologies like smaller panels and collectors which won’t require much space could be invented.
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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy?
Solar energy is derived from the sun’s radiation. The sun is a powerful energy source, and this energy source can be harnessed by installing solar panels. Did you know that the energy that it provides to the Earth for one hour, could meet the global energy needs for one year? We are able to harness only 0.001 percent of that energy.
There is a reason why solar energy has become a trending topic when talking about renewables. While it has been widely criticised for being expensive or not very efficient, solar energy has now proved to be extremely beneficial - not only for the environment but also financially speaking. Additionally, due to the higher demand, the technology has been improved considerably, turning into a significantly efficient source of clean energy.
If you already in the solar energy mood and are ready to make your investment, we are here to help. We provide you with a free of charge and no obligation service that allows you to request quotes and compare different systems so that you can find the most suitable for you. Simply fill in the form to request offers.
GreenMatch has depicted the key advantages and disadvantages of solar power in the following table:
Advantages of Solar Energy
1. Renewable Energy Source
Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy. Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years when according to scientists the sun is going to die.
2. Reduces Electricity Bills
Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will drop. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity or heat usage. Moreover, not only will you be saving on the electricity bill, but if you generate more electricity than you use, the surplus will be exported back to the grid and you will receive bonus payments for that amount (considering that your solar panel system is connected to the grid). Savings can further grow if you sell excess electricity at high rates during the day and then buy electricity from the grid during the evening when the rates are lower.
3. Diverse Applications
Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distill water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space. Solar energy can also be integrated into the materials used for buildings. Not long ago Sharp introduced transparent solar energy windows.
4. Low Maintenance Costs
Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. If in doubt, you can always rely on specialised cleaning companies, which offer this service from around £25-£35. Most reliable solar panel manufacturers give 20-25 years warranty. Also, as there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity (solar PV) and heat (solar thermal). Apart from the inverter, the cables also need maintenance to ensure your solar power system runs at maximum efficiency. So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.
5. Technology Development
Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.
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Solar Energy Disadvantages
The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is fairly high. Although the UK government has introduced some schemes for encouraging the adoption of renewable energy sources, for example, the Feed-in Tariff, you still have to cover the upfront costs. This includes paying for solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring and for the installation. Nevertheless, solar technologies are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will go down in the future
2. Weather Dependent
Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. Solar panels are dependent on sunlight to effectively gather solar energy. Therefore, a few cloudy, rainy days can have a noticeable effect on the energy system. You should also take into account that solar energy cannot be collected during the night. On the other hand, if you also require your water heating solution to work at night or during wintertime, thermodynamic panels are an alternative to consider.
3. Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive
Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive. In most cases, it is smarter to just use solar energy during the day and take energy from the grid during the night (you can only do this if your system is connected to the grid). Luckily our energy demand is usually higher during the day so we can meet most of it with solar energy.
4. Uses a Lot of Space
The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need because you want to collect as much sunlight as possible. Solar panels require a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have. An alternative is to install some of the panels in your yard but they need to have access to sunlight. Anyways, if you don’t have the space for all the panels that you wanted, you can just get a fewer and they will still be satisfying some of your energy needs.
5. Associated with Pollution
Although pollution related to solar energy systems is far less compared to other sources of energy, solar energy can be associated with pollution. Transportation and installation of solar systems have been associated with the emission of greenhouse gases. There are also some toxic materials and hazardous products used during the manufacturing process of solar photovoltaics, which can indirectly affect the environment. Nevertheless, solar energy pollutes far less than the other alternative energy sources.
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