Sunday, April 14, 2024

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8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Solar energy is booming, and it is going to account for 39% of all new energy generation in the United States in 2021. Thus, solar will be the most expanded energy source in the US, with wind energy coming in second.

However, solar technology is not perfect.

It has multiple advantages and disadvantages when compared to other energy sources. Let’s take a look at those and discover why the solar industry is shining so brightly.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy comes from the conversion of sunlight into electricity by using photovoltaics. It is currently the most abundant energy resource on Earth and even in space.

The energy collected can used to directly power homes, store in batteries, or send it into the energy grid.

The Advantages of Solar Energy

1. Solar Can Be Used Everywhere

Unlike other sources of renewable energy, there are no restrictions on where you can use solar panels. Thus, no matter where you are on the Earth, you can take advantage of solar energy to power your region.

And as the technology advances, we will even be able to send solar energy from space to Earth.

2. They Pay For Themselves

Pay for Themselves

Over the years, the price of solar energy has reduced by 99.6% per watt, and it’s still getting cheaper. Over a solar panel’s lifetime, the energy it collects and saves on your energy bill will be enough to not only pay for the initial costs but also net you a profit.

Of course, this depends on many factors such as weather conditions in your area.

3. Easy to Deploy During Natural Disasters

When natural disasters strike, providing relief and restoring power to communities is the top priority. Other sources of energy can take quite a bit of time to set up, however, solar energy can be set up quickly.

For instance, solar panels were set up in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed the electric grid in a relatively short amount of time.

4. They Don’t Require A Lot of Maintenance

While the initial setup can seem like a lot of work, you’ll be pleased to know that your solar panel will barely ever need any maintenance. In fact, most solar companies include a 20-year warranty, so even if something does go wrong, you’re covered.

The only thing you may need to worry about is regular cleaning if local birds decide to fly over them.

The Disadvantages of Solar Energy

1. The Initial Cost

While the prices shrink every year, it can still be costly to set up solar panels on your home or business. While the solar panels will pay for themselves over time, not everyone has the capital required to get started.

However, that isn’t stopping the solar industry from expanding.

2. They Don’t Work At Night

The only resource you need for solar energy is sunlight, and that poses a problem for solar panels at night. There is no sunlight at night. Thus, solar panels do not collect energy.

That said, most solar panels can collect enough energy and store it in batteries for usage during the evening.

3. Reliability Concerns

While solar panels can be used anywhere, it doesn’t mean they get the same results everywhere. An overcast day or rainstorm can prevent solar panels from getting the sunlight they need.

Even the shade cast on the panels from trees could affect their output.

However, solar companies place them in the most optimal location to increase their reliability. You just need to make sure they remain out in the open.

4. Some Homes Are Not Big Enough to Support Solar

Solar panels are big and to produce enough power, you need more panels. However, many houses are not large enough to support solar panels on their roofs. Or at the very least, enough to produce electricity.

Another work around is to put panels on the ground, but sometimes yard space is also an issue.

The Technology Will Only Get Better

Solar technology is improving every year. The costs are shrinking and the sunlight is continuing to shine. Not only are solar panels becoming more efficient, but the battery storage devices connected to them are, too.

This helps homes continue to use solar power through the night, during storms, and a variety of other situations that may occur.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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