Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Energy

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Despite the many advantages of using solar power in your home, it’s important to also answer the question: what are the disadvantages of solar energy?

Advantages of Solar Power

Environmental Benefits

  • Solar radiation is a plentiful, renewable resource and is the most efficient of all renewable energies.

  • Solar panels do not emit any pollutants during use.

Financial Benefits

  • Despite high initial costs, government rebates and the long life of solar panels make solar energy cheaper than drawing power from the grid in the long run.

  • Solar panels require little maintenance and are becoming less expensive as the technology progresses.

  • A solar electric unit increases the value of your home.

  • Solar energy is an economical alternative in areas where it is costly to run conventional power lines.

Energy Independence

  • Stand-alone solar energy systems have batteries to provide power when the electricity grid cannot.

  • Solar energy also reduces the country’s dependence on oil and other non-renewable, environmentally damaging fossil fuels.

 

Disadvantages of Solar Power

Technical

  • The main disadvantage of solar energy is that while some panels are very good at absorbing solar radiation even on cloudy days, generating a useful amount of solar power requires a minimum level of solar exposure. Ensure to optimize your system to make the most of the available sunlight.
  • Solar panels only absorb solar radiation during the day, so on a cloudy or rainy day, the system may generate below-usual levels of energy. Thus most systems require a storage tank or battery and a backup power source.

Aesthetic

  • solar-panel-installation

    Photo Credit: Go Solar California

    Depending on the efficiency of your selected solar panel and number of householders, a solar PV or water heating system may require a large amount of roof space or structures to optimally orient the panels.

  • Some homeowners may not like the appearance of solar panels or hot water panels on their roof. New technologies, such as solar shingles and building-integrated photovoltaics, provide aesthetically pleasing options.

Economic

  • The up-front cost of a solar electric or water heating system is higher than other types of energy generation systems. However, incentives and financing options can significantly lower the cost of a solar thermal or PV system and shorten the payback period.
  • Some systems require more auxiliary components than others, and these components need replacement during the life of the system.

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