The Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy

Price, environmental impact, aesthetics, efficiency...

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pros and cons of solar energy


Solar energy is a great source of clean energy and it is an energy source that is readily available. Solar energy is good for the environment and a great way to reduce green house gas emissions. However, there are also some drawbacks to the use of solar energy.

This article looks at both the pros and cons of solar energy to give you a fair view of solar power as an option for your home.


Pros of solar energy home use

Affordability

The cost of the raw materials used in thin film photovoltaic production is decreasing as availability of materials increases. Competition is growing with new production and manufacturing capacity in china creating a glut and consequently price decreases. Coupled with increased subsidies in many countries solar is now more affordable than ever before.

To learn more about safety when working with electricity for solar energy projects, click here.

Energy Cost Containment

If you live in a sunny area then solar can be the perfect answer to decreasing ever rising energy costs. If you invest in a grid-tied system you can sell back unused electricity to your electric service provider and instead of receiving a bill every month you can begin to receive a check instead! At the very least you can significantly decrease your overall electricity costs and get a payback on your investment within 5-7 years.

Comfort

Even the use of passive solar heating and cooling principles will result in a more comfortable living environment by reducing trapped heat and providing a cooler home in the summer and a warmer environment during the winter months.

No Pollution

If you are concerned about global warming and climate change solar energy and passive solar design represent a socially responsible choice in heating and cooling. Solar panels cause no air pollutants or green house gas emissions. Solar panel arrays operate without any noise so they are also an enlightened choice to reduce noise pollution.

Remote Locations

If your home is in a remote location or you are considering building in a remote location solar power can provide all of your power needs if you are not located near an electric grid. With government subsidies and decreasing prices the ability to provide a whole house heating/cooling and electric solar array is comparable to paying for a line extension from the nearest utility to a remote location.

Reduces Dependence on Fossil Fuels

As the number of residences using solar power increases the dependence on fossil fuels will continue to decrease. This benefits all consumers over the long term as well as the environment, since fossil fuels are the main reason for the climate change that appears to be on its way.

Aesthetics

The installation of solar panel arrays on a rooftop can be very ugly but with the introduction of solar roofing tiles in a variety of colors solar arrays can now be blended in with the existing roof making it aesthetically pleasing.

Cons of solar energy home use

Like the two sides of a coin, the things that make solar power a pro in favor of home use also can be a con for home use.

Initial Cost

Even though the cost of solar photovoltaic power is significantly decreasing and government subsidies are increasing in many countries the initial cost of installing solar power to a home can be a major drawback. With tightening restrictions on credit and lending it may be difficult for some to obtain the money they need to purchase and install a solar array large enough to take care of the electrical and heating needs of their home. Even though utility costs will be eliminated or significantly reduced it doesn't eliminate the problem of the upfront costs of installing solar power.

Pollution

We have said that solar panels don't pollute. That is a pro. However, solar panels are very sensitive and prone to damage from other air pollutants. Gases and dust can degrade solar panels quickly. Solar panels require special protection and maintenance from environmental pollutants.

Aesthetics

In order to trap solar energy panels must be properly positioned in relation to the sun. The roof and lawn are ideal locations for a solar panel array. A lawn array will detract from the look of your home. Solar arrays on the roof can also detract from the look and value of your home but you have a choice in terms of the appearance of your solar installation with the introduction of solar roofing tiles that integrate into your existing roofing tile scheme. So this con can be turned into a pro.

Efficiency and output

Solar panels have limited efficiency although efficiency ratings are improving. Weather can affect the efficiency and output of your solar panel array limiting or decreasing the overall output.

Nighttime

Solar panels only produce energy during daylight hours. You cannot depend on solar panels to provide energy or electricity during non sun periods unless you store energy in a battery.

Now you now the most important pros and cons of solar energy. Overall, almost all of the con's can now be addressed and managed except for the initial upfront cost and degradation due to air pollutants. Solar roofing tiles have taken care of the aesthetics issue and batteries allow for the storage of solar energy collected during the day to be used at night and on days with minimal sun. Concentrated solar techniques and promising new technologies with solar nanopillars are making great strides in the arena of solar cell efficiencies which will in turn help to bring down the cost of solar power in the future.

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