The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Did you know that the energy that the sun provides to the earth for one hour could supply the world’s energy needs for a year? Undoubtedly, the sun is a powerful source of energy and while we are unable to collect a fraction of that energy, harnessing that energy by installing solar panels can make a significant difference to the planet.

While widely criticized as expensive or inefficient, solar energy has now proven to be extremely beneficial not just for the environment but for the private sector as well.

With subsidies available for solar panels and increasingly competitive prices in the market, solar energy has become the main source of energy for more and more families. Technology has improved drastically in recent years and has been supplemented by solar battery storage systems, making solar energy a significantly more efficient source of clean energy.

However, there are always disadvantages regardless of which energy source you choose to analyze. EngineeringChoice has outlined the key advantages and disadvantages of solar energy in the following points:

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

 The Advantages Of Solar EnergyThe Disadvantages Of Solar Energy
100% inexhaustible energy, which is renewable and freeIntermittent energy
No toxic or polluting emissions into the airHigh initial cost
Reduces the use of fossil fuelsLocation of the home
Reduces Electricity BillsWeather Dependent
Subsidies for self-supplySolar Energy Storage is Expensive
Reduces the need to rely on the electricity grid or natural gasUses a Lot of Space
Environmentally FriendlyTime-consuming
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The Advantages of Solar Energy

  • Solar energy is 100% inexhaustible energy, which is renewable and causes no greenhouse gases to be emitted after installation.
  • No toxic or polluting emissions into the air;
  • Reduces the use of fossil fuels.
  • Increasingly competitive energy source;
  • Reduces the need to rely on the electricity grid or natural gas;
  • Subsidies for self-supply;
  • Solar Panels Are Low-Maintenance, they can last 25 years or longer. 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.
  • 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.
  • Creates jobs by employing solar panel manufacturers, solar installers, etc., and in turn helps the economy.
  • Excess electricity can be sold back to the power company if the grid is internally tied
  • Solar energy enables energy independence and the ability to live off the grid when all the electricity generated is sufficient for the home/building.
  • Can be installed practically anywhere; on a field to a building
  • Use batteries to store extra energy for the night
  • Solar energy can be used to heat water, power homes and buildings, and even power cars
  • Safer than traditional electric power
  • Efficiency is constantly improving, so the size of solar available today will be even more efficient tomorrow.
  • Aesthetics are improved, making the solar panel more versatile compared to older models; i.e., pressure, flexibility, solar shingles, etc.
  • Federal grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs are available to help with acquisition costs.
  • No digging is required as the solar can stand near or at the installation site.

The Disadvantages of Solar Energy

  • The high initial cost for material and installation and long ROI.
  • Weather dependent on cloudy days does not produce as much energy.
  • Solar energy storage is expensive, it has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries.
  • Needs lots of space as efficiency is not 100% yet.
  • Devices that run on DC power directly are more expensive.
  • Location of the home, depending on geographical location the size of the solar panels varies for the same power generation.
  • Solar panels are not being massed produced due to a lack of material and technology to lower the cost enough to be more affordable.
  • Solar-powered cars do not have the same speeds and power as typical gas-powered cars.
  • Lower solar production in the winter months.

The Bottom Line

There is a reason why solar energy has become a hot topic when it comes to renewable energy sources. Although popularly criticized as being inefficient and very expensive, the use of free solar energy still seems promising and solar energy has now proven to be very beneficial not only for the environment but also financially.

In addition, due to increased demand, the technology has been significantly improved to make solar cells more efficient and cheaper. Solar power will become an important energy source for residential homes in the future.