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Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Energy

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Some systems require more auxiliary components than others, and these components need replacement during the life of the system.

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