Disadvantages of Solar Energy / Is Solar Energy the Perfect Energy Solution for the Future?
Mankind’s use of solar energy to generate electricity is arguably one of the greatest achievements of our civilization and will probably be ready for a much bigger role to play in man’s future.
Advances in our technology that make it possible to harness sunshine to generate heat and electricity for a wide array of uses is mind boggling.
-The cloudy scene to the left is representative of a day that solar energy would not be effective.-
All over the Earth except for Antarctica and the Arctic there is usable sunshine for almost the entire year.
Sunlight is a universal source of energy that is free and available to everyone. Solar Energy is also renewable and non-polluting. So why isn’t everybody using solar energy right now?
Disadvantages of Solar Energy / Getting a Handle On Our Dependencies
All our lives are so dependent on electricity at the present state of our technology. If we need to feel warmer we buy a heater. If we need to feel cooler we buy electric fans or air conditioners. We don’t think twice we just plug in our appliances and they work flawlessly most of the time. How different would things be if we had to rely on solar energy?
When all variables are factored into the equation there is no perfect solution for an energy source. Issues and consequences regarding reliability, cost of production, initial capital outlay, payback times, and pollution all have to be taken into consideration.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy / Is Solar Power Inexhaustible?
Theoretically, solar energy is an energy source with the most potential. The source of the power is virtually inexhaustible (the sun). Solar energy produces no pollution, no carbon footprint, no odorous emissions, and no annoying noise. There are however several things which is stopping solar energy from being used more extensively.
What are the Disadvantages of Solar Energy?
What follows is a list that is not in any particular order of importance.
High initial capital outlay. The initial cost of installing a solar energy system can be prohibitively high for some budgets. The cost of buying and installing solar panel arrays is a bit steep. Payback times may reach from ten to fifteen years before you can even break even with your initial investment.
Dubious reliability. It is obviously impossible to power your home with a solar array at night if you don’t have a system in which to store power. This means batteries at our present level of technology. So you will probably still need to draw electricity from the local utility grid.
Availability of sunlight. The position of your solar array is obviously of major importance in the generation of electricity. This means that some houses will not be ideally suited for conversion or for installing a solar energy system.
Polluting materials used in solar panels. The majority of photovoltaic panels are made from silicon and other metals that are potentially toxic like mercury, lead, and cadmium. This is the dirty secret of this “clean” technology.
The efficiency question. The current efficiency rate of most solar panels is just a mere forty percent. This means that sixty percent of the sun’s energy is wasted. There are some state of the art solar panels that can reach a maximum efficiency of eighty percent. There are continuing technological advances that increase efficiency and lower costs.
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