What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

Here’s the lie you’ve been told about solar energy.

Solar energy as we know it is produced from the sun, and is absorbed by many living systems such as plants, and certain bacterial species. The question came to scientists to find a way to harness this energy to fulfill our own human needs.

As solar energy stands as the most free, abundant, cleanest energy source provided to our planet, there are some negatives that tag along with it. Although these negatives are not a result of solar energy in itself, a lot of it comes from our lack of R&D, and willingness by others to see it’s future potential.

Here are the advantages & disadvantages of solar energy:

Advantages:

1- Solar energy can be used to reduce electricity & gas costs for both home and business owners. This provides as a financial solution for many property owners, as well as a ‘low-risk, high-reward’ investment.

2- With the sudden growth in the renewable energy sector, more jobs have been created as a result of more businesses being built (manufacturers, solar installers, engineers, and R&D research). These jobs are a lot more safer and provide less risks for the employees compared to many other energy production industries.

3- Solar energy helps to reduce our planet’s environment by reducing our carbon footprint, and many other harmful chemical. An example of harmful chemicals is Uranium which is a radioactive element used in a nuclear power plants.

4- Excess energy can be used to generate revenue for property owners under the government program known as FIT (Feed In-Tariff), or can be stored as credit and distributed towards the months that do not receive a lot of sunlight.

5- Most solar companies will provide property owners with solar panels that can last as long as 40–50 years, and are fully protected under warranty as well as insured.
6- What makes solar such a lucrative industry is how much more potential has for innovation and R&D compared to many other renewable methods. Most energy producing methods such as wind energy does not have much more space left for innovation.
7- Solar can be used to fuel cars which removes our need for oil. Although this hurts a lot of political lobbyists, and will compete with oil companies, solar will become the future which will force them to adapt.
Disadvantages:

1- The current cost of solar panels may be a disadvantage, but along with government subsidies and tax credits, there are many financing solutions to make solar an affordable investment. An example of this is the “no-cost” solar program whereby your monthly electricity bill is equivalent to the monthly cost to pay of the solar system. Since the solar system is also reducing your electricity costs you are never really paying too much more per month compared to what you would have originally paid for your electricity.
2- Solar is capped at 15–27% as of 2018, but new research is starting to present solar panels that are 50–70% more efficient. The problem is the more efficient the solar system, the more cost associated with mass producing them.
3- There’s this negative stigma with a lot of people whenever the topic for solar is brought up. Because solar is poorly promoted, most do not understand the real advantages of investing in solar energy. But within time and the right amount of funding this will start to change.
4- Home owners find that traditional solar panels are aesthetically unappealing and that they lower the value of their home. Although most seem to be waiting for the solar shingles, we need to be able to see the difference between the aesthetics and the efficiency.
5- Recycling dead solar panels has been seen as an issue in the past because of unwanted sludge and contaminated waters. As solar advances this will begin to change as we are moving towards organic material.
6- A battery backup system can be seen as both an advantage and disadvantage, because of the fact that battery systems are made through fossil fuels which contradicts our whole objective for investing in solar technology. Battery systems are also seen to double the original cost of the solar system which makes it that much more expensive. The problem that occurs is how dependent we are on battery systems during the night and during times where the weather or climate does not allow us to absorb enough solar energy.
7- As with anything it will take time for solar energy to become mainstream and more widely accepted as a true alternative to energy production. With the right amount of funding and promotion we can help quicken the process to not only advance our technology but help people invest in solar energy.
As solar becomes more widely accepted, we must first prove to the rest of the world the benefits of solar by focusing on those who truly see it’s value.

Writer by Sachin Kaushal

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