Solar energy is becoming one of the most popular alternative sources of energy in the world today, if not the most. Along with wind and tidal energy forms, this is renewable and considered infinite. For solar energy to work, there is the need to install solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels. That said, solar panel installations have interested businesses and homeowners to reduce their electrical bills and use it with their traditional energy source supplied by providers. Additionally, the offered tax credits for most users with solar panel installations provided by selective states and the government are appealing to consumers.
Since the first solar panel was created in 1954, solar panels are now normal sightings in houses and establishments nowadays. However, there are conflicting views from supporters and critics about solar panels that warrants careful consideration.
List of Pros of Solar Panels
1. No Gas Emissions
Supporters of the use of solar panels claim that these products or installations are safe for the environment and the people since they do not emit carbon emissions or burn fossil fuels to generate electricity. Thus, they do not result to green house gases emissions. By serving as conductors of radiation from the sun, they help in producing clean energy.
2. Slows Climate Change
Since solar panels and using them helps to avoid production and emission of green house gases, they help in slowing down climate change or at least contribute to mitigating the effects of the green house effect.
3. Energy Production Decentralization
Proponents of the use of solar panels say that one of the most important benefits of these products is its role in the decentralization of energy production. With the use of these PV panels, reduction of the demand for energy from other sources that are non-renewable is possible. Some energy reserves generated from fossil fuels like nuclear, coal and petroleum come from other countries and other parts of the country. These products need to be transported and can add to the air pollution as well as the expenses. With the use od solar panels, the demand can be reduced and the alternative energy source can be used.
4. Supplies Electricity to Remote Areas
Advocates for the use of solar energy say that people who live off the grid with no electricity can now use electronic devices and have lighting with the installation of solar panels. By investing in solar panels and placing them in roof tops, they can absorb sunlight, convert and store it. Electricity transformed by these solar panels can now be used by any household using solar energy wherever the house is located.
5. Usable in Varied Applications
People who are in favor of the use of solar panels claim that these devices or products can be used in both household and industrial applications and are diversified. Apart from providing electricity to light homes and charge mobile phones, they can now be used to heat water and even operate solar-powered cars. They can also be used to distill water in places like Africa, an application that ensures clean drinking water supply.
List of Cons of Solar Panels
1. Issues on Storage
Critics of the use of solar panels argue that although solar energy can provide electricity, maximizing the potential of its storage capacity is not yet proven. These panels need batteries that are expensive and can be large. Moreover, the batteries are only ideal for small scale solar panels and not those in solar farms.
2. Occupies Much Space
Another disadvantage of solar panels, according to opponents, is that for a solar panel to convert more sunlight into power, the solar panel should be bigger. Also, they are mostly installed on roof tops. Increased demands for electricity means increased numbers and sizes of solar panels to be installed. They can eat much of the space and the roof top where they will be installed might not be able to accommodate these panels.
3. Add to Pollution
Opposing groups of solar panels also say that the manufacture and installation of PV panels do not come without contributing to the already polluted environment. They say that solar panel manufacturers use toxic materials in the process and that the end does not justify the means, so to speak. Moreover, solar panels are transported to different places and even internationally on vehicles that emit carbon emissions on the road, making solar panels indirectly causing pollution.
4. Not Totally Reliable
Opponents of the use of solar energy and solar panels claim that despite the promise of an alternative energy source, they say that solar panels are unreliable sources of energy because they are weather-proof, in the sense that they will not work under some weather conditions like heavy rains, storms and cloudy days. Also, they cannot store energy at night since they rely on sunlight.
People who want to use solar panels to store and convert energy and use it to supply electricity need to invest money for the purchase of these panels. Added expenses are also to be expected when it comes to installation and maintenance. This is because solar panels need batteries or storage cells that need to be replaced. Homeowners who want to have solar panel installations in their homes need to pay money upfront for the equipment, accessories and wirings. Also, if the home is not suitable for installations like this, added expense is also to be expected for conversion of the structure or in some cases, addition of a structure. In some cases where industrial companies convert farm lands to plants and they install solar panels in some of the agricultural lands to supply electricity, this can be at the expense of farmers and other agriculturists.
The use of solar energy to supply electricity is becoming a popular trend and is still growing. For solar energy to work, solar panels are needed for the conversion of the radiation from the sun into electrical power. However, despite the significance of these panels and their potential benefits, there are also potential drawbacks. This makes it crucial to mitigate the cons of using solar panels and to instill awareness to potential users of solar energy to ensure advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.