The popularity of solar energy as an alternative source, electricity is continuously growing. With the Sun supplying solar radiation for millions or billions of years now, humanity has indeed benefited much from its generosity. Today, this energy source is not only used to light homes, communities and industries. It is also used for space satellites and distilled water processing. Despite its benefits, there are also drawbacks observed by those who are against its use. Let us take a look at the views of supporters and critics of this alternative energy source.
List of Pros of Solar Energy
1. Supply Abundance
One of the major advantages of using solar energy as an energy source is its being abundant in supply. Since this energy comes from the Sun which has been supplying the Earth with 120,000 terawatts of solar radiation for millions of years and is no way of stopping from doing so, we can expect to have a limitless supply for the next generations to come. Moreover, sunlight gives away over 20,000 times what the world needs in energy supply which ensures that the inhabitants of the planet Earth have plenty of solar power to last them for a long time.
2. Renewable Source
Advocates for solar energy as a power source posit that sunlight can be replaced easily. That is, the Sun shines everyday and even if it emits energy in a day, it will still do so in the coming days and will not be used up. This is, perhaps, the best thing about solar energy and other renewable resources as opposed to non-renewable energy resources, such as, fossils, nuclear and coal. So long as the Sun is there, which, according to NASA, will be for another 6.5 billion years, running out of supply is out of the question.
3. Safe for the Environment
Proponents of the use of solar energy claim that this energy source does not really harm the environment compared to the production of other sources like coal and fossils that need to be burned in order to convert them for applications.
Today, consumers who use solar energy can store energy supply and use it with the normal energy supply they use at home. Consequently, they cut down on energy consumption and reduce their energy bills. Moreover, they can store and sell the electricity supply they have or get credits for their bills, if they live in an area where this is available. Additionally, homeowners now have the option to lease the solar panels they need so they don’t have to buy materials and equipment.
5. Globally Available
Although not all countries are proximal to the equator, the Sun shines on most parts of the Earth and is available to all countries. With the proper equipment and knowledge, this can easily be used in generally all continents.
6. Is Sustainable
Solar energy, according to experts, is sustainable, in the sense that it does not depend on other sources to emit solar radiation. This makes it able to sustain itself, a quality that is possible because solar energy is renewable and is abundant in supply.
7. No Noise Pollution
Proponents of solar energy say that this electrical power source does not make any noise while processing and converting energy into electricity. That said, it can operate without sound unlike the wind turbines.
List of Cons of Solar Energy
1. Not Totally Harmless
Critics of solar energy usage as an energy source argue that it is not true that this renewable resource does not emit harmful gases in the air. Even if sunlight is safe, installation, transmission and replacement can still lead to gas emissions. Moreover, they are concerned of the radiation people who work in this industry can be exposed to.
Some opponents say that although this can reduce electrical costs in the long run, homeowners who want to convert to this energy source have to invest a substantial amount of money for installation. Perhaps, other people can afford to spend but not all have the money to spare.
People who are not fans of solar energy say that with the ongoing climate change where weather can be unpredictable, there is no certainty that people can totally rely on solar power. And with typhoons devastating many parts of the world today, solar power can be unreliable since it does not work when it is raining and the sun is not shining. This is aside from the fact that it is not available at night and when clouds cover the Sun since solar energy is harnessed with direct sunlight.
4. Needs Space
If the demand for solar energy is high like for industrial applications, there needs to be ample space for the installation of the solar panels which can take up much space in the rooftops. If the area of the rooftop where it will be installed is not large enough, there will be a problem. Also, not all homes can be fitted with solar panels which can also be an issue.
According to some experts, solar energy is not effective in places where pollution levels are high. This is because air pollution can interfere with solar cells and this can be a concern if the area is already contaminated with pollutants. Moreover, the Sun does not shine 24 hours a day which require that, during the day, enough solar energy should be stored for night use. If it has been raining the whole day and there is not much reserve, it might not be able to deliver the energy supply needed.
6. Storage Costs
In using solar energy, there is a need for solar batteries or cells that need to be stored and replaced in time. Apart from its weight and size, solar battery replacements can be expensive.
Solar energy is a useful and ideal alternative energy source. However, just like any source of energy, there are advantages and disadvantages. What is important is for its pros to outweigh its cons. Also, it works perfect as an alternate source of energy and should be used together with another energy source.
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.