Archive for the ‘Solar Pros and Cons’ Category

Solar Power Pros and Cons

Advantages of Solar Energy

The benefits of switching to solar power.

The environmental and financial advantages of using solar power for your home. Enjoy the benefits of solar energy while enjoying a cleaner planet.

In the long time of solar energy history the benefits of solar power have never been as bountiful as they are today. Now that the cost of solar energy is rapidly dropping as new technologies such as thin film photovoltaics are emerging, solar energy is becoming dominant in the energy industry.

There is no question that a major shift must occur in how we power our lives. Understanding the advantages of solar energy and making sure the industry addresses the disadvantages will ensure solar energy has its place at the top of the renewable energy sector.

Solar Energy Advantages

Saves you money

  • After the initial investment has been recovered, the energy from the sun is totally FREE.
  • The recovery/ payback period for this investment can be quite short depending on how much electricity your household uses.
  • Financial incentives are available form the government that will reduce your cost. (Visit www.dsireusa.org to find out about incentives available in your state!).
  • If your system produces more energy than you use, your utility company can buy it from you, building up a credit on your account! Earning you money by “net-metering”.
  • Solar energy does not require any fuel.
  • It’s not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is therefore not subjected to the ever-increasing price of fossil fuels.
  • The savings are immediate and for many years to come.
  • The use of solar energy indirectly reduces health costs.

Environmentally friendly

  • Solar Energy is clean, renewable and sustainable, helping to protect our environment.
  • It does not pollute the air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like all traditional forms of electrical generation do.
  • Solar Energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
  • Using solar energy contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
  • By not using any fuel, Solar Energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.


  • Solar Energy can continue to supply your home/ business with electricity even in the event of a power outage.
  • A Solar Energy system can operate entirely independently, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations making it more practical and cost-effective than the supply of utility electricity to a new site.
  • The use of Solar Energy reduces our dependence on conventional sources of energy, influenced by natural disasters or international events and so contributes to a sustainable future.
  • Solar Energy supports local job and business creation, fuelling local economies.

Low/ no maintenance

  • Solar Energy systems are basically maintenance free and will last for decades.
  • Once installed, there are no recurring costs.
  • Solar energy operates silently, has no moving parts, does not release offensive smells and does not require you to add any fuel.
  • More solar panels can easily be added in the future when your household needs grow.

Solar Energy Advantages Detailed

There are currently four methods of utilizing solar energy. They are Passive, Thermal, Photovoltaics and Thin Film.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Passive Solar Power

Passive solar power is energy that is collected by manipulating an environment to make the best use of the solar rays that fall onto the property.

  • Quick Payback

Capital spent on plantings, landscaping and thermal materials have a swift payback.

  • Environment Friendly

Negative impact on the environment is zero.

  • Attractive

Passive energy concepts can beautify a property at the same time as making it more energy efficient.

  • Increase Home Value

Attention to environmental details is a great selling feature on real-estate markets. Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.

  • Free Energy Source

Passive solar is free energy that will save you thousands of dollars over your home’s lifetime while keeping you and your family more comfortable.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Thermal Solar Power

  • Rapid Payback

A solar power water heater will pay for itself within 1 to 6 years then continue heating your water or pool free for 15 years after that.

  • Reduces Carbon Release

Your contribution of carbon dioxide to the environment will be reduced by 50 tons over the next 20 years.

  • Free Fuel

Once you have the system there is no cost for fuel.

  • No Environmental Impact

Eliminates the negative environmental impact of transporting, drilling for and burning fuel.

  • No Fuel Tax

Benefit speaks for itself!

  • Rapidly Renewable

The most abundant renewable fuel source in our solar system.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Photovoltaics and Thin Film Solar Power

  • Fuel Cost

The fuel to power solar devices is free and the source is unlimited.

  • No Fuel Taxes

The world governments have yet to figure out a way to tax sunshine. I’m sure they’re working on it though.

  • Home Equity

Although you can take a solar system with you when you move, one of the advantages of solar energy residential systems ~ of any size ~ is that they will increase the value of the home if you leave them in place.

  • Renewable Fuel Source

The most abundant source of energy available to us, the sun emits enough energy on the Earth in 40 minutes to power every outlet on the planet for 1 year.

  • Environmentally Friendly

The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise making them friendly to the owners of a solar power system and to the global community in general.

  • No Carbon Emissions

Solar eliminates the need to dig for, drill for, transport or burn fossil fuels.

  • Low Maintenance

Little to no maintenance is required to keep a solar powered system functional. Maintaining batteries is the biggest maintenance issue and only if yours is an off grid system.

  • Blackout Protection

An off grid residential solar power system is completely independent of the conventional power grid. Solar energy systems are not affected by grid power outages, blackouts or brownouts.

  • Odor Free

No stinky by-products are produced as a result of solar energy use.

  • No Moving Parts

Panels will quietly collect energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers also back them up with 20 to 25 year warranties. It was believed in the 60′s and 70′s that a solar power system would function for around 20 years. We’re now seeing that most systems established at that time are still functional. It is now believed that solar energy systems will last 40 or more years!

  • Remote locations

Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are places where we really see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power.

  • Independence

It’s quite liberating living without need of the grid or paying a power bill. Using nature’s power to live free and natural is one of the best feelings in the world!

  • Self Sufficiency

In this age of fear and tyranny all kinds of calamities threaten as fuel prices climb at the whim of evil business. Who isn’t wondering about the alternatives? Solar can free us from being dependent on volatile nations and greedy corporations for fuel.

There are Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

There’s more than one Disadvantage of Solar Energy and before jumping into a large investment you must know what you will be facing. Here’s the truth about the disadvantages of solar energy.

Passive and thermal forms of capturing solar energy really have no disadvantages or they are so small as to be negligible.

The disadvantages of solar energy are almost exclusively focused on silicon & thin film photovoltaic collectors, the types that convert solar rays into electricity.

Solar Energy Disadvantages

  • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
  • The location where you live will determine whether or not you can use solar power effectively or at all.
  • Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun, although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components.
  • The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
  • Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem. See www.dsireusa.org for details on how net metering allows you to save electricity and money.

Disadvantages in detail

  • Initial  Cost

The cost of solar energy is always the first subject to come up in a discussion of solar energy disadvantages. It is significant, although there are a lot of things that we can do to drastically reduce that initial cost.

The cost disadvantage is also being addressed by the solar industry and advances are being made toward increasing efficiency and reducing the expense of raw materials, both of which will make solar alternatives more affordable in the near future.

Additionally, rebate incentives, tax initiatives and subsidy programs can reduce the cost of establishing a residential solar system by more than half.

Solar energy prices are steadily declining. As new technologies emerge and manufacturing costs are lowered the cost of solar energy systems will continue to move downward, eliminating this major disadvantage of solar energy.

  • Location

Few places on earth exist where solar energy is not an option in at least some capacity. Areas around earth’s equator have the most favorable sun conditions and more constant daylight hours than extreme north or south locations.

Solar panels will still produce power on hazy days but at a reduced rate. In particularly rainy, clouded and foggy areas more panels may be required to operate your household at normal efficiency.

You may be unable to use solar power if adjacent structures, trees or landscape features restrict your property’s access to sun.

  • Area

Currently, solar panels are rather cumbersome. Powering a household with solar requires a large, open area that is relatively flat or angled in a positive direction where sunlight strikes it for about 5 hours a day (or more).

  • Roof Considerations

Roofing needs to be carefully considered before installing a solar array. Once a home solar system has been installed, repairs and replacement to an existing roof can become expensive and labor intensive. The system must be removed and then reinstalled if major work to the roof is required.

Ensure that your roof is in worthy repair before adding a solar powered system. Ideally your roof should be of sound structure and less than 7 years old before installing a solar system on it.

  • Nighttime

No solar energy can be collected during the nighttime and will require the power to be run from battery backup. Batteries are expensive and must be recycled once every 5 years, but the science of battery technology is a rapid developing science and the efficiency, storage and even recycling ability of new batteries is ever improving. A normal solar setup will store more than enough energy in these batteries to power your home each night.

In Closing

There is always the alternative…

nuclear waste

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