The Pros and Cons of Using Solar Energy
Amidst all the discussions about using renewable sources of energy such as wind or solar power to save the environment, there is also a school of thought that highlights the drawbacks of using solar energy.
Although the overall consumption of solar energy for electricity is 2.8% currently, the international organizations and even the Conference of the Paris 24 or COP 24 are continually pushing towards increasing it. The current target is to increase this consumption to 32% worldwide by the year 2030.
It cannot be denied that the sun offers one of the most abundant sources of energy. Estimates show that our earth receives around 120,000 Terawatts of solar irradiation, which is 20,000 times more power than what our world actually needs.
If we manage to use this energy efficiently, we might not have to worry about the depleting oil, coal, and natural gas reserves to satisfy our energy needs. There are many ways in which solar energy is captured and used as a renewable source to make energy usage cleaner and transition to a low-carbon economy.
However, some people have concerns regarding the usage of solar power. This article talks about all the solar energy pros and cons.
Advantages of using solar energy
Let’s begin by talking about some advantages of using solar power as an energy source!
Clean energy source
Using solar energy gives you a clean source that does not contaminate the environment. It is a renewable energy source and can be harnessed directly from the sun daily.
Hence, there are no chances of running out of it as long as the sun does not die. According to the scientists, that would happen at least after 5 billion years, so we are safe to use solar power for an ample amount of time.
Mitigate climate change effects
Embracing solar power has direct benefits in reducing our carbon footprints on the planet. Estimates show that adopting solar will help in lowering future climate change damages, saving $259 billion globally.
Incentives from the governments
Most governments are giving incentives to people who are installing solar panels in their homes. There are many government subsidies that you can avail simply by using solar power to get most of your energy requirements fulfilled for everyday use.
Reduces your electricity bills
Your electricity bills can also reduce immensely if you supplement your regular electricity with solar power. Moreover, with increasing technological advancements in the technology of solar panels, there are also possibilities of sharing the extra power with your neighbors or the electricity board of your neighborhood.
In return, you get paid for it or get a rebate on your next bill. Hence, the return on investment is very high when you install solar panels to use solar energy.
Cost of maintenance is low
Moreover, the maintenance cost of a solar panel is meager. So, once you install it in your house, you are in the right place for the next 10-20 years depending on the quality.
Suppliers of solar panels also give long-lasting warranties on these panels so you can always get in touch with them in case of a problem. Also, these panels need to be cleaned a few times a year.
So, you can either do it yourself or hire a cleaning company to do it for you.
Disadvantages of solar energy
While the advantages of using solar power look promising, there are some disadvantages too. Let’s discuss them in more detail.
Installation associated with pollution
Although when we think of solar power, we think of clean energy, it is essential to note that the installation of solar panels is also associated with pollution. When solar panels are transported and are installed, they tend to emit greenhouse gases.
Moreover, some of the materials used in photovoltaic systems are toxic. So, it can indirectly affect the environment.
High initial cost
The initial cost of solar installation and usage is very high because the person has to pay for the entire package. The whole system has batteries, wiring, solar panels, and inverters.
However, the technology in this sector is developing with every passing day, so there is an excellent likelihood of a reduction in costs soon.
Depends on the weather
Using solar power is much dependent on the sun. So, if the weather is cloudy with no sun, you might not get any electricity that day.
Since the storage technology is not that advanced at the moment, solar panels cannot store a lot of energy.
Therefore, a 100% reliance on solar energy is not possible at the moment. You must supplement it with traditional energy sources.
From the above account, we can see that solar energy is not as clean as we thought. It also has some disadvantages associated with it.
The biggest one is the fact that it also emits greenhouse gases which is harmful to the environment. However, if it is seen in the relative sense and compared to the current sources, the pollution created by solar panels is somewhat less.
Some other cons such as high costs and weather dependence do cause some skepticism. But the reduction in electricity bills, subsidies, and low maintenance costs do compensate for it.
Solar power is readily available to us in abundance. Most governments, major companies, and international organizations are taking proper efforts at their end to make it work.
As more investments pour in to develop innovative solutions to capture solar energy, we will likely be able to use this abundant source of energy more efficiently. However, it is also important to develop new ways to deal with rising solar waste and make solar panels recyclable.
Despite the criticism and the toxic waste these solar panels produce, we know for the fact that solar power is a much more optimal resource than fossil fuels.
So, which school of thought do you belong to?