There are many more advantages than disadvantages of solar energy, yet this article will cover the disadvantages of using solar energy to generate electricity.
One of the main disadvantages is the initial cost of the equipment used to harness the suns energy. Solar energy technologies still remain a costly alternative to the use of readily available fossil fuel technologies.
“A home with solar panels is going to pay around 30 cents per Kilowatt hour after you factor in the cost of the solar panels, compared to a home on the electrical grid that pays around 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour. As you can see, photovoltaic panels cost three times as much per kilowatt hour.”
As the price of solar panels decreases, we are likely to see an increase in the use of solar cells to generate electricity.
Solar energy is only useful when the sun is shining. During the night, your expensive solar equipment will be useless, however the use of solar battery chargers can help to reduce the effects of this disadvantage.
At present, solar panels designed to generate electricity are fairly expensive to produce. Since a single solar panel can only generate a relatively small amount of electricity, an expensive and bulky array of solar panels would be needed to provide a sufficient level of electricity for homes. These solar panels also have to be adjusted throughout the day in order to maintain a direct angle with the sun. Indirect sunlight is only marginally better than no sunlight at all, so a mechanical orientation system would also need to be implemented to turn all of the solar panels.
Pollution can be a disadvantage to solar panels, as pollution can degrade the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. Clouds also provide the same effect, as they can reduce the energy of the suns rays.
A solar energy installation requires a large area for the system to be efficient in providing a source of electricity. This may be a disadvantage in areas where space is short, or expensive (such as inner cities).
The location of solar panels can affect performance, due to possible obstructions from the surrounding buildings or landscape.
Space for both storage batteries and solar panels can be an issue. Batteries to power your house when the sun isn’t out can take up a significant amount of space.
Maintenance can be an issue. When your solar power goes out, if you don’t have an experienced photovoltaic energy technician in your area or if you are not willing to be a bit of a handyman, maintenance is definitely an issue! But if you think you can handle minor repairs now and then, you’ll be fine.
Proper disposal of the panels and the batteries when they are at the end of their lifecycle is important. Both the storage batteries and the panels contain materials that are very toxic. Lead, sulfuric acid, and cadmium telluride are all used in the manufacture of either the batteries or the panels.