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Solar energy

Solar Energy Pros and Cons

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Solar energy is the energy obtained from the Sun’s radiation, and there are many advantages and disadvantages related to the technology.

Mankind has received solar energy from the Sun for billions of years, but only in the recent decades, we managed to understand the huge potential of free and clean electricity provided by our star every day.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is defined as the energy obtained from the Sun’s radiation under the form of visible light, heat and other types of electromagnetic radiation.

Mankind uses solar energy in two different forms, active solar energy and passive solar energy.

Active solar energy means the use of an equipment/technology represented by a solar cell, which is used to transform sunlight into clean electricity.

Passive solar energy is specific to the construction sector, and represents a certain position of the house and windows in order to provide sunlight and heat to every room in the house.

Pros of Solar Energy

There are more pros than cons when we talk about solar energy and this thing shows that this clean energy source will represent one of the main sources of power in the future.

Arizona hosts one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

Arizona hosts one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

1. Is Considered An Alternative Energy Source

Over time, the solar technology used to turn sunlight into clean electricity will be able to successfully replace the energy produced from fossil fuels, which pollutes the environment.

Solar energy is also considered a renewable energy source because we can almost say that “it never ends”, the Sun will provide light and heat for another 4 to 5 billion years.

2. Is An Abundant Source Of Clean Energy

The Sun provides every day more energy through sunlight than we can consume in an entire year, which means that the potential for solar power generation is huge.

3. Is Considered A Sustainable Source Of Energy

The Sun will be here to provide free and clean energy for us for another 4 to 5 billion years, and this means that mankind can rely on this source of power for a very long period in the future.

4. Is An Eco-friendly Energy Source

Turning the sunlight into clean electricity does not involve any kind of harmful emissions, which means that solar power is environmentally friendly.

However, manufacturing, transportation, and the installing process of a solar power system involves some emissions, but even so, once installed, a solar panel system will produce only clean electricity without releasing any kind of harmful emissions.

5. Is Available Almost Everywhere On The Planet

The Sun shines everywhere, but there are several places in the world that benefit from greater Sun exposure all over the year, and these places are considered the most suited places to harnessing solar power.

6. Can Save You Money On Energy Bills

A solar power system installed on your rooftop or in the yard, will start producing clean electricity during the day, and will reduce your electricity bills month after month.

By going solar, you can reduce your utility bills every month, and you can even make some savings.

Once the net metering and feed-in tariff schemes were introduced, all homeowners that installed solar panel systems on their rooftop were able to sell the excess electricity produced, or receive bill credits, during the summer months when the amount of solar energy produced by the system exceeded the energy consumption of the house.

Today, solar power has become more affordable to a large number of homeowners because many solar companies provide lease options for the solar panel systems sold.

This way, instead of paying expensive energy bills, the homeowner will pay monthly for the solar panel system purchased, and will no longer receive expensive utility bills because the solar panel system mounted on their rooftop will generate enough electricity to power the entire house, month after month.

7. Is Considered A Silent Source Of Clean Energy

The technology used to harness the Sun’s energy does not produce any kind of noise pollution.

8. Is Suitable For Many Applications

From the space missions that are powered by solar panels, the power of the Sun is used to produce clean electricity using the photovoltaic effect, to heat water or other liquids that produce steam, which is then used to spin a turbine and generate electricity.

Solar energy is produced directly by solar panels and can be deployed and used everywhere without the presence of a power grid.

9. Requires A Low Maintenance Service

Once installed, a solar power system requires very low maintenance service (cleaning the panels a few times a year or even rarely).

Due the fact that the big solar manufacturers in the world provide about 25 year warranty for their panels, we can say that solar energy is a long-term technology.

10. Receives Financial Support From the State/Government.

Nowadays, is much easier for a homeowner to purchase a solar PV system due to the financial support provided by the State/Government, and this way, the homeowner pays about 50% from the price of the system because the difference is covered by the local authorities.

11. Solar Technology Improves Year After Year

As time passes, solar cells are becoming more efficient, and at the same time more affordable.

Cons of Solar Energy

There are several disadvantages related to solar.

Some manufacturing processes of the solar panels could involve harmful emissions.

Some manufacturing processes of the solar panels could involve harmful emissions.

1. Is Not A Reliable Source Of Energy

A solar PV panel produces electricity only during the sunny days, while in the cloudy and rainy days, will produce less power than usual, so without the help of an energy storage system that can store solar energy for several days, the homeowner will use the energy from the utility grid to cover the demand and will pay higher electricity bills.

A homeowner that lives off-grid will use a generator to recharge the batteries and will produce greenhouse gas emissions to power its battery system.

2. Is Quite Expensive For Low-income Families

Even with the help of the subsidies provided by the government, some families cannot afford to purchase a solar power system due to the high price of these systems.

Luckily, the technology evolves pretty fast in the field, and becomes more affordable as time passes.

3. Involves The Use Of An Expensive And Exotic Material

Solar panels are expensive today because the solar cells used are made of silicon, which is a pretty pricey material.

Beside the use of silicon to create solar PV cells, other solar cells require the use of materials that are expensive and pretty rare in nature, such as Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS).

4. Requires Space For Energy Production

The space covered by solar panels can be used for other purposes, for example in agriculture.

Power density or W/m² (watt per square meter) represents an important value when we talk about the power obtained from a certain area of land.

In order to produce more solar energy from the same land surface covered by solar panels, technology must evolve to improve the efficiency of the solar cells.

5. Manufacturing and Transporting Solar Panels Involves The Release Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dangerous derivatives of nitrogen and sulfur are released into the atmosphere during the production of solar panels, and also during transportation.


The transportation and installation process of the solar power systems also involves some carbon emissions, but luckily once installed, the solar panel system will no longer generate any kind of emissions, will only produce free and clean electricity during the sunny days.

Article written by:

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues. I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people. Magda Savin

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