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What You Need to Know About Solar Energy?

Solar energy is renewable

Solar energy is one of the five forms of renewable energy that should be exploited to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is an alternative solution to fossil resources such as coal, oil and natural gas.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this natural resource? What are the different forms of solar?

What is Solar Energy?

As its name suggests, solar energy consists of taking advantage of the sun to power household equipment (household appliances, electronics, lighting) and produce heat and warm water. It is a completely clean resource that does not emit any greenhouse gases. It is also completely free, since it is unlimited in access, and non-exhaustible, unlike fossil fuels.

Photovoltaic solar panels are used to harness this free and clean power to produce electricity.

What Are the Different Forms of Solar Energy?

A distinction must be made between thermal-type installations and photovoltaic-type equipment.

A thermal panel uses the sun’s heat to warm up a calorific liquid. The production of domestic hot water for a dwelling is made possible by transporting this calorific fluid to the appropriate boiler. The heating system is then supplied and can diffuse its heat through the rooms of the house.

A photovoltaic panel turns the sun’s rays into direct current. The device’s inverter transforms this electricity into alternating current that is compatible with the appliances in the house (lighting, household appliances, electronics, audiovisual equipment, etc.).

How Can We Use Solar Energy?

Of course that solar energy can replace your traditional electricity provider (or at least can lower your energy bills).

Solar can be used both for utility scale installation, and for smaller household installations. Think of the small electronic devices that you use frequently: telephones, mp3/mp4, Bluetooth speakers, etc. These small devices also consume energy when you need to recharge their batteries.

By using solar-powered devices, you are no longer using energy from the grid, but you are using free energy from the sun. Although, these devices still require some development, and to lower their prices, but on the medium and long term, they are considered very efficient products.

The additional costs when purchasing a solar-powered device (compared to a single device with a rechargeable battery) will be quickly amortized.

In addition, you can even buy solar batteries independently, which will allow you to recharge any electronic device. These solar batteries are very simple to use: they can store solar energy for a couple of days and you can that energy to power your devices. All you have to do is recharge your devices directly from the solar battery.

Solar batteries exists in different forms: with devices, fixed on backpacks, or fixed on clothes.

Take the example of a lovely hike. As you walk along, the battery will charge itself and once you arrive at your destination, all you have to do is recharge your mobile phone or MP3 player, which you can’t do without it.

What Are the Strong and Weak Points of this Natural Resource?

Solar energy is provided by the sun, and like all the other energy sources (renewable or fossil fuel), they have both advantages and disadvantages.

Disadvantages of solar energy

Discover below the weak points of this natural and clean resource.

Not every home can accommodate this type of installation, due to the orientation of the roof in relation to the sun.

A north-facing house in the Northern hemisphere will be less efficient since the sun shines south for much of the day.

In addition, the installation of solar panels is not always aesthetically pleasing.

Solar installations are expensive, and can only pay for themselves after 8 to 10 years of usage.

Thermal models cost between 13,000 and 25,000 euros ($14,200 and $27,400), while photovoltaic panels cost between 5,500 and 21,000 euros ($6,000 and $23,000) depending on the size of the installation and the performance of the panels.

The lifetime of such a device is about 20 years, but they work even longer with a decreased efficiency. In order to benefit from its optimal operation, it is therefore necessary to consider replacing it. For photovoltaic systems, the inverter has a service life between 8 and 10 years, which means that you have to replace it much often, and creates additional costs.

Advantages of solar energy

In return to these disadvantages, the following advantages can be noted.

Solar can make you energy independent. A solar PV system installed on your roof can generate enough energy to cover all your power demand, and this means that you will no longer used energy from the grid.

A battery system that stores excess energy produced by the panels will increase your chances to become energy independent.

When you become energy independent, the increased prices of energy (paid on increased electricity bills) will no longer affect you because even if you are connected to the grid (for backup), you are producing your own energy that is clean and completely free.


Using the power of the sun you can produce your own electricity, your own heat and your own hot water.

Excess energy can be stored or sent back into the grid to power your neighbors and receive money in return from your utility company.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

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