Solar energy is emerging as one of the most popular sources of energy in the modern world, and there are many good reasons why this is so. However as appealing as solar energy is, it is not without its drawbacks. This discussion will center on some of the solar power pros and cons, so that anyone considering it as a potential supplier of electricity for home or business can be better informed.
Pros of solar energy
One of the great pros of solar energy is that it’s renewable, meaning there is a virtually inexhaustible supply of the sun’s radiant energy which is converted into electricity. Not only is it renewable, it is available in virtually limitless supplies. It is estimated that the total amount of sunlight striking the Earth’s surface could provide 20,000 times more power than what is actually needed to supply electricity to the entire world, if properly harnessed.
Solar energy is also the cleanest of all energy sources, in that it does not cause pollution or generate by-products unfriendly to the environment. Another aspect of solar energy which is particularly appealing to homeowners and business owners is that it is a very low-cost energy source, after installation. There is an expense associated with the installation of a solar power system, but after that there is no cost for the ongoing supply of the sun’s energy. Also, since there are no moving parts to solar power generation systems, they do not generate any noise.
Cons of solar energy
Probably the single biggest of the cons of solar energy is that there are situations where the sun’s radiant energy is not available for conversion into electricity. The night-time hours at any location are a good example, and any part of the world which typically does not receive abundant sunshine would probably be a less desirable situation for solar power generation.
Although the ongoing low cost of solar power is listed as an advantage above, it can also be seen as a disadvantage in the sense that installation of the system can be expensive, and batteries needed to store energy during sunless hours can also be costly.
To convert a sufficient supply of the sun’s radiant energy into electricity, a significant space is required for the solar panels which collect and store the sunlight. Depending on the availability of sunshine in a given area, the space necessary for properly sized solar panels could be greater than the available space on a residential roof or an adjacent lot.
Support for solar energy
Governmental organizations and agencies have evaluated solar power pros and cons, and have obviously decided in favor of solar energy. For this reason, it is very often possible to take advantage of government incentives and subsidies for the installation of a solar power system. If most or all of the installation cost of the system can be obtained through government subsidies, one of the biggest disadvantages of using solar power is eliminated.