The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Solar Energy

When we speak about sustainable energy, we can’t forget about the most plentiful source we have: the sun. The quantity of solar energy generated in only one hour is enough to power the whole world’s electrical supply for a year!

It’s no surprise that governments are converting our global energy supply to solar power since it’s a limitless resource. However, like with everything, there are positives and downsides to solar energy, including more destructive to the environment than we initially assumed.

As more people worldwide get access to power, the need for low-cost energy grows. As a consequence of this need, our economy has become heavily reliant on fossil fuels, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions that are currently warming our planet.

Parallel to this is the continuous advancement of technology and automation, which drives the need for even more electricity.

All of this emphasizes the need for renewable energy sources now more than ever. Solar energy, which is both clean and renewable, can overcome the fossil fuel gap while also ensuring universal access to power. Solar energy is, in fact, the fastest-growing renewable energy source on the planet right now.

But, despite the many advantages of using solar power to meet our energy demands, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Like other kinds of energy production, solar has its unique carbon impact. In reality, no renewable energy source is yet 100 percent clean. We discover a hidden cost after accounting for how resources are obtained, produced, delivered, and used. And that’s before we’ve even discussed disposal…

Where Does Solar Energy Come From?

To better understand how solar energy collecting and utilization impacts the environment, let’s review how solar panels function. Here’s a simple movie that explains how sunlight turns into electricity:

Photovoltaics, or solar electricity panels, capture solar energy and transform it into usable power. They are made up of solar cells, tiny units formed of semiconducting materials like silicon.

When sunlight falls on this substance, photons, or light particles, knock off free electrons, causing an electric current to flow. Although solar panels do not need to be in direct sunlight to gather light, they function better in brighter environments.

For the panels to operate, an electric field must be created, which is accomplished by combining additional elements, such as boron and phosphorous, with silicon to generate positive and negative charges. PV cells are built of monocrystalline silicon (which is more efficient but more expensive) or polycrystalline silicon (less expensive but less efficient).

Solar panels are made up of the following components:

  • As a temperature and humidity-resistant cover, use ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).
  • A temperature-regulating polymer back sheet
  • It is protected from damage by a glass layer.
  • A-frame made of aluminum
  • Its core system is a junction box.

A substantial amount of energy is required to manufacture a single solar module. This is true across the solar value chain, including mining, manufacture, shipping, decommissioning, and disassembly.

To fully rely on solar energy, two major obstacles must be overcome:

  • The global distribution of sunlight is uneven.
  • Its supply is inconsistent.

As a result, solar panel storage and efficiency are two critical considerations. The good news is that solar energy technology is rapidly evolving inventions such as a new form of solar cell or a new type of material for silicon solar cells that might completely shift the game.

The Benefits Of Solar Power

Although there are several benefits to solar energy, many doubts remain regarding its current ecological credentials. But first, consider the environmental and economic advantages of solar energy:

Solar Energy Lowers CO2 Emissions

Solar energy has a major beneficial influence on the environment since it is mostly based on the sun. It minimizes carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Solar power, unlike fossil fuels, produces no pollution and requires no additional resources except clean water to operate.

Solar panels reduce your reliance on the grid as well as your carbon emissions.

Solar energy allows you to significantly reduce the amount of power you consume from the national grid. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a photovoltaic (PV) system installed in a typical UK house may cut carbon emissions by 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes per year.

Solar Energy Is Long-Term Reliable

These resources will soon be depleted as the world’s population grows. A solar system power source is endless as long as the sun survives since it harnesses energy from the sun. This lessens the need for scarce resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas, all of which contribute to global warming.

Solar panels have a long lifespan.

Solar technologies have a long lifespan of roughly 30 years with relatively low maintenance costs, even though the manufacturing process may be improved. Of course, this helps the environment since there would be less need for repair and maintenance, leading to a lot of trash.

Solar Power Helps to Reduce Water Pollution

Like any other industrial process, solar panel manufacture requires the usage of water. However, the overall quantity of water needed for solar energy is still substantially lower than that necessary for other energy sources that require water for cooling.

Solar Panels Boost Property Value

Each kilowatt of solar electricity added increases a property’s total resale value. Solar technologies are unquestionably a long-term investment for homeowners.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar Energy

Despite solar power’s potential to produce energy, heat, and desalinate water, cost and efficiency remain the primary impediments to its widespread adoption.

While solar panel installations ultimately pay for themselves, the technology’s longevity is often neglected. It should, in theory, go through the proper recycling procedure, but it seldom does.

Several debates concern whether solar energy is genuinely clean when considering the energy required for mining, manufacture, and disposal.

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