Solar Energy
Disadvantages Of Solar Energy

Disadvantages Of Solar Energy

With the cost of electricity increasing by 3% to 5 per year, you might be thinking about alternatives to energy sources, like solar. However, before you decide to put up a solar system at your home, a few important disadvantages of solar energy must be considered.

Solar power has the most expensive initial cost of the other sources of renewable power, it is easy to believe it to be excellent. However, in reality, solar panel panels are not efficient.

If you’re in a desirable area, you’ll be able to achieve an average of 22% conversion that is based on the highest as well as most costly technology.

Additionally, there is the risk that solar panels could be damaged through storms. In addition to the expense of replacing solar panels, damaged ones must be handled and removed correctly due to the harmful chemicals used.

This article will highlight the primary negatives of the solar energy industry, which should be considered before deciding which option is better to invest in solar.

What are the solar energy disadvantages (And for the Environment)?

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solar energy

Although there are numerous benefits to solar energy, however, there are also some drawbacks since the technology is evolving. It’s currently very cost-effective to put up solar panels as well as related products.

Solar panels need plenty of space. solar energy is influenced by environmental conditions (e.g. the sun, the weather, and the climate).

  • Location and Sunlight Availability
  • Solar Panels take up huge amounts of space
  • The Sun doesn’t always appear
  • Solar Energy is Inefficient
  • There is a missed pollutant and Environmental Impact
  • High-priced Energy Storage
  • The High Cost of Initial Purchase
  • Solar Panels could cause damage to your roof

Location and Sunlight Availability

Latitude is among the primary factors in determining the effectiveness of solar energy. Different locations receive the same quantity of sunshine, and the effectiveness of solar energy dipping significantly the further away from the Equator.

Location and Sunlight
Upgraded data on the map (climate period 2022); PVOUT data calculated with updated Solargis model)

Also read: How Much Power Can a Solar Panel Produce

The residents of countries such as Canada as well as Russia are at a disadvantage about solar radiation. But, in places such as Hawaii where they experience an average of 277 days a year of clouds and rain and their position towards the equator doesn’t matter since they do not have enough sunlight that isn’t clouded to reach the earth.

The solar efficiency can also be determined by season. In summer, you can generate more power than you’ll need since the earth’s tilt is such that it’s closer to your place. When it’s winter, the tilt of the Earth makes your place further away from the sun, that you aren’t able to produce enough power to meet your needs.

As with everything else stored in sunlight, solar panels can be damaged by ultra-violet radiation. Things like hail, wind snow, dirt, and temperature variations are major dangers to solar panels.

Installation Area

For those who are looking to set up solar panels the space for installation isn’t likely to be much of an issue, particularly when the majority of the time they are placed in the roofing. But, large businesses that plan to generate large amounts of power will require a large installation area to supply power regularly.

The biggest solar array can be found in Spain and covers around 173 acres. It provides electricity for nearly 12,000 homes. This is 173 acres of land that can’t be used for any other purpose other than for animals that graze there.

Reliability

One of the disadvantages of solar energy is that it depends on sunlight the renewable energy source. Electricity cannot be produced at night, which requires you to either store the excess energy generated in the daytime or connect to an alternative source of power, such as the local grid. This means you’ll be required to pay more on top of the cost of solar panels.

Storms and clouds can also not excess energy output that you can create because they block light rays that could have been absorbed from the solar panels.

Inefficiency

Based on researchers from the Qualitative Reasoning Group with Northwestern University the majority of solar panels installed in homes convert just 14% of their power source into electricity. Even the best-performing solar panels transform 22 percent of the solar energy into electricity.

By the Second law of thermodynamics, solar cells are not able to attain 100% efficiency. The theoretical maximum efficiency is 85 percent, which is using mirrors and motors to track the sun.

In a solar system that doesn’t track the sun’s position, the theoretical maximum efficiency is just 55 percent. This is also true for systems that follow the sun during cloudy days.

Pollution & Environmental Impact

The environmental effects of solar power include water and land use as well as the destruction of habitats, pollution, and the use of extremely dangerous materials in the production process.

Looking back at the location of the installation, the solar fields’ land use could be enormous and, unlike wind power-sharing land for agriculture, purposes are not an alternative. Solar power can also impact the use of land when it comes to mining and the production of the materials required to make photovoltaics.

One of the components found in solar panels is lead and cadmium which are extremely poisonous metals. There are several other toxic and hazardous materials used in the production of solar panels including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and acetone.

Within the United States, manufacturers are obliged to ensure that high-value substances are recycled instead of getting rid of them. In other countries like China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan where more than half of the photovoltaics produced are made the harmful materials are being disposed of recklessly in fields, which pollutes the water, air, and soil.

Expensive Energy Storage

Energy Storage
Energy Storage

A majority of people consider the storage of large quantities of electrical power as the most significant obstacle to producing solar power on an industrial scale. The battery storage systems that are available for storing solar energy systems in the form of electrical energy are extremely expensive.

Tesla is the company that designed its Powerwall battery to save solar energy to be used later. But, with a 14kWh battery costing approximately $7,100 after installation and maintenance, these batteries are expensive.

If you were to have a day’s worth of backup power for a home with four bedrooms that would require three Tesla batteries, which would cost the staggering sum of $18,300.

The High Initial Cost

The high upfront cost is among the major disadvantages of solar panel systems. As of January 20, 2022, the cost of solar power in the US is around $3.00 for each watt. A 6 kW solar panel would cost approximately $18,000, on average, even before the federal tax credit is used.

The price of a solar array is dependent on the state you live in, and also on the incentives, you are eligible for.

There are fortunately loans for solar options to choose from. In many cases, you could qualify for a no-down solar loan that permits you to reduce your electric bills and reap the benefits of having the solar panel system.

Solar Panels could damage your roof

We all wish to use less electricity, even when we’re not making use of it. Solar panels are a great option to generate electricity, but they could cause damage to your roof.

Incorrect installation of solar panels can result in holes appearing on the roof, which could cause water leakage and severe damage to both the exterior as well as the interior of your house.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you do your research thoroughly on the companies that install solar panels and make sure that they have a good reputation.

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Solar Panels could damage your roof

Solar panels require support to ensure they are securely installed, because of how heavy they are. If your roof isn’t robust or has weak points they may cause the roof to split or “flatten” in time because of the weight.

It is recommended that a thorough evaluation is carried out on the structural integrity of your roof, to verify that the roof can stand the load that the panel can support.

When the panel is set at an angle steeper than the rest of the roof that could make them sway in time, destroying the roof. When the roof panels sit high or too low on the roof, problems could develop in the Attic or hinder gutters from functioning correctly.

The potential for these issues could invalidate any warranty on your roof currently in force. It is crucial to speak with the solar company or roofing company to ensure that the installation of solar panels would not disrupt the coverage.

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solar energy pros and cons

 

Main solar energy pros and cons

Pros
  • Reduces electric bill
  • Insurance against rising power prices
  • The solar system is cheaper than ever
  • See a return on your investment
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Solar energy independence
Cons
  • Location and Sunlight Availability
  • Solar Panels take up huge amounts of space
  • The Sun doesn’t always appear
  • Solar Energy is Inefficient
  • There is a missed pollutant and Environmental Impact
  • High-priced Energy Storage
  • The High Cost of Initial Purchase
  • Solar Panels could cause damage to your roof

 

Conclusion

Although solar energy is regarded as renewable and inexhaustible, However, the method that we currently make use of it has numerous disadvantages, from being expensive to inefficient. But solar technology is at the beginning of its development, and many good ideas are already starting to emerge.

For instance, research into energy storage issues has led to two different ways that could be utilized to store electricity in the future.

In search of inspiration from existing solar energy technology scientists are creating flow batteries using small organic molecules that aid in helping the rhubarb plants store energy known as quinones, instead of the highly toxic and costly metal vanadium particles.

Researchers believe this technology will bring the current cost down from $0.02 per kilowatt-hour to $0.0025 per Kilowatt-hour.

The second technique, which is very clever, utilizes the solar panels produce methanol from carbon dioxide, instead of electricity. The idea is to use the methanol to generate fuel, then transform it into carbon dioxide, which would then be recovered and stored.

The aim is to cut down greenhouse gas emissions through recycling instead of letting them escape into the atmosphere. While the power that solar panels generate is emission-free,  it is important to note that there is some pollution associated with the manufacturing of solar panel system.

One thing is certain but. Energy from solar (for things that aren’t simple outdoor solar lighting is still much to be done before it is cost-effective efficient, reliable, and sustainable.

If you have any questions or feedback, you are welcome to discuss this in the comment section.

FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ:

Can Solar Panels Withstand Salt Water Corrosion?

The good news is that solar panels can be very resistant to corrosion. Solar modules are sealed between their back sheets and the interior material that will stop internal corrosion caused by salt.

Is solar energy worth the investment?

Recently an investigation by researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) discovered that, for a house that has a solar power device, every dollar saved on energy boosts a house’s worth by around $20. It’s a 20-to-1 return on investment (ROI). Here are some tips to ensure you get the most benefit from solar energy.

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar technologies make sunlight electricity either via solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors that concentrate solar energy. The energy generated is used to create electricity, or stored in thermal storage, batteries, or in other storage devices.

What are Renewable Sources of Energy?

Renewable energy, also called green energy, is produced by natural resources or is continuously replenished. For instance, the sun and the wind continue shining and blowing even though their availability is dependent on the weather and time of day.


 

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Thomas Harder

Is an environmental and renewable energy specialist with over 10 years of expertise within the renewable and solar industry. With over a decade of experience in various organizations within the field He runs Mysolarperks as a passion-driven project that promotes sustainable renewable energy ideas and products.
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