For many years, humans have used the sun for purposes such as to heat food or dry clothes; however, in modern times, the sun has been utilized for purposes such as to produce electricity, telecommunications, heat, etc.
Solar power uses sunlight to produce energy. Solar power is one of the fastest growing alternative, renewable energy resources as homeowners search for ways to decrease utility costs and become more eco-friendly. The advantages of solar power energy are many, but disadvantages of solar power energy also exist.
Advantages of Solar Power Energy
One of the most important advantages of solar power energy is that it is a renewable resource. Because the sun is used as the energy source, solar power can be regenerated and replenished without fear of depletion, unlike fossil fuels.
Solar energy does not pollute the air or produce greenhouse gases like traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels. Solar power energy is eco-friendly.
Generally, solar powered products are easy to install and/or use. Examples of solar powered products include solar panels, hot water heaters, lighting, fountains, and pumps. Many solar powered products can be installed by do-it-yourself homeowners.
Another advantage of solar power energy is that it can save homeowners money in the long run. Solar power systems may be more cost effective than tradition electrical service to connect to a grid. For example, if a homeowner uses a solar power system to reduce electric consumption from traditional power companies, the savings could be found in reduced electric bills. Using outside solar lights can save money on utility bills, as well.
Other advantages of solar power energy include longevity and low maintenance of solar panels. Solar panels can last a long time. Solar panels are guaranteed by manufacturers, with some warranted for 25 years or more. When asked about the life span of a photovoltaic module, Windy Dankoff and Joe Schwartzâ??s article, â??Ask the Experts: PV Longevity and Degradation in the April/May 2007 issue of HomePower Magazine stated, â??It is safe to say that modules carrying warranties of 20 years or more have a high probability of working well 30 years from now.â? Maintenance of solar panels consists of keeping the panels clear of dirt and snow for maximum contact with sunlight.
Disadvantages of Solar Power Energy
Even though there are many advantages of solar power energy, there are some disadvantages of solar power energy as well. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a drawback of solar energy is factors that affect the amount of sunlight available for use. These factors include location, time of day, time of year, and weather conditions. Since solar power uses the sun to produce electricity, generally, solar power cannot be created at night, during a storm or on a cloudy day when sunlight is diminished.
Another disadvantage of solar power energy is the initial cost of installing a solar power system. A solar power system may consist of many solar panels, which can be costly due to manufacturing the panels. The cost of solar power systems is becoming more competitive as solar technology advances.
Some advantages of solar power energy for homeowners are that it is a renewable resource, cost effective in the long term and powered products are easy to install and low maintenance; however, disadvantages of solar power energy include potential limited sun exposure and initial cost outlay.
U.S.EIA, Renewable Solar, iea.doe.gov, Jan. 2010
Danoff, Windy & Schwartz, Joe, “Ask the Experts: PV Longevity & Degradation,” HomePower Magazine, April/May 2007 Issue