Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Solar energy can be used and is used for electricity, central heating, hot water, cooking, for producing salt and even for desalination. Solar energy comes from the sun’s rays. Solar energy is known to be very environmentally friendly. However, when the sun rays enter the earth’s atmosphere it is quite dilute.

Although solar energy is known to be very environmentally friendly it doesn’t only has advantages but also some disadvantages. Let’s discuss some advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.

Let’s start with the main advantage of solar energy. Solar energy is clean. To produce electricity or heat with solar energy you only need the sun rays. There is no need to use fossil fuel in combination with sun rays to produce electricity or heat. You just need a solar energy collector or solar power panels in order to collect solar energy.

Solar energy is cheaper than electric heating. That is another big advantage of solar energy. By just using solar energy you can save a lot of money on heaters. In return you will get lower electric bills and it also means that you don’t have to maintain heaters.

If you live in a remote area where there are no power-lines solar energy can be the solution. There are remote areas where power companies have no means to access your home. Solar energy is a great alternative because it provides you with anything from heating water, electricity, and even cooking.

Another great use of solar energy is for desalination in areas where fresh, drinkable water is scarce. Solar energy evaporates brine and leaves the salt crystals in the bottom of the basin. The water in turn condenses back in another basin where it is now drinkable.

Although all of the above is very useful solar energy also has some disadvantages. These disadvantages also need to be discussed to paint a better overall picture.

The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it’s dilute. This means you have to have a lot of solar collectors installed around your house. Solar energy may be very cheap but the solar collectors are relatively expensive and require regular maintenance in order to work properly and efficiently. If you decide to use solar energy you need to calculate the return on investment in order to know if the investment will be worth it.

One big disadvantage is that you need the sun rays to make use of solar energy. If you are situated in a part of this beautiful planet where there is not much sun light then this could be a problem. In other areas, the sun rays are almost always covered in clouds making solar energy collectors less efficient. You should first know if the sunshine in your area is abundant for the most part of the year. Of course if you live in desert areas like in Arizona or Mexico the sun produces a lot of sunshine for the most part of the year and is ideal for solar energy collecting.

Lastly the sun only shines during the day. Therefore if you need electricity or hot water during the night, like many of us do, it can be a problem. You will need a backup system like the ‘old’ utility grid or you will need to store the electricity for later use. There are battery systems that can store solar energy for later use.

Solar energy is very clean and an alternative to conventional heating and electrical systems. Although this is true it is also good to mention the disadvantages of solar energy. If you are considering using solar energy you must read this first to make a balanced decision….