There are several factors driving solar’s increasing adoption, from improved technologies and decreasing installation costs to a generous federal tax credit that the government provides according to Investopedia
. As a result, how the residential power works are more than just the conversion of sunlight into electricity. To truly understand it you have to follow the light from the solar panel to your own budgetary needs.
Just a bit of history, humans have used the sun to heat water and preserve food for thousands of years, but solar electric power or photovoltaic (PV) started in the 1950s. Since then, there have been many technological advances which makes solar power a very attractive alternative today. The solar panels are made up of solar cells, like the ones that you see on solar watches and calculators, a racking system that is used to attach the panels to the rooftop.The solar installers will orient the rack to make sure that the modules get the most direct sunlight as much as possible. If the roof is not suited for the planned solar panels, the modules can be placed in a yard using a ground mounted system.
The solar installers will orient the rack to make sure that the modules get the most direct sunlight as much as possible. If the roof is not suited for the planned solar panels, the modules can be placed in a yard using a ground mounted system.
And as installers have gained more experience, they have become more efficient at installing panels. Installations that used to take days can now be done within hours. Plus, the cost of solar has gone down in recent years. If you want to get tips before installing solar panels click here.
To help you further in deciding if you want to go for solar panels, below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of solar power systems.
Solar power advantages:
It’s renewable and an Infinite Source of Energy
As long as the sun shines, there will be solar energy. And if you’re watching Discovery Channel or fond of reading anything science related, the sun’s life span is about 10 billion years. According to scientific calculations, the sun’s present age is about 4.6 billion years old. So we still have 5.4 billion years of sunlight before the fuel runs out. So we’re all be long dead before the sun dies out. Traditional energy sources like coal and oil will have its limits.
The potential of solar energy is beyond our imagination. The earth’s surface receives 120,000 terawatts of solar radiation. That’s twenty thousand times more power than what is needed to supply the entire world. There is no combustion involved nor does it require water when generating electricity.
No Green House Gases
The solar power system does not emit any greenhouse gases. Solar energy is made by conducting the sun’s radiation into electricity through solar panels.
A renewable and abundant energy source is also sustainable. Sustainable energy sources meet the needs of the modern-day consumers without compromising the ability of future generations in meeting their needs. And if you think of it, there is no way people can over-consume solar energy. It doesn’t need any raw materials and has lower operational labour as compared to conventional power production.
Harnessing the sun’s energy does not produce any harmful by-products that can pollute the environment. However, the emissions linked with the creation, transport and installation of solar power systems but overall, solar energy clearly decrease on traditional fossil fuels.
Solar Energy is Available Anywhere
Solar energy is available around the world. As long as there is sunlight in your country or area, solar power can be used. For example, in Europe which is known for snow and rain, Germany has by far the highest capacity for solar power in the world. As long as you know how to take advantage of solar power, you can have electricity.
Decreases the Cost of Electricity
With the introduction of feed-in tariffs and of net metering schemes, households can now sell any excess electricity or receive bill credits every time they produce more electricity than what they actually consume. This also means that any homeowner with solar installed can reduce their overall electricity bills by switching to solar.
Solar energy can be used for different applications and purposes. It can be used to power up places that lack grid connection. It’s also referred as “The People’s Power”, meaning that some solar power setup can be easily deployed at the consumer’s level. With the introduction of thin-film and flexible solar cells, solar power can even be integrated into materials used for building construction
A solar power system has no moving parts thus, there is no noise associated with photovoltaics. There will be no vibration or hissing issues when you have solar power.
Most present-day solar power systems do not require extensive maintenance. Most residential solar panels usually need cleaning probably every quarter, or 6 months depending on your location. Most solar companies also ship 10-25 year warranties with their solar panels.
Technology Is Always Improving
Just like computers, technological advancements are constantly made in the solar power industry. Innovation in quantum physics and nanotechnology has the potential to have three times the electrical output of solar panels.
Solar power disadvantages:
If you pay an upfront cost, it will be expensive but there are available payment schemes that the solar power provider, the state or the government can provide. The cost will also depend on the components offered. It will depend on the different types of solar panels, the brands of solar panels and inverters. Also, be aware that the solar provider conducts site visits to quote and customise the system depending your circumstances or your solar requirements.
Inefficiency of Solar
One of the most common criticisms of solar power is its inefficiency. Currently, solar efficiency is at around 22% this means that a large amount of surface area is needed to produce adequate electricity. However, solar panel efficiency has developed dramatically in the last 5 years and solar panels efficiency will also continue to rise steadily over the next 5 years.
Solar energy is an intermittent energy source and in some cases, access to sunlight is limited certain times. Predicting the weather specifically overcasts days can be difficult but with the advances, these issues have been solved. Take for example Germany as mentioned earlier has by far the highest capacity for solar power in the world. They are not as sunny as a tropical country but they have excess power.
Solar Battery Storage is Expensive
Solar battery storage will help smoothen the load and demand in your house, making solar more stable but are expensive. Tesla, Origin, and Samsung are the primary battery distributors in Australia. These manufacturers are trying to make batteries more affordable in the future, but for now, if you want to have back up power, you will spend more.
Associated with Exotic Materials and Pollution
Although solar power is less polluting compared to traditional fossil fuels, there are issues that surround it. Some manufacturing process is linked with greenhouse emissions. Nitrogen trifluoride and sulphur hexafluoride have been traced to solar panel production. These two are some of the most potent greenhouse gases and have a big impact on global warming as compared to carbon dioxide. There are also some solar cells that require materials that are rare or expensive. This is true for thin-film solar cells that are either made from copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride.
It Needs Space
Watt per square meter or power density is important when looking at how much power can be juiced out from a certain area of your property or real estate of an energy source. The worldwide mean power density for solar radiation is 170 watts per square meter. It’s more than any other renewable energy source but is not comparable to fossil fuel or nuclear power.
Solar energy spurs debates, discussions and re-assessment of the importance and the interaction between investment, the environment, and economics. Although not everybody is in favour of solar power, it’s a fact that there are talks about how valid is the status quo is a good development. State authorities and some branches of the government are encouraging solar use by way of incentives like tariffs, subsidies, and rebates.
Click here to read more about the pros and cons of solar power on Investopedia
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