June 17, 2024

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Solar Energy Pros and Cons

There is no single “perfect” energy producing technology. All of them have advantages and disadvantages, even solar power. Let’s take a look at both sides of the issue for solar power.

Solar Energy Advantages:

1. Solar energy is a renewable resource, for all practical purposes.

2. Except for the processes involved in manufacturing the materials, solar energy does not give off any harmful substances.

3. Sun, unlike fossil fuels, does not exist only in specific pockets of the earth: it is everywhere, although not in evenly distributed concentrations.

4. Sunlight is free.

5. While far from perfect, the technology required to use solar radiation as energy to produce heat, light, mechanical power and electricity already exists.

6. Small solar power systems are easily installed.

7. The systems are very low maintenance: they have no moving parts (except for fans and pumps, for example) and can last a long time.

8. Small systems require very little in the way of “monitoring” for routine operation.

9. Given the right data, it is almost always possible to predict how much power a solar energy system will produce.

10. The systems are quiet and increasingly unobtrusive.

Solar Power Disadvantages

1. The initial costs for components can be high.

2. Rarely efficient enough, predictable enough, or powerful enough to provide a substantial portion of a specific user’s needs: needs efficient storage for “down” times.

3. Not every location is a feasible site for solar.

4. Solar “farms,” like almost all large-scale building projects, are subject to the “NIMBY” syndrome (“Not in MY backyard!”).