Solar energy is the wave of the future, no doubt, but we must be honest about the cons of solar energy if we want the field to grow. Learn more now.
Electricity rates rose 34% over a ten years. With the continual rise in price, many people are looking to alternative energy sources to help cut down on these bills. These alternative sources also appeal to eco-conscious people who want to find ways to cut down on pollution.
Among the many renewable energy sources available, solar energy is most well known. That’s because solar energy is the easiest means to use renewable energy across the world.
Before you jump on the solar band-wagon though, you should understand there are cons of solar energy. It’s important to weigh these cons against the pros to make an informed decision for your energy needs.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Solar energy for your home or office relies on solar panels that are created to absorb the sunlight as a direct current (DC) energy. The system then converts the energy to alternating current (AC) energy to make it usable.
The solar system then sends the converted AC energy through your building’s electrical panel to distribute it around the areas requiring electricity. Each panel produces a limited amount of energy, so you’ll have to decide how many panels you need based on the amount of energy you need divided by the amount of energy produced by the panel.
Cons of Solar Energy
We all know solar panels are not the most attractive thing to see on someone’s property. While this is a minor con of solar energy, it’s not one of the biggest problems.
Yes, even solar energy has its problems. The trick is to decide if these disadvantages outweigh the advantages. It’s important to decide if you have the space, time, and money to make solar energy a viable option.
Solar Energy is Costly
The initial cost to purchase and install solar panels runs high. The average cost just to purchase is $435 per panel. Then you need to pay the installation team for their time and labor.
You also have to consider the cost of maintenance and repairs. Panels will deteriorate over time due to weather conditions so you’ll have to replace them occasionally.
You also need to pay extra for solar batteries if you want to store energy to use later, such as at night when there’s no solar energy to pull from. Batteries created to store solar energy range from $5,000-$10,000 each.
It’s important to weigh these costs against the energy savings you’ll see on your electric bill.
Solar has Minimal Energy Conversion
While you can replace some of your electricity with solar energy, you won’t see 100% conversion. Solar panels only convert 14%-22% of solar energy collected into electricity.
This means you can’t use solar panels to completely replace your energy dependence. Even as the technology improves, the conversion rate will not reach 100%.
Solar Production Still Causes Pollution
One of the reasons people look to other energy sources is to cut down on their contribution to pollution. While the use of solar panels cuts down on some of your pollution, it still causes environmental concerns.
The major pollution problem comes from the production of solar systems. The production of parts uses toxic and hazardous materials. While pollution is lessened with solar panels, it’s still something to consider if you’re looking for eco-friendly alternatives.
Solar Panels Take Up Space
To provide enough energy for your building, you’ll need to find plenty of space for panels. Usually, panels get installed on roofs, but some roofs don’t have enough space to install the amount needed.
This means you’ll need to find sunny areas in your yard to place more panels. These take up space and are noticeable.
Solar Panels Can Cause Roof Leaks
Since installation requires drilling into the existing roof, you can experience leaking roofs during rainy seasons or harsh winter months. This issue happens more often if you have an older roof or you have the wrong type of roof to hold solar panels.
Solar installation causing leaks isn’t the only roof problem you can experience. The panels make it difficult to get to the roof if you need regular repairs and maintenance, meaning extra work to fix these issues.
Solar Energy is Dependent on Weather Conditions
Solar panels work best on rainy days. You can still collect energy on cloudy or rainy days, but efficiency drops significantly if you have several days with no sun.
Solar panels don’t work at night either. this means you either have to purchase costly batteries to store energy or use your regular electricity during the night time hours.
Advantages of Solar Energy
These disadvantages don’t mean solar energy isn’t worth looking into. You just have to compare these disadvantages with the advantages of solar energy to see if it’s worth your time and money.
Solar energy does cut down your reliance on fuel and other non-renewable energy sources. While it can’t replace these sources completely, solar energy can act as a start.
Solar also reduces electricity bills, even if you don’t fully rely on panels. You can save anywhere from $60 to $130 per month on your electric bill using solar panels. It’s up to you to decide if this is worth the cost of installation and maintenance.
Solar energy is also available almost anywhere. This availability gives solar a big advantage over other energy sources. You can install the panels all over the world, even in places where you can’t have an energy grid.
Is Solar Energy Worth It?
The answer to the question “is solar energy worth it?” depends on your property. As you can see, solar systems require plenty of room to make them worth the installation. It requires a large expense to get started and the ability to maintain the panels.
If you have enough property space to hold the solar panels, and the money to cover that upfront cost, the money you can save in the long run is worth looking into.
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