The Pros And Cons Of Home Solar Systems


Written by Jayant Row in Energy
Viewed by 114 readers since 05-16-2009

Solar energy is the energy that is obtained from the radiant heat and light from the sun. It has been harnessed by man in different ways even in the very ancient times. It is a renewable energy and it is unfortunate that a very miniscule fraction of the available solar energy is tapped into by man. Solar energy can be used to produce electricity through photovoltaic cells. It can also be used to directly heat up water and other liquids and by using this stored heat for other purposes. Solar energy can also be directly used to cook food as well as produce heat for industrial purposes. Solar energy has also been used by architects to naturally heat up buildings by correctly orienting the exposed parts of a buildings wall surfaces, so that the material used stores heat and redistributes it within the building.

Solar energy is completely renewable and absolutely clean. It never adds to the carbon footprint. Detractors however point out to the vast energy requirement to produce the solar cells, may not be offset throughout the life of the cell. Solar energy does not produce acid rain or mercury condensates as are done in electricity power generation. The complete independence from oil in itself a great advantage for the fast depleting natural resources like coal and oil.

Advantages of solar energy

Solar power and heating systems can give a lot of independence to the buildings using these systems. They are not then completely dependent on the utilities that supply power and are at the same time environmentally very friendly. If the location of your building is in remote areas, the cost of bringing in utilities can be very high, and may even be as much as installing solar power panels. The installation of solar power panels are said to cost a lot of money. This is mainly due to the very stringent conditions for the production of the silicon wafers that have the ability to turn the sun’s energy into power. The advantage of the solar power installation is that it has practically no maintenance cost and can run indefinitely. Solar heating systems which heat the water or other liquids directly from the heat of the sun can cause a huge saving in fuel or electric bills, and a well planned heating system can also heat up the rooms before finally being used as hot water.

Solar power cells are not machines and therefore will never add to the sound or noise pollution around your house. They will work quietly and efficiently as long as you take the basic steps needed to keep the panels free of dust or snow.

Disadvantages of solar energy

Efficiency of solar power cells is very low and is generally about 1 percent. Research has brought it up to about 15 percent, but the cost of production of such efficient power cells is astronomically high. Initial costs for installation of solar energy systems are very high and have largely been responsible for their limited use. One main disadvantage that comes in the way of solar energy systems is that they cannot be used when the day is cloudy, or during the night time. However, scientists are trying to overcome this by finding better ways to store the energy and use it for the periods when sunlight is not available. You also need to see that your panels are located in such a way that shadows from adjoining buildings or structures do not affect the working. Even shadows from trees can affect the efficiency and you need to be sure of the trees in your vicinity that could grow up and cause your solar energy system to fail. Solar cells need to be constantly oriented towards the sun, and this itself can cause an increase in costs.


Related Posts