Solar Power Disadvantages

Solar Energy is one of the Greenest Solutions for Clean and Renewable Energy, however certain Solar Power Disadvantages still need to be resolved before Solar Power Goes Mainstream

By Mark J. Donovan

Solar power has held promise for decades in providing clean and renewable energy. Unfortunately several solar power disadvantages over existing fossil fuel technology have prevented solar power from seeing mass adoption, yet.

First and foremost, the equipment and installation costs associated with solar power are still prohibitively high for broad adoption. Though the price of solar panels has come down dramatically in recent years, they are still quite expensive when comparing kilowatt hour performance with fossil fuel based energy resources.

The second solar power disadvantage involves integrating a solar powered home into an existing electrical power infrastructure. Simply put, it is no easy or inexpensive task. Significant planning and costs are required to convert the Direct Current (DC) coming from the solar panels into Alternating Current (AC) and tying it into a home and public utility’s existing electrical infrastructure.

A third solar power disadvantage revolves around the fact that solar panels are inherently inefficient with only a 14-17% efficiency rating, and as a result produce limited power on a per square foot basis. The average solar panel typically can produce 10-15 Watts per square foot in ideal conditions. Thus a large surface area is necessary to provide sufficient and meaningful power to even a portion of a home’s total energy requirements. In many cases there is simply insufficient land or roof space to justify using solar energy to supplement a home’s energy needs.

Another glaring solar power disadvantage is the fact that it is only useful during sunny daylight hours. Batteries can be used to store the energy generated by the day, however batteries have significant costs as well. In addition, not all regions of the world have ideal climates or conditions to utilize solar energy. Extreme northern and southern latitudes, where twilight exists for nearly 6 months of the year are poor locations for implementing solar power utilities.

Likewise, excessively rainy and/or cloudy regions are also poor locations for utilizing solar energy. In addition, areas that have obstructed viewing angles of the sun, such as mountainous or urban areas, are poor places for solar power conversion systems.

Though there are several solar power disadvantages, there are still many solar power advantages, particularly when installed in sunny open areas.

In addition, continued advances in photovoltaic cell technology continue to drive solar panel costs lower. Also, the political environment is changing in favor of clean and renewable energy such as solar power.

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Consequently tax incentives, as well as government R&D expenditures in solar power technology, will help to further reduce solar power equipment and installation costs going forward.

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