Positives and Negatives of Solar Energy


One of the most amazing power resources that we have on the planet shines brightly every day. It is the sun and the benefits of solar energy are profound. Even when there are clouds in the sky, solar energy can be collected with the right panels installed. It is the ultimate renewable resource, so it makes sense to develop technologies that can help to enhance how much power can be generated and distributed from solar energy every day.

Although there are many positives to considered with solar energy, there are some negatives that must be considered as well. Here is a more detailed look at this industry as it stands right now.

The Positives of Solar Energy

1. It is available for free.
It doesn’t cost any money to collect solar energy at all. Unlike fossil fuels or even hydropower resources, sunlight is available all over the world. Although some environments can collect higher amounts of solar power than others, just about every community on this planet can have solar panels installed that can provide at least supplemental power to a home. In high sunlight areas, enough power can be generated to get a home completely off the grid.

2. Technology is affordable and easy to install.
Solar panels have been around for some time, but it is just recently that they have started to become very affordable. For less than $500, a house can begin to collect solar energy to use for certain resources, like charging a cell phone or running a furnace. Even large panel installations can typically be completed over the course of just a day.

3. It eliminates our dependence on fossil fuels.
Although reserves of fossil fuels are consistently found, there will come a day when all of those reserves will be depleted. It takes time for fossil fuels to develop and it isn’t going to happen over the course of 100-200 years. By converting to solar power, those reserves can stay in reserve for emergencies when they are needed.

The Negatives of Solar Energy

1. It still isn’t an effective source of power generation.
Although solar energy has greatly improved over the last several years, it still isn’t as effective a source for power than fossil fuels or other renewable resources. As the world population hits 10 billion around the year 2050, more people will equate to higher demands for power. Unless technology continues to improve solar power won’t be able to take on the demand.

2. Entropy effects the power generation process.
Solar panels eventually wear out and need to be replaced. This means that the higher levels of an initial investment must be repeated, which is not true for renewable resources like hydropower or wind turbines. Some alternative energy sources can get 10x the life from their equipment when compared to solar panels.

3. It takes up a lot of space.
Solar panels are much smaller than they used to be, but they are still rather large. They will take up most of a roof and commercial solar power generation can take up an entire field.

Solar energy has the potential to do amazing things. Some of that potential, however, may still be on the horizon. By weighing the positives and negatives of this technology right now, we can all determine if it is the right investment to make today.