Use of solar energy is one of mankind’s greatest achievements and with the advance in technology the harnessing of sunshine is becoming easier everyday. Like everything else it does have it’s pros and cons. There are a number of disadvantages for using solar energy in our homes or businesses but this cannot outdo the advantages that you derive from the same.
In theory solar energy as a source of electricity is considered to have the most potential since the main source i.e the sun is virtually inexhaustible. Also solar energy causes no pollution, no carbon footprints, noise or emissions. There is however a number of things that stop solar energy from being used extensively around the globe and some of these include:
1. High initial installation costs
The cost of a solar panel is constantly on top of the list of the drawbacks using solar energy. The cost of equipment necessary to harness the sun’s radiation is very high and prohibiting for some budgets. The cost of installation is also high and it takes about 10 to 15 years before you are able to break even with your initial investment.
Solar panels are not suitable for areas that have short durations of sunshine or no sunshine at all although they still produce some power on cloudy days. In such areas you may be required to invest in a number of solar panels and this can be quite expensive. You may also be restricted to use solar power due to adjacent structures, landscape or even trees that may hinder access to the sun’s rays.
3. Area Limitations
Solar panels require a large area so that they can be efficient and this can be a disadvantage in areas with little or expensive space. This may also require that you are in a flat or favorable area where the sun’s rays strike about 5 hours a day.
If you don’t have storage batteries or if not connected to the grid then it will be impossible to power your business or home at night when the sun is not there or even on rainy days.
5. Pollution in the air
Solar panels are affected by pollution in the air and consequently their efficiency is affected. This is due to the degradation caused to the photovoltaic cells especially to the older versions of solar components.
6. Environment hazard
Most materials that make up solar panes are toxic and harmful to humans as well as animals. These include lead and sulphuric acid that are highly poisonous to marine life and if not properly damaged can lead to environmental damage, then there is cadmium a carcinogenic material that poses serious threats to health depending on how long you have been exposed to it and the mode of exposure.
Solar panels are said to be slightly above forty percent efficient meaning that sixty percent of the energy generated is lost and thus wasted. This occurs mainly due to the conversion of direct current to alternating current as solar cells only produce DC. However, there are some solar panels that are being manufactured that are able to attain about eighty percent efficiency.
8. They are an Eyesore (To Some)
Solar panels are mostly if not always installed on roofs and to ensure sufficient energy for your household, you may be required to set up several panels. This may not be to your taste as it spoils the overall look of your house. It might also be necessary to clean the panel after some time to ensure that you get enough sunlight and this might be a bit inconveniencing.
9. Many Government Subsidies Are No Longer Available
Government subsidies come and go. While they have helped to spur on the development of the industry, many of these subsidies are being faded out.