Top 7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The traditional energy sources from fossil fuels have brought severe climate change in the shape of pollution, natural calamities, and diseases. In terms of achieving net-zero emissions, solar energy is a revolutionary, eco-friendly, and renewable form of energy that is beneficial for both domestic and commercial use.

Additionally, solar energy's abundance, affordability, and cost-effectiveness make it an optimal energy source. With these scores of positives, is solar energy the future of the world? Well, it cannot be answered with a simple yes or no because it needs high investments, suitable weather conditions, and many considerable measures that are highly debatable.

Before investing in and installing solar power systems at home or work, understanding their pros and cons is crucial, and this article will list the top 7 advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.  Let's learn more about it.

What does solar energy mean?

solar energy

Solar energy is a renewable source of energy derived from sunlight and converted into thermal or electrical power. It has been used for ages by Egyptian Africans to store the heat of the sun to warm their homes.

Te revolutionary reforms in the energy field have advanced this process to turn the sun's heat energy into electricity that is used to power lights, motors, heavy machinery, transportation, and many more.

The world has witnessed a tremendous increase in demand and production of solar energy because the energy obtained from fossil fuels emits carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases, bringing hazardous climate change globally.

From 2010 to 2020, solar power production transcended 22% of total energy growth. Asian countries, especially China and India, are promoting this initiative at the national level as their large populations demand a high power supply to meet their needs. 

Many European countries are also adopting this renewable energy as it is cheap and eco-friendly. However, there are some benefits and drawbacks associated with it. Let’s delve into their details.

7 Advantages of Solar Energy

Gone are the times when fossil fuels were the primary source of power production around the globe. Catastrophic havoc inflicted by climate change in recent years has made the effects of fossil fuels glaring, and thus, the demand for solar power as renewable energy is continuously on the rise. 

Below discussed are what that solar energy has to offer:

1. Solar is a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Resource

Sun has been available since the inception of planet Earth. As solar energy is derived directly from the sun, this makes it ever-available and sustainable. This renewable energy resource is virtually inexhaustible and consistent in producing direct electricity.

Unlike fossil fuels, which are limited and difficult due to geopolitical bondages that impact their price and supply as well, solar energy is limitless and sustainable. Indeed, it is a constant resource of energy that will never run out. 

2. Solar is an Abundant and Endless Source of Energy

The University of California says that the earth absorbs almost 70% of solar energy every year, which is around 3.85 million exajoules. In simple terms, this means that one hour of solar energy converted into electrical energy would be enough to power the whole globe for one complete year. Indeed, the sun is the biggest, oldest, and brightest natural source of energy.

Additionally, with the current advancement of technology, solar energy can be generated and stored in batteries to use at night, making it worth buying. 

3. Solar Powe Syetems are Cost-effective with Minimal Maintenance

Though solar power installations are costly to start with, overall, it is cheaper compared to other energy resources. Initially, a set of solar panels, shingles, and a solar generator are required to convert solar DC energy into AC power. A battery is optional but a significant device to store excessive amounts of energy to use at night.

Further talking about their price, these are reducing with time as more industries are manufacturing these power systems to make them easy and cost-effective for everyone.

Moreover, they require very little to zero maintenance.

4. Solar Energy Reduces Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most significant advantages of renewable solar power is its minimal carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. It is a carbon-smart power source that avoids direct carbon emissions, like mining and compressing fossil fuels. Moreover, it saves planet Earth from excessive heat production of greenhouse gases. 

As per some sources, a coal power system emits 25%, and a natural gas power system produces 10% of dangerous emissions, as compared to 0% of emissions from solar power. 

Furthermore, when comparing solar energy with thermal power plants, it uses a minimal amount of water compared to thermal power plants using steam from water turbines.

5. Solar Energy Reduces Electricity Bill

solar power

Solar power is the best alternative energy for home and business consumers when inflation and energy prices are skyrocketing. In the daytime, it works smoothly and produces enough electricity to meet all electrical needs. 

For night use, solar batteries store a good amount of electricity to fulfill all the necessities in the absence of the sun. Additionally, solar power system reduces the reliance on electricity from the grid and considerably reduce the bill over time.

One important point to consider here is the selection of a good solar generator that can support your daytime consumption needs plus also generates extra energy to be stored by batteries and used at night. Though multiple variable are available in the market and claims to be the best, we recommend the BLUETTI Solar Generator Kit. This system is widely praised and tested by many homeowners and is among the best sellers of BLUETTI. 

6. Mutual Community Advantages with SRECs

Solar renewable energy credits allow solar energy suppliers a benefit to sell excessive amounts of solar power to the state. For this purpose, electricity suppliers need credit certificates to fulfill the requirements of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards to sell extra electricity to the grid and get paid, leading to additional cost savings. 

7. Home Value Increases with Solar Power Installation

Solar power does not only supply you with energy but also boosts overall cost estimates of your home. As per some estimates, house with installed solar systems has their resale value increased by four percent compared to non-solar houses.

This further makes solar energy systems worth investment with their multiple extraordinary benefits.

7 Disadvantages of Solar Energy 

Everything with advantages has some disadvantages, too, and solar systems are not an exception in this case. 

Below discussed are some viable considerations that must be mooted before making your final decisions.

1. Solar Energy is Costly for Residential Use

solar power

The advancement in solar technologies, improving and flourishing industries, making solar installation systems low-priced and easier to access. However, the initial solar panel installation cost is still high for domestic household use.  A solar setup requires costly solar panels, batteries, wiring, and an inverter with a massive cost of installation of the system. 

Only the batteries cost up to 5,000 USD, and a total of $18000 to $20,000 is required to install a solar energy setup for a household. However, recently, we have witnessed a drastic change in the prices of panels and batteries that are getting cheaper daily. 

2. Solar Energy Depends on Weather 

A solar system totally relies on sunlight to produce electricity, making it vulnerable to weather variations. Power production can fluctuate during cloudy, rainy, and snowy days. The quality of sunlight, the placement of panels, and the location all matter a lot to get the optimum amount of electricity. 

Although cloudy sunlight can produce some electricity, it cannot be equally sufficient and efficient for cold countries where the sun is not regularly shining. Even hot countries can suffer from rainy weather for some continuous time period, which can cause severe shortages of electricity if no backup is planned.

3. Difficult Solar Panel Installation

Installing solar panels is a risky and complex task. The location and position of panels matter a lot for better results. Connecting wires among panels and attaching them to batteries demands lots of time and professional skills. 

Another issue with installation is that you will have to stay in that house for many years to enjoy your investment. However, portable storage batteries can help you in this regard to transport your whole solar power system with you. It, too, requires funds to detach, shift, and reinstall to a new place without damaging the system.

While talking about portable storage batteries, BLUETTI  Portable power stations are best recommended for this purpose.

bluetti power station

4. Solar Energy Storage Can be expensive

Solar batteries are the most important part of the solar power system. As solar energy can only be obtained in daylight, solar batteries are needed to store excessive amounts of electricity to be used at night or in case of bad weather conditions and blackouts. 

However, the cost depends on the size, type, and quality of the battery. The two most used variables of batteries are Lithium-ion batteries and Nickel-based batteries. They range from $7000 to $14000, each with its own limitations of capacity and lifespan. 

5. Environmental Downside of Solar Energy

Although solar energy does not directly emit carbon and greenhouse gases, the mining for manufacturing material of solar panels produces a considerable minimal amount of carbon. 

Secondly, solar panel installation requires a lot of space on a broader level. Large-scale solar setups can occupy huge land areas, competing with natural and agricultural habitats. 

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6. Solar Products are Difficult to Recycle

The disposal of solar panels is also complex and hazardous, as it involves dangerous glass and metals that need careful consideration to keep the environment clean. The U. S. Environmental Protection Energy (EPA) says that disposal is difficult because the recycling industry is not developed enough to reuse old products. 

However, there are multiple ongoing researchers aimed at finding suitable ways to commercialize recycling. This will facilitate the consumers economically and expand the solar system paradigm to a larger scale.

7. Scarcity of Raw Material

Manufacturing of solar panels requires specific materials that are obtained by mining. Though sunlight is abundant, the required raw materials are not enough to manufacture solar products economically to make them available for every household around the globe. 

Additionally, the high demand for solar installations requires excessive mining to obtain raw materials that have deleterious environmental impacts.

The Bottom Line

The article has comprehensively discussed various pros and cons of solar energy. However answer to the question “should we invest in solar panels?” is simply yes because of its renewability, environmental friendliness, and potential to achieve a self-reliant energy future. 

To reach zero carbon emissions, solar energy is the best option. It emits a very minimal amount of carbon and greenhouse emissions. Its initial costly investment is a long-term savior from electricity bills and adds value to your house or property. 

However, it is necessary to acknowledge its limitations, such as weather dependency, initial high cost, and considerable land requirement. However, technological advancement can even eliminate these minimal issues to achieve a clean, green, and bright world.