What Are The Disadvantages To Solar Energy?
- Location & Sunlight Availability
People are at a solar disadvantage in countries like Canada and Russia. But, in areas like Hawaii where rain and clouds equal 277 days a year, their location to the equator is irrelevant because they just don’t have enough unclouded sunlight reaching the ground. The solar effectiveness also depends on the season. You can produce more energy in the summer than you need because the sun is angled closer to your place. While the sun is turned away from your position in the winter, this makes it so that you can’t generate enough energy to meet your needs. Like everything else left in the sun, the ultraviolet rays will cause solar panels to deteriorate. Even serious threats to solar panels are issues like wind, water, snow, rain, and temperature fluctuations.
- Installation Area
The construction area will not be that big of a deal for homeowners who want to install solar panels, particularly when they are installed on the roof most of the time. Big companies, however, who want to produce a lot of power will need a very wide infrastructure area to reliably supply electricity. The largest solar field in Spain is situated on approximately 173 acres, providing power to almost 12,000 households. It’s 173 acres of land that can’t be used for anything else, such as grazing animals.
Because solar energy depends on the sun, it is not possible to generate electricity during the night, requiring either to store excess energy produced during the day or to link to an alternative power source such as the local utility grid. It means you’ll have to pay more in addition to the high solar panel prices. Clouds and storms often limit the amount of energy that you can create by blocking light rays that the solar panel would otherwise have absorbed.
According to Northwestern University’s Qualitative Reasoning Team, most solar panels on people’s homes turn just 14 percent of their available energy into electricity. Even the most efficient solar panels of today transform just 22% of their available energy into electricity. Solar cells will never achieve 100 percent efficiency according to the second law of thermodynamics. The highest theoretical maximum efficiency is 85 percent, which is followed by the sun with mirrors and motors. For a system that does not track the sun, the highest theoretical maximum efficiency is only 55%. The same is true for systems that track the sun on cloudy days.
- Pollution & Environmental Impact
Soil and water use and degradation, habitat loss, and use of highly hazardous materials in the manufacturing process are the environmental impacts associated with solar power. Thinking back to the installation area, solar field land use can be huge, and unlike wind power, sharing land for agricultural use is not an option. Solar power also impacts land use when it comes to mining and manufacturing of photovoltaic products. Cadmium and lead, which are extremely toxic metals, are among the compounds found in solar panels. In the manufacture of solar panels there are a range of other harmful and dangerous materials, including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and acetone.
- Expensive Energy Storage
Many regard storing vast amounts of electrical energy as the single biggest barrier to industrial-scale solar power generation. The choices for storing solar energy as electrical energy are currently very costly for battery storage.
- High Initial Cost
It costs between $15,000 and $29,000 to generate between 4kW and 8KW of power on average size systems. Those costs include solar panels, inverters, equipment and cable assembly, installation, approvals, repairs, costs of monitoring and maintenance, and other operating and overhead costs. You may note that this does not include an additional cost of battery storage device. Unless you intend to offset your energy needs by connecting to the local energy grid, battery storage systems are not needed.
Considering Going Solar? Solar Harmonics is Here to Help
Most of our clients are looking for a company they can trust to help them go solar. Based on our decade in business, online reviews, and Diamond Certification, Solar Harmonics is the best choice to trust to complete your solar project on time, on budget, and with the expected results. It is our mission to design the best value solar panel system that produces reliably over the next 30 – 40 years, and saves the most money for our clients. If the financial goals of our clients intersects with the global and environmental goals of our founder, it is a win for everyone except the utility companies. Contact us today for your free quote!