The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is quite high. Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system decreases. Since the cost of electricity increases between 3% and 5% each year, you may be considering alternative energy sources, such as solar energy. But before you install a solar system in your home, you need to weigh some of the main disadvantages.
If you're in a prime location, you'll be lucky enough to get a conversion rate of more than 22%, with the best and most expensive technology available. This means that residents in places like Canada and Russia are at a solar disadvantage. However, in places like Hawaii, where they have an average of 277 days a year of rain and clouds, their location at the equator is irrelevant because they simply don't have enough clear sunlight to reach the ground. For homeowners who want to install solar panels, the installation area is not going to be that important, especially when most of the time they are installed on the roof.
However, large companies that want to produce a lot of energy will need a very large installation area to provide electricity on a consistent basis. The largest solar field is located in Spain and sits on 173 acres and provides power to nearly 12,000 homes. That's 173 acres of land that can't be used for anything else, like grazing animals. According to Northwestern University's Qualitative Reasoning Group, most solar panels in people's homes convert only 14% of their available energy into energy.
Even today's most efficient solar panels convert only 22% of their available energy into energy. According to the second law of thermodynamics, solar cells will never achieve 100% efficiency. The highest theoretical maximum efficiency is 85%, and that's with mirrors and motors to follow the sun. For a system that does not track the sun, the highest theoretical maximum efficiency is only 55%.
The same goes for systems that track the sun on cloudy days. Thinking about the installation area, land use by solar fields can be massive and, unlike wind energy, sharing land for agricultural uses is not an option. Solar energy also affects land use when it comes to mining and the production of the materials needed to produce photovoltaics. Compounds found in solar panels include cadmium and lead, extremely toxic metals.
A number of other toxic and hazardous materials are used in the production of solar panels, including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium diselenide, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and acetone. Solar energy is a proven reliable energy source compared to conventional energy sources that use fossil fuels. In addition, the cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 70 percent in the last decade, the cost of electricity has increased by about five percent, and the trend of rising electricity costs is expected to continue. However, as most governments seek to anticipate the severe impacts of global warming, they have contacted solar panel manufacturers to reduce solar panel prices.
Solar panels are durable and do not require much maintenance, other than being cleaned a couple of times a year. These costs include solar panels, inverter, mounting hardware and wiring, installation, permits, repairs, monitoring and maintenance costs, and additional operating and overhead costs. In addition to the cost of replacing solar panels, damaged ones must be handled and disposed of properly due to the toxic compounds used inside them. Solar energy is an inexhaustible source of energy with the greatest potential, since it will continue to produce solar energy as long as the sun is there.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels directly convert solar energy into a usable form of energy using a photovoltaic cell containing a semiconductor material. This great benefit of solar panels is quite simple: when you install solar energy in your home, you generate your own electricity, you rely less on your electricity company and reduce your monthly electricity bill. Like everything else left in the sun, solar panels will suffer deterioration from ultraviolet rays. For a young homeowner who could move in the next few years, placing solar panels on their roof might seem like an unworthy investment.
While installing solar panels would bring immense long-term benefits, the upfront costs can be punitive. When considering investing in solar energy, it's important to weigh the pros and cons in relation to your home, geography and climate, and unique needs. Unlike other types of alternative energy, such as wind energy, which requires large open spaces with extensive wind changes, and hydropower, which needs a large source of water, solar energy can be used essentially in all environments. Things like wind, hail, snow, dirt and temperature fluctuations are also serious threats to solar panels.