Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Solar panel and sun

What is Solar Energy?

Sunlight is a renewable energy source which can be converted into usable energy by solar panels. There are two main types of solar energy. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels directly convert solar energy into a usable form of energy using a PV cell containing a semiconductor material. CSP (concentrating solar power) on the other hand, concentrate energy from sunlight to a heat receiver which transforms energy from heat into mechanical energy, and in turn, solar thermal electricity.

Advantages of Solar Power?

  • Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source.
  • Once a solar panel is installed, solar energy can be produced free of charge.
  • Solar energy will last forever whereas it is estimated that the world’s oil reserves will last for 30 to 40 years.
  • Solar energy causes no pollution.
  • Solar cells make absolutely no noise at all. On the other hand, the giant machines utilized for pumping oil are extremely noisy and therefore very impractical.
  • Very little maintenance is needed to keep solar cells running. There are no moving parts in a solar cell which makes it impossible to really damage them.
  • In the long term, there can be a high return on investment due to the amount of free energy a solar panel can produce, it is estimated that the average household will see 50% of their energy coming in from solar panels.

 

Disadvantages of Solar Power?

  • Solar panels can be expensive to install resulting in a time-lag of many years for savings on energy bills to match initial investments.
  • Electricity generation depends entirely on a countries exposure to sunlight; this could be limited by a countries climate.
  • Solar power stations do not match the power output of similar sized conventional power stations; they can also be very expensive to build.
  • Solar power is used to charge batteries so that solar powered devices can be used at night. The batteries can often be large and heavy, taking up space and needing to be replaced from time to time.

 

Have a look at our Wind Power Infographic or read this article on the advantages and disadvantages of Wind Power.

If you are interested in reading about how Solar Energy is utilised in engineering applications, read this article on low power solenoid valves in a solar power application.

 

Alex Wall

Engineering & Manufacturing Blogger & Writer.

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  • fawad

    very nice i like it

  • Christiana

    Good blog to know about science

  • Michał Bacia

    With dropping prices of solar panels, solar energy becomes the first choice technology money wise. Having such a cost advantage the disadvantages can be easily overcome. Here is in article about that in detail: http://www.hienergypeople.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-solar-energy/

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  • hninhnim

    what difference between solar power and solar energy?

  • RolfNiebergall

    I am a former “research physicist”, now retired.I worked also on solar cells. I have a way to make a cheap and very efficient (27% or more) solar cell. I am wonder if someone will get in touch with me?

    • RolfNiebergall

      Everything has to be grown on their own their own fertilizer (in their lab), otherwise it is not good! Other countries do not have that altitude!

    • RolfNiebergall

      So far, you are right!

    • Porker

      I am from wshh and gtfo with this useless information.

  • ProcessIndustryForum

    Hi, we would love to hear more about your research into Solar Cells. Get in touch at enquiries@processindustryforum.com. It might be something we could post on our blog? Thanks, Rachel.

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  • davisana22@gmail.com

    Solar panels are too exspensive

    • RolfNiebergall

      So where computers at the beginning, how much do they cost now?

  • RolfNiebergall

    The “Disadvantages of Solar Power” are only depending on the efficiency of the solar panels (solar cells) and the sizes of batteries. The batteries getting already smaller because of electrical cars. And Solar Cells, China is spending more money on solar cells than the USA. We are spending more money on wars. We are doing better?

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  • RolfNiebergall

    That guy, very interesting what he said and true but not always the newest, spoke more with his hands and body than he really had to say! He is young and exited but “cool” heads do the experiments! I am wonder if he knows what the “efficiency” of a solar cell (panel many solar cells) is and how it is defined? I guess, he is still going to a college and just repeating what the teachers tell him.

  • RolfNiebergall

    Where do your solar cells come from?

  • Onyemeziri Maximus Ifeanyi

    I am a student of Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri Imo State in the department of Electrical/Electronic Engineering. I need help on more information about solar energy. My project topic is about solar enegy an alternative power source for rural Electrification. Please help me Thanks!

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  • Jones Beth

    Solar power is non-polluting. There is no noise given off and no by-products produced that are harmful to the environment.

  • geogeallin

    Works well no fuss, very professional. No problems and very
    happy we chose solar panel for our home and office because solar panel is very important for every home and office.

    http://www.cleanenergyco.com.au

  • http://www.re-port.in/ Re-Port

    Useful
    information shared. I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us
    nice info about solar energy advantages and disadvantages

  • Lisa Fox

    The provider of our solar panels has gone into liquidation and has been found to be in breach of a number of regulations. Where do we stand now as we had s guarantee and they were supposed to come out to check them yearly?

  • Barek Hunt

    What is a good company to work with for deep cycle batteries?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Ruelle Smith

    I agree with this post. I also believe that though there are disadvantages of solar energy it is still one of the best alternatives so far in producing free electricity. For more information please visit http://solarservicingsa.com.au

  • dipu216

    the “Disadvantages of Solar Power” are only depending on the efficiency of the solar panels (solar cells) and the sizes of batteries.

  • Zosei Dela Rosa

    hi im just new in this blog or website but im really interested in knowing more about the advantages and disadvantages that we can get from solar power
    how it works and how we can benefit from it

  • Zosei Dela Rosa

    You know Im from the Philippines and as we all know that Philippines is quiet a hot country therefore… im interested in knowing more about it so that i can advice my co fellowmen to learn to utilize the natural power from the sun