Disadvantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy is one of the most promising sources of alternative energy currently available. As solar technology has become more advanced, solar energy is becoming increasingly viable for everyday applications. Solar energy provides clean, renewable energy and can drastically reduce energy costs over time. However, solar energy does have some drawbacks, which we will discuss in further detail in this article.
Main Disadvantage #1: High Initial Costs
The biggest disadvantage to solar energy is the high cost associated with installation. While some states and countries provide incentives to help offset the installation costs, the initial costs can still be prohibitively high. The installation cost of solar systems can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size and type of system. With this in mind, it can take years to realize cost savings from an initial investment in solar technology.
Explaining Cost Decline
Thankfully, the cost of solar technology is declining as the industry expands. In fact, the cost of solar energy around the world has dropped by almost 90% since 2010, according to the International Energy Agency. This cost decline has come about largely due to advances in technology, as well as increasing economies of scale for more mature markets.
Main Disadvantage #2: Solar Energy Storage is Expensive
Another disadvantage of solar energy is the cost associated with solar energy storage. Solar energy systems do not generate power when the sun is not shining (such as at night or during cloudy days). In order to store the energy generated during sunny periods, solar systems must be equipped with energy storage systems. These storage systems are usually large and expensive lithium-ion batteries or fuel cells, which can add significantly to the cost of a solar system.
Additional Disadvantage #3: Not Suitable for Every Roof
Another drawback to solar energy is its suitability for every roof type. Not all roofs are suitable for solar panel installation, which may limit the ability of some households to install solar systems. Flat roofs are the most suitable for solar panel installation as they offer the most unrestricted exposure to direct sunlight. Shingle, tile and metal roofs can also be suitable, however they are more likely to obstruct access to direct sunlight, thus reducing the efficiency of the system.
Illustrating Roof Compatibility
As an example, the SolPad Solar Panel system is a particularly advanced solar panel system with built-in energy storage capabilities. While this system is suitable for flat roofs, due to its size and weight, it is not recommended for shingle, tile, or metal roofs.
Additional Disadvantage #4: Reliant on Sunlight
Solar energy is also highly dependent on direct sunlight, as solar systems are not able to generate electricity without sufficient sunlight. Thus, solar systems may not be able to generate sufficient electricity during the winter months when sunlight is limited. Moreover, areas which are subjected to frequent cloud cover may not be suitable for solar panel installation.
Explaining Reliance on Sun
For example, in the United Kingdom, solar radiation is highest in the summer months and lowest in the winter months. This means that solar systems will be able to generate significantly more electricity during the summer months than during the winter months. Similarly, areas which are usually hot and sunny, such as deserts, are ideal for solar panel installation.
Describing Direct Correlation with Available Electricity
It is important to recognize the direct correlation between available electricity and the efficiency of solar systems. The more electricity a system is able to generate, the less expensive it will be. Thus, in areas with limited or unpredictable sunlight, solar systems may not be cost-effective or may require additional energy storage systems to provide continuous power.
Though solar energy is steadily becoming more affordable, there are still several drawbacks associated with the technology. Solar energy systems require high initial costs, energy storage systems can be expensive, not all roof types are suitable for solar panel installation, and solar energy is heavily reliant on direct sunlight. In areas where sunlight is limited or unpredictable, solar systems may not be suitable, or may require additional energy storage systems to generate continuous power.
Recommendations/Suggestions for Further Research
Due to the many drawbacks associated with solar energy, it is recommended that further research is conducted in order to improve the efficiency and affordability of solar energy systems. Research should focus on developing more efficient and cost-effective methods for energy storage, as well as solutions to make solar technology suitable for more roof types. Additionally, research should be undertaken to develop more efficient methods for utilizing the energy generated by solar systems.
What are the 2 main disadvantages of solar energy?
The two main disadvantages of solar energy are the high initial costs associated with installation and the expensive cost of solar energy storage.