Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Solar Energy Advantages Disadvantages

Solar energy is being talked about by everyone from the media to the Obama administration. Why is everyone so interested in solar energy? This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.  There are many advantages that have so many people excited, but there are also a number of disadvantages. Luckily, many of the disadvantages can be overcome with some know-how if you are willing to put in some work yourself.


Never-ending source of energy

Solar energy comes from the sun so there is no end to the amount of energy that can be generated. The sun is producing energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  There is a limited supply of fossil fuels like oil, gasoline and natural gas, but we won’t run out of solar energy until the sun disappears and by then we’ll have a lot bigger things to worry about than how to run air conditioners!  As we use more and more oil, and oil becomes scarcer and scarcer, the price will continue to rise.  For solar energy, the opposite is true! Solar energy will never run out and as technology gets better and better, the cost of producing solar power will actually continue to go down.

Free energy

As long as the sun keeps shining, energy from the sun will be free. While there is an upfront cost for solar cells and equipment, there is no ongoing cost aside from maintenance of the equipment and possibly battery replacement.  With enough solar panels, you can completely disconnect from the power grid and never again pay an electric bill.  This is called off grid living.  Some people choose to stay connected to the grid, produce more electricity than they use and the electric company actually pays them!

No greenhouse gasses

If you are concerned about global warming, solar power is the answer!  Unlike fossil fuels like oil and gas, solar electricity produces no greenhouse gasses whatsoever.  Want to reduce your carbon footprint?  Solar power is an excellent way to do it.  Solar  electricity generates no CO2 or emissions of any kind.

Reduce dependence on foreign oil

Many people consider dependence on foreign oil to be one of the biggest security threats today.  Solar energy reduces our dependence on foreign oil.  Any electricity produced domestically will directly replace energy that currently comes from foreign oil.  Creating more power from solar electricity is an excellent way to reduce dependence on foreign oil.


Initial cost

Probably the number 1 disadvantage to solar electricity is initial cost.  While the ongoing costs of solar electricity are very small, the initial cost of solar panels can be quite high.  If you have the know-how, you can reduce the initial cost a great deal by building your own solar panels.  This guide can show you how to do it.


You need enough space for solar panels and, in addition, the solar panels need a clear view of the southern sky.  For houses, solar panels are usually located on the roof, but solar panels can be located on the ground.  For maximum efficiency, it is best for the solar panels to be built to turn to face the sun throughout the day.

Works best in areas that receive a lot of sun

In additional to needing space and a clear view of the southern sky, for maximum efficiency, it is best for solar panels to be located in a part of the world that gets a lot of sun.  There are solar maps that show average sun for different areas.  If a solar panel is located in an area with double the score, it will produce, on average, double the electricity with the same size panel.  Just because you live in an area with a low score, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use solar electricity, it just means you will need larger solar panel space to produce the required amount of electricity.

As you can see, there are solar energy advantages and disadvantages.  I think you’ll agree, though, that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.  One way to avoid many of the disadvantages is to build your own solar panels.  For a great guide to building your own solar panels, including including diagrams and videos

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