04 Sep Do Solar Panels Have Drawbacks?
Solar panels provide a pollution-free and reliable source of power. Even though the sun is one of the cleanest and most accessible of the renewable resources, many people don’t use solar panels to produce energy because they are expensive and can be inconsistent. These detractions continue to hinder solar power from becoming the leading source of energy in the world.
The following are some perceived downsides of solar panel technology today:
- Efficiency — Solar power technology has not reached the stage where production capacity is optimized. Currently, the efficiency of solar cells ranges from 20 to 40 percent, with most of the sunlight that strikes the solar panels being wasted. The creation of highly efficient photovoltaic cells, which are slightly more efficient, are even more expensive to manufacture and have yet to become a viable option for consumers.
- Cost – Most of the problems that hamper the growth of solar power in the world center around the cost of the panels. Right now, it is a lot cheaper to produce electricity using the traditional methods. Solar power is also more expensive than hydro or wind power.
- Expensive semiconductor materials — The semiconductor materials in solar panels that produce the energy are expensive to build. Additionally, they require maintenance to continue working effectively, which can also be costly.
- Installation — Installing solar panels can be pricey. Also, while a number of companies sell and install solar panels, they may not have the expertise to do a good job on the installation.
- Maintenance cost – The solar panels are by themselves expensive. The installation of the panels at home will also entail huge expenses. Add to these the costs associated with the mandatory maintenance of the connected parts. Solar panels need to be cleaned regularly because they will work less efficiently if they accumulate any dust or debris.
- Energy storage – While solar panels can produce electricity, scientists haven’t come up with a way to store excess energy for when the sun isn’t shining. Having no way to save this energy limits the usefulness of solar panels in some regions of the country, where the sun isn’t as abundant during certain times of the year.
Until solar panel technology advances and the cost of production and installation become affordable, we cannot expect to see the majority of the population embracing this source of energy.
If you need more information about the pros and cons of a solar energy system, contact Solar Engineering Group for a free, customized SunFacts report.