What is solar energy?
Solar energy can be simply referred as an energy provided by the sun which is in the form of solar radiation creating possibilities in the production of solar electricity.
Electricity can be generally produced directly from photovoltaic cells which are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect” i.e. when the sun rays hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell which makes them to flow because of which the electricity is generated. Solar energy is mainly produced during the day particularly during hot days when air-conditioners drive up electricity.
Australia is known as the sunniest countries in the world so it has huge potential for solar PV to make a significant contribution to electricity generation.
Pros of Solar Energy
The solar energy available is a renewable energy source which ultimately means that the people cannot run out of solar energy unlike the non-renewable energy sources.
People can have the access to solar energy for another more 6.5 billion years according to NASA.
- Good Availability:
Solar energy can be said as the mostly used energy which is easily available all over the world. Not only the countries closer to the Equator but also the countries far away have highest capacity of solar power in the world.
With being abundant and renewable the solar energy source is also very sustainable. This energy source meets the need of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. There isn’t any way that people can over-consume or over use the solar energy.
- Environmentally Friendly
Excessive use solar energy does not cause any kind of pollution. However, there are some emissions which are related with the manufacturing, transportation and installation of solar power systems which is nothing in comparison to most conventional energy sources.
- Reduces Electricity Costs
Using a solar energy, the homeowners can reduce their overall electricity expenses as solar energy produce more electricity than what they actually consume. It is calculated that adding solar panels to your home can bring in monthly savings of well above $100 in many states. As a result many homeowners choose leasing or power purchase agreements to finance their solar panels.
- Used in various purposes
Solar energy is used for different purposes such as generating electricity in places that have no grid connection, for distilling water in different places, or even to power satellites in space.
- Shared Solar
Because of lack of proper sunshine, shading, insufficient space and ownership issues, many American homes are unfit for solar panels. Due to improper sun rays distribution, people have introduced shared solar system, so the homeowners can subscribe to “community solar gardens”, and generate solar electricity with no solar panels on their own rooftops.
- Financial Support
The effective costs of solar panels are much less than the price before it used to be. Also in some cases, the price of a residential photovoltaic system can be cut more than 50%. Hence, government and state rebates have become available both on utility-scale and for the majority of homeowners.
- Low Maintenance
The attached solar power systems do not require a lot of maintenance. The solar panels require cleaning a couple of times a year. And in most of the cases, serious solar manufacturers ship 20- or 25-year warranties with their solar panels.
Technological improvements are being made in the solar power industry with new innovation in nanotechnology and quantum physics with the potential to triple the electrical output of solar panels.
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Cons of Solar Energy
The price range of solar panels is among the most debatable aspect on the entire solar energy pros and cons list. The solar panel used to be very expensive in back days but nowadays, the best solar panels can in many situations be cheaper than buying electricity from the utility. This has been made possible by its incentives.
Solar energy is not the first choice of any people when it comes to meeting the base load energy demand because it is an intermittent energy source. Its access to sunlight is very limited at certain times i.e. morning and day time and during the overcast days it can be difficult.
- Energy Storage is Expensive
The technologies used for energy storage systems such as batteries to help smoothen out demand and load, making solar power more stable is quite expensive.
However, there are good correspondence between the access to solar energy and human energy demand. The electricity demand of the people increases in the middle of the day, the same time when there is a lot of sunlight!
- Exotic Materials
Some solar cell is made up of materials that are expensive and rarely found in nature. It is common among the thin-film solar cells which is based on either cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).
- Associated with Pollution
Though solar energy is less known for pollution in comparison to fossil fuels, some problems do exist. The manufacturing processes of the panels are associated with greenhouse gas emissions. Some harmful gases Nitrogen trifluroide and sulfur hexafluoride has been traced during the production of solar panels. These are among the most harmful greenhouse gases which have many thousand times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide. As a result, the transportation and installation of solar power systems can also somewhat indirectly cause pollution.
- Requires Space
For solar panels to be kept in a house, the power density, or watt per square meter (W/m²) should be considered when looking at the amount of power which can be derived from a certain area of real estate of an energy source.