Many countries today are trying to utilize solar energy for their energy consumption as it is a persistent source of energy. Solar energy is an important source of renewable energy. It is basically radiant light and heat from the Sun, which is used to produce energy using different technologies. Its technologies may be broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the method used to convert it into solar power.
It is recorded that the United Nations Development Programme in its 2000 World Energy Assessment found that the annual potential of solar energy was 1,575-49,837 exajoules (EJ) which is several times larger than the total world energy consumption. Thus, it was understood that the total solar energy absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, Oceans and land masses could be used to produce energy for various purposes.
Since everything has its pros and cons, here are a few to be enlisted.
Solar energy advantages
- It is a renewable source of energy available in abundance.
- It is environment friendly assisting in preventing the planet. There is contamination of environment only during assembling the gadgets in industrial facilities, during transportation of these systems and installation, which means they are environment friendly once they are installed.
- It is a clean source of energy which is sustainable. Unlike fossil fuels which might expire in another few decades, solar energy is never going to expire.
- It involves one time investment and reduces electricity costs tremendously or even eliminates it. It is the best and the cheapest source of energy if the vision is to move towards clean energy.
- The Solar Energy power systems can be installed to provide power to a local area. It is not necessary that the local area is connected to a major power dispersing arrangement.
- Solar energy power systems can be installed on rooftops and that can be used for domestic use very conveniently. Such systems installed for residential purpose can greatly influence the value of the home. Real estates are progressively using it as a tool to advertise and increase their price value.
- It does not cause any noise pollution being virtually silent.
- In many countries the union or the state governments provide financial support for establishing solar power devices.
- It does not involve high maintenance cost.
- There are continuous researches going on to improve the technologies involved in generating solar energy thus making it eligible as the energy source of future times.
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Solar energy disadvantages or short comings
- It requires good capital initially to install a solar energy technology at home or for the purpose of industries. Although, it won’t be wrong to say that it is a smart long term investment that can reduce pollution levels and electricity bills.
- The results of solar energy depend on the weather condition thus making it an intermittent source of energy.
- The energy storage is expensive.
- To set up a solar energy device at home or a solar energy plant for an industry, it requires quite a lot of space. The space required to set up the solar power systems depends on Power Density that is, watts per square meter. This decides how much power can be derived from a certain land area.
- Pollution levels in an area can highly influence the effectiveness of solar cells installed. Thus, it does not prove effective in areas of high pollution or in other terms, in areas of high population.
- There exists some manufacturing processes which are associated with Greenhouse gas emissions like nitrogen trifluoride and Sulphur hexafluoride which have thousand times impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide.
- The transportation and installation of solar power systems is another big hassle.
- There is not much variety in the solar power systems and its storage devices, thus making it either inappropriate or costly for some, especially in developing countries.Solar Energy is no doubt the most effective form of energy in modern times. However, there exists many reasons for its being a difficult choice for major population of the world even today.