Solar - Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Solar Panels

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What are the advantages of using solar panels?

  • Clean energy: Solar power helps to slow/stop global warming. Global warming threatens the survival of human society, as well as the survival of countless species. Luckily, decades (or even centuries) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis.
  • Solar power saves you money.
  • Energy security: At the national level, the strength of our economy depends on oil, which is usually imported from other countries. If the polical relationship is good, everything is ok, but if the polical relationship is bad, our economy will suffer. While we have coal, and can burn coal to produce electricity, but this is not good for the environment. Electric cars help reduce the dependency on foreign oil, and as more and more of us shift to using electric cars, we are less dependent on foreign oil. However, our ships, trucks, and planes still use fuel that are based on oil. I am not quite sure if we can obtain complete energy security, or whether energy security is completely good for world peace.
  • Solar power creates jobs.
  • Solar power earn you money.
  • Increase your home value
  • Save money. If you lease, you save money immediately without the large upfront cost. If you buy, you have the large upfront cost, but after the payback period, you don't have to pay for the power that your panel generates.
  • Add value to your home. According to The Appraisal Journal, solar energy adds $15-$20 times yearly energy savings to resale value. So let’s say you own a home in Pennsylvania and you install a solar power system on your roof, and it ends up saving you $4000/year in electricity bills. That means your home would increase in value $60,000-$80,000. That’s more than the system will cost, so your initial investment is recouped immediately. See
  • Financial incentives and tax credits (some are expiring)
  • Adds credits to your utility account for future use. Many states have net metering guidelines they must follow when home or business-owners install energy producing equipment.

What are the disadvantages of using solar panels?

  • The sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day, and it does not shine everyday. When the sun goes down or is heavily shaded, solar PV panels stop producing electricity. If we need electricity at that time, we have to get it from some other source. In other words, we couldn’t be 100% powered by solar panels. At the very least, we need batteries to store electricity produced by solar panels for use sometime later. However, there are a couple of key things to note regarding this solar power disadvantage. Firstly, the sun actually does shine when we need electricity most. As humans (not vampires), our days more or less follow the movement of the sun. Society more or less wakes up when the sun rises. At the time of the sun’s greatest height and visibility, humans tend to be most active. At this time, we are of course using much more electricity than in the middle of the night, so electricity is in greater demand. (This also makes electricity more expensive in the middle of the day, making electricity produced from solar panels more valuable.)
  • If you live in a multi-story dwelling, it is impossible to install your own solar panel.
  • It is not accurate to say that solar is pollution free. Manufacturing and shipping the panels consumes energy and create pollution too although a lot less than fossil fuels.

You forgot about the baseload solar thermal which uses molten salts to store energy and they can generate electricity 24 hours a day. These are now in operation for a $300M test case project. It is projected to be more reliable than nuclear.

Use A Pool Cover/Blanket: If you’ve got a swimming pool, this seems like an obvious one. Get a pool blanket/cover that uses the heat from the sun to warm your pool. The financial payback time is under 1 year according to RMI.

Buy Solar Hot Water Panels For Your Pool: If you want a more high-tech and low-effort solution for heating your pool, solar hot water panels for the pool are a logical solution. Incentives for such solar panels are available in several states, and RMI projects that average financial payback time on such solar panel systems is 1.5 to 4 years. That’s an excellent payback time.

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