The worldwide requirement for energy is covered today mainly by the fossil fuels: oil, natural gas and coal. But lately, the solar energy technology has been improved: solar cells are six times more efficient today than they were 30 years ago. Solar panels are becoming frequently used by residences and companies. Why? How can solar energy help the economy growth, public health and the environment? And what are the main advantages and disadvantages of owning your own energy production?
While other sources might be extremely noisy and impractical to be used in residential areas, solar cells have the advantage of being quite. It’s possible to install a PV plant everywhere. A benefit for those who want to build a PV plant next to or on the roof of their home.
– It is renewable
The Sun will not stop shining. Consequently, solar energy is considered an inexhaustible source of energy.
– Avoid pollution
Humans are overloading the atmosphere with the emissions of different gases, as CO2. CO2 is created when wood, coal, natural gas or oil are burned and is released into the atmosphere. CO2, besides the other trace gases (methane, CH4) affects the temperature of the Earth through the greenhouse effect.
The comparison to a greenhouse is thus fitting: the atmosphere with trace gases acts as the glass of a greenhouse that allows the Sun’s rays to pass into the greenhouse but holds back the internally resulting heat radiation. The result is a heating up of the greenhouse.
This is causing harmful effects for us and the planet. Meanwhile, solar energy is almost free of any emissions and with only few environment effects and hazards. A further important advantage is in the fact that there are practically no fuel costs. Increasing the use of renewable sources, such as solar energy, allow us to replace the carbon-intensive sources and reduce the global warming emissions.
– It can improve our health
The pollution caused by using coal and natural gas plants is linked with breathing problems, neurological damage, cancer and other serious problems. These negative health impacts don’t happen when we use solar energy technologies, once the solar cells can’t emit gases or generate debris.
Fossil fuel technologies are typically mechanized. Solar panels need always humans to install them. This means that more jobs are created for each unit of electricity.
– High return of the investment
Solar energy systems last over 30 years producing energy for free. When maintenance is needed, the costs are low since they use modular components, composed of numerous individual solar arrays. Even if some cell is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.
– Energy Storage
In many developing countries there is no power grid. There, a further advantage of the solar energy system can be used: their decentralized availability and utility. Thus autarchic village power supplies can be installed far from large towns without an overland grid being necessary.
Solar energy is clearly a source that will become essential. Fortunately, many obstacles to their use are manageable. There are only few disadvantages of solar energy. The sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day, even though we most use energy when it does. If we need electricity at night, we have to get it from other source or storage the extra of solar energy produced along the day.
Besides, large areas are needed in order to “collect” enough energy. This disadvantage means that typically large investment costs are incurred as the large surfaces require the use of a lot of material. But as we know, the investment is long term worth and the area is not a problem since the solar energy system can be built over buildings, rooftops, and others.