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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

We’re big advocates of solar energy, but we recognize that it’s not for everyone.

While solar power is renewable and cheaper than utility power in the long run, it requires a significant upfront investment, and not every area is suitable for solar panels.

The ultimate question is whether the advantages of solar outweigh the disadvantages.

In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of solar energy so you can decide whether or not to go solar.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar Energy?

Advantages of solar energy

01- Energy independence

Public electricity limits those who want to live away from the grid, such as in remote mountainous areas. Solar energy can generate electricity in places where power lines are difficult to deliver.

Generating electricity with complete autonomy is liberating. As the cost of utility power rises, the use of less expensive renewable energy sources for decades to come also makes low-carbon living a reality.

02- Save money on your electricity bill

When you have a photovoltaic system, you can reduce your electricity bill or turn the electricity generated into a regular monthly income.

Even if you take out a loan to install a distributed photovoltaic system, although it extends your payback period, you can still enjoy the visible benefits of solar power from the moment your PV system is connected to the grid.

03- Sustainability

Sustainable energy is an energy source that we can use without consuming energy. Oil and gas are not sustainable because we consume these resources while using them.

In contrast, solar energy is sustainable because the sun is constantly replenished and shines on the Earth every day. We can use solar energy without worrying if we are depleting the earth’s natural resources for future generations.

24 hours uninterrupted power supply solution

04- Low Maintainable Costs

Distributed photovoltaic systems do not have complex and varied electrical components. As a result, they rarely break down or require maintenance at all times to keep them running optimally.

Solar panels have a lifespan of 25 years, and as technology advances and more solar panels last longer, you will hardly ever need to repair or replace them.

All that is required is regular cleaning of the gray layer on the PV panels and inspection of the surface for breakage. Inverters are usually replaced at least once during the life of a solar energy storage system, as they typically have a lifespan of 8-12 years.

More ways to improve the conversion efficiency of your inverter can be found here. Next, if you need energy storage batteries for nighttime or rainy day backup.

In particular, lead-acid storage colloid batteries must be checked regularly (every 3 months), and even lithium iron phosphate batteries need to be considered for replacement during their life cycle (12-15 years).

Grid-connected PV systems do not need to be equipped with storage batteries, so they are much cheaper to maintain or replace.

Gel battery and lithium LFP battery

05- Enhancing the added value of solar installations for homeowners

Studies of distributed rooftop PV have demonstrated that factory floor temperatures can be reduced by 4-5 degrees Celsius in the summer in factories equipped with solar systems.

In winter, the PV panels on the roof also provide insulation, raising the indoor temperature by at least 3-5 degrees compared to the outdoor area.

In other words, solar energy can also save a large portion of air-conditioning costs for enterprises. With a two-pronged approach, it’s that simple for businesses to save money.

Disadvantages of solar energy

01- Large upfront investment

Installing a photovoltaic system is expensive, at least upfront. An average household’s monthly electricity bill is about $200-500 USD, and if you install a 20KW solar system on the roof of your home you will need to spend about $12,000 USD.

A manufacturing company that installs a 500KW distributed PV system on the roof of their workshop will need to spend around $500,000 USD. Although in the long run (2-3 years), after realizing the return on investment, i.e. start enjoying the benefits of free sunlight for a long time (25 years).

But that doesn’t change the fact that not everyone or business has the big bucks to develop such a project.

Upfront costs are the main obstacle to distributed PV. Financing options are available, and the returns are quite favorable, even when interest and payback periods are taken into account.

02- The ground area occupied

A 580W solar panel with dimensions of 2278 x 1134 x 30mm will require an area of about 2.6m2.

If you need a 100kW solar panel system, then they will occupy about 450m2 of land, which of course would otherwise be unutilized, at least for the time being.

Commercial and industrial distributed PV plants, on the other hand, choose roof-racking structures to build their plants, as they utilize the roofs of buildings and unused space.

Ground area occupied

03- High cost of electrical energy storage

The storage battery is the most expensive component of a solar storage system.

Not all PV systems require batteries, but when in a scenario where the utility grid is interrupted, batteries become a necessity. Similarly, factories that need backup power need these storage batteries.

04- Not all buildings can have a solar system installed

Some roofs are simply too narrow to find space for a PV square.

Others are shaded from the sunlight needed to produce enough energy. While there are technologies like shadow optimizers and tracking axes to alleviate these problems, there are only limited ways to increase some PV efficiency.

If you don’t have a place to put solar panels, then developing a PV system will be a real challenge.

Currently, solar carports and photovoltaic sunrooms are more established examples of combined PV buildings. Or click on the orange font for more inspiration.

Not all buildings can have a solar system installed
Zoey Zhao is a content developer at PVMARS Solar. She has a BA in English and a MA in Journalism. Prior to joining PVMARS, Zoey worked as a writer for various brands in the automotive and construction industries. She is passionate about sustainability and is currently exploring all things renewable!

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PVMARS Solar will set up 120 energy user service centers around the world. It will provide on-site investigation, design drawings, solar energy storage system solutions, transportation of goods, assist you to import solar energy storage system, installation services, and continue to cooperate with local engineers, exclusive agents and foreign merchants.

We sincerely hope to work with like-minded partners. Win-win cooperation to achieve harmonious coexistence between mankind and nature.

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