Before You Go Solar… Consider the Arguments For & Against
Solar power is a hot topic these days, as plenty of people are interested in reducing their carbon footprint, and not having an electric bill sounds pretty enticing as well. Of course, if it were that simple, everyone would already have solar power.
So, what’s stopping them?
Solar Power: The Pros
- The biggest advantage of solar power is obvious! The sun is a limitless source of free energy, unlike oil and coal, both of which we have a large, but still, finite supply.
- Solar power systems also produce no emissions while they are in operation, and that’s a big plus as well.
- Going solar can save you money, once you’ve made the initial investment and passed the break-even point, of course.
- If you live in a remote location which is off the power grid, the cost of installing a solar system is likely less than the cost of laying power lines.
- Solar systems tend to be very low maintenance, usually just requiring a simple, occasional cleaning.
- Solar power systems are quiet, and can typically be installed on rooftops, so they don’t take up much room. Because of these factors, they tend to
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be fairly unobtrusive.
- The cost of solar is coming down, and the efficiency is going up. Both of these things are due to advances in solar technology, which show no signs of slowing.
- Steps are being taken to minimize the environmental impact of solar panel production.
Solar Power: The Cons
- While the costs have fallen in recent years, the cost of installing a solar system for your home or business can still be pretty daunting. You should eventually make your money back and start making a profit, but that can take some time.
- Solar panels have varying efficiency, due to weather conditions, making it difficult to know exactly how much energy you’ll be able to generate.
- Solar panels don’t generate electricity at night, so, depending on certain variables, they don’t always generate power when it is most needed.
- The manufacture, installation, and disposal of solar systems is not without environmental impact. For example, toxic chemicals are used in the manufacture of the panels, and the production of some of the components, such as silicon, requires large amounts of energy, most of which is currently supplied by fossil fuel.
As time passes, technology advances, and solar power is becoming a much more viable means of producing electricity. True, there are some bugs that need to be worked out, but the overall environmental impact of solar power is lower than its non-renewable counterparts.[Photo Credit: buildsolarpanelsforthehome.com]