Pros and Cons of Solar Power
The Upsides and Drawbacks of Installing a System at Home
The sun can provide an unlimited source of energy. With the current crisis the world is facing, it should be time to take measures to contribute positively to the environment, and make use of the natural source of energy the sun can give. Solar power is becoming more popular to use, because it is an energy source which can be harnessed without any harmful environmental activities involved. It isn’t an impossible task to produce solar power because the sun will always be available throughout the year. As with most things, as great as the concept may be, there are upsides and drawbacks of solar power.
The Good Stuff
Solar power does not emit harmful byproducts which can contribute to the current climate change. Clean energy is produced from solar power that it is possible to use it anywhere without any problem. The sunlight is a renewable energy source and you can really benefit from it as long as the sun shines wherever you are. Since the energy source is renewable -or more accurately, unending, you will reduce your dependence on the utility company. You won’t have to pay the utility company anymore (or will pay much less dependent upon how much power you generate) since you have your very own electric power source.
Imagine how great a way to save money. Aside from being able to save some cash, you will also be supporting the green movement. By using solar generated power, you will have a smaller ‘carbon footprint’ as they say. Also, solar power systems do not require regular maintenance to keep it running. Most of the parts could last as long as 15 years or more without the need for regular maintenance. Most solar systems, however, depend upon a battery to store power when the sun shines for use during hours of darkness or in cloudy conditions when less power might be generated. Batteries do require periodic maintenance, which is minimal.
Solar power systems are not perfect. In life there is usually a disadvantage for each advantage and this applies to everything in general. The main downside is the fact that having a solar power system installed can be very expensive. It would cost about $10,000-$20,000 to have the system installed. That is affordable to many but clearly not for everyone. For those that cannot is why we have utility companies to rely upon for the power we need to keep our lights on.
Another factor – solar power requires energy from the sun, obviously. As mentioned above, the reason for the battery -in certain regions and perhaps during certain seasons, there might be a few days in a row when the sun is behind the clouds. The battery may not have enough stored power to bridge the gap between sunny days. During these times it is comforting to know that you can buy power from the local utility company.
If you consider both sides of solar power, you may see a viable option to reduce your dependence on the electric utility company. Affordability is key, I think. There is a definite ’payback’ period or, ‘return on investment’ (ROI), after which the power is virtually acquired at no cost, save some minor periodic maintenance on the battery. In sunnier climes, like Arizona, the ROI will be shorter than, say, locations like the northeast U.S. where the percentage of sunny days (annually) is smaller.
Some people who might view hiring a contractor to install a system as not affordable, may be able to do the installation themselves. The materials are available, as is the instruction and guidance. One such tutorial is the Earth4Energy system for people who are handy with tools and like to do things for themselves. Not only can you receive instruction on how to install solar panels -you can learn to assemble the units rather than buy them.
As is usually the case, by doing it yourself, you can save money on the labor and profit -costs that would be included in a contractor’s price. The savings realized would also be, in part, on the solar panels themselves. Rather than buying manufactured units, you can assemble your own.
Another factor to improve the ROI or to shorten the payback period is to implement measures to reduce your energy consumption.
Examine the info about the Earth4Energy program and see if it is a project you can see yourself taking on. The pros and cons of solar power -weigh them and see which way it tips.
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View the video for a up-close look at a small residential system.
Comments or questions are welcome.