For those truly interested in adapting their homes to running on solar power, research is key. As with any large purchase, it is wise to look into all facets of this alternative energy. Sooner or later, you will run across an article expounding the advantages of solar power; then, you will notice another that describes all the disadvantages of solar energy. It is important to understand both sides before investing in this technology. In my opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Here are just a few of the positive aspects of going solar:
1. Sunshine is free, clean energy. No burning of fossil fuels means less pollution overall, and a smaller carbon shoe size for you.
2. With a grid-tied installation, not only will you be using free electricity on sunny days, but a residential solar power system can help defray its own initial costs by allowing you to sell your excess electricity to the local utility.
3. Off-grid systems allow those who live in remote areas without conventional power lines to have all the ammenities of modern life by storing power for use on days when the sun isn't shining.
Disadvantages of Solar Power
Though fewer, the disadvantages of solar must also be considered. For instance:
1. Costs can be steep, especially for off-grid systems. Over time, however, the savings from not paying utility bills will offset the price of the solar array. For very large systems, however, this could take many years.
2. Efficiency can be low if your home is not perfectly suited to take advantage of the sun's rays. Shading cuts efficiency of even the best solar panels, though newer products perform better than older panels. Panels can be installed on ground-mounted units, instead of on the roof, to make better use of sunlight. This type of installation is more expensive, however.
3. Some developments don't allow solar arrays due to their appearance. New technology in the form of flexible solar panels made into roof shingles can allay this concern and also cover much more roof area than panels would for approximately the same cost.
Other Benefits of Solar Energy
As you can see, there are definite advantages and disadvantages of solar energy. There are additional benefits, however, that go beyond just those affecting the homeowner involved:
1. Solar energy decreases our dependence on foreign oil with each new system that is installed.
2. Solar power is safe, unlike the dangerous nuclear energy industry. There are no radioactive "leaks", and no nasty, toxic byproducts that must be stored indefinitely.
3. No earth-maiming activities such as drilling and fracking occur with solar power systems. These actions cause pollution in and of themselves, such as toxic run-off and pollution of groundwater supplies.
It seems obvious that the positive aspects of solar power production easily outweigh any negative ones. With solar becoming more mainstream, the disadvantages of solar power will slowly fade as its advantages become more and more apparent.