27 Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Cells
Solar Cell Pros and Cons
Solar cells allow us to take advantage of the unlimited energy produced by our sun.
With all of the advances getting made in solar panels and the ability to generate more power over the last few decades has become a significant source of renewable energy.
Solar energy has continued to increase in its popularity over the past few decades as a renewable energy source that can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
Keep reading to see every advantage and disadvantage I could find about adding solar energy as part of your renewable energy generating strategy.
Solar Cell and Panel Advantages
Solar Cell and Panel Pros
- 1. It is a renewable, inexhaustible, and non-polluting type of energy that contributes to sustainable development. As long as we have a sun, we can collect energy from it.
- 2. It is particularly suitable for rural or isolated areas where power lines are not available or are difficult or expensive to install. Or for geographical areas that receive many hours of sunshine per year.
- 3. It is modular, allowing us to use it in installations ranging from huge photovoltaic plants on the ground to small roof panels. Many tiny electronics like calculators also take advantage of solar cells to help provide energy to the device.
- 4. No greenhouse gases get emitted when the panels are in operation. There are no generated emissions or radiations getting generated when using solar panels.
- 5. Once the system is installed, it is easy to maintain and is generally low in maintenance.
- 6. You can begin with a small installation and continue to increase the size of your solar system overtime regularly.
- 7. Efficient use of space.
- 8. Can increase the value of your property. Houses with a solar system installed will be more valuable compared to ones that do not.
- 9. We can generate extra money by selling energy that does not get used by our home to the power grid.
- 10. Many Governments provide Rewards to people who install solar systems.
- 11. Long life span. The average solar system will typically last for 25 to 40 years.
- 12. Decentralization of Power. Adding solar power to more locations around the world helps to make small societies more self-reliant. Unlike coal, oil, and gas, solar only needs the panels transported to the area once to supply unlimited power.
- 13. Job Creation. A significant advantage of solar is the number of jobs it creates, helping the economy. In Europe, the EIAA states the solar industry is responsible for creating over 100,000 jobs already. Solar cells create jobs through manufacturing, installing, monitoring, and maintenance of the panels.
- 14. Noise. Unlike windmills, solar panels are an excellent quiet solution to help us generate more power.
Solar Cell and Panel Disadvantages
Solar Cell and Panel Cons
- 1. Intermittent during the night, you are not going to be generating any power with solar. Other weather conditions like clouds, rain, and storms all reduce the ability to generate electricity from solar.
- 2. Highly sensitive to shadows and shade. Shadows and shade can be a problem depending on where you are located and what buildings get put up around you.
- 3. Installation Cost. Getting an excellent sizeable solar system installed requires a significant financial investment upfront.
- 4. Amount of space required. To produce large amounts of energy, you need lots of room for your panels to get installed.
- 5. Off-grid solar systems require an energy storage unit on site. Extra equipment increases the cost and space requirements needed for the installation of the system.
- 6. Additional electronics (solar inverters) are required since we are generating D.C. energy. The inverters will then convert this into A.C. for use within our home.
- 7. The creation of Solar panels does result in some levels of pollution. The installation and transportation of panels are also helping to contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses.
- 8. Seasonal form of energy generation. Unlike other renewable energy sources, solar will generate less energy in different seasons of the year based on where you live. During winter, you will not be able to generate the same levels of energy compared to summertime.
- 9. Not suitable for every roof. Depending on the shape and material used on the top of your house can limit your ability to install a solar system.
- 10. Time to recoup your initial investment. On average, it takes 7 to 10 years to generate enough electricity to get back the amount of money you spent on the system.
- 11. Some maintenance is required. Depending on where your system is located, dirt and snow could collect quickly onto the panels reducing the amount of energy they can produce. To keep generating significant power, you need to make sure your panels are not covered. For some, this could be as little as once-a-year cleaning. For others, they may need to clean the panels every couple of weeks.
- 12. Solar panels are still not highly efficient. On average, a high-quality solar panel operates at an efficiency of 14 to 22 percent. Over time their efficiency will continue to increase. Solar cells are still relatively low efficiency compared to other power generation methods. While this efficiency will continue to increase over time, it would be nice if we didn't have to wait decades to get the benefits.
- 13. Disposal of panels. There is no current plan for the proper removal of the panels. Since the panels contain many toxic chemicals, it would be good to see an appropriate collection area allowing the boards to get more environmentally disposed of.
Some basics on Solar Cells
We currently are using three different types of solar cells that are getting used. The three types of solar cells in use are Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin-Film Solar P.V. Cells.
Solar cells, also known as photovoltaic solar cells, are essentially semi-conductors connected to two electrical contacts.
The solar cells absorb photons from the sun, causing some electrons to get knocked loose. The electrons then pass through the solar cell generating an electrical current.
Many low-power electronics like calculators, watches, etc., have tiny solar cells built-in, providing the needed electrical energy to function.
These same panels get used in large installations chained together, providing large amounts of energy. In larger systems, a converter gets added to convert the energy into an alternating current.
Like all power generating methods, solar has both positives and negatives. But I beleive that the benefits far outweigh the negatives over the long run.
While solar will not be a wise investment for specific situations, many people can benefit by making solar part of their renewable power-generating methods.
Even though solar cells are not the most efficient, panel makers continue to find production methods to improve their efficiency. The extended warranties provided by manufacturers also make solar cells an attractive investment.