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Fundamental Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Apr 03,2022

Humans are predictable when it comes to using natural resources to produce an immense amount of electricity. The growing population has led us to experiment with various natural resources, exhaustible and inexhaustible, to produce large amounts of electricity. But due to the high population, the exhaustible resources will become extinct. Therefore solar energy has been trending to produce electricity for residential and commercial purposes. 

In this blog, we will understand the advantages of solar energy and its cons that a person should know before utilizing it. 

What is Renewable Energy?

The sources that occur naturally and can replenish are renewable energy sources. Solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal energy are just a few examples.

Engineers these days are working towards proving the means to use these resources sustainably. That’s why a renewable energy resource is also known as Green Energy or Clean Energy. 

A renewable energy resource, like solar energy, is recyclable, does not release pollutants, and comes from natural resources. Thus it is one of the many advantages of solar energy.  

How to Use Solar Energy Work?

One of the major benefits of solar energy is that it’s inexhaustible and is obtained via “electromagnetic radiation from the sun”. The electricity and heat are generated which makes solar energy more reliable and a sustainable source for free! 

There are most common types of solar energy: 

  • Photovoltaic solar energy (to produce electricity) 

  • Solar thermal energy (to heat water)

  • Passive solar energy (takes advantage of the sunlight)

However, in Pakistan, photovoltaic solar energy technology is most commonly used. Whereas in western countries passive solar energy has replaced photovoltaic energy for a few years now.

Some of the common uses of solar energy include: 

  • Generating electricity 

  • Heating water 

  • Producing solar cold and heating 

  • Watering the crops

  • To illuminate the exterior areas 

  • Used in solar cars and appliances (limited) 

Undeniable Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers a bandwidth of benefits and is a free source of energy generation. As the use of solar energy in residential and commercial sectors keep on growing several advantages were identified. 

For your better understanding we have divided the advantages of solar energy into two nominal categories.  

Benefits of Solar Energy to the Environment

1. No Greenhouse Gases

Solar energy is referred to as green energy because it does not emit any greenhouse gases! That's a considerable benefit of solar energy that none can deny. Electricity produced by storing sun’s rays, via cells, eliminates the smoke, gas, or any chemical by-product. 

By being a responsible citizen you can curb the emission of harmful rays more conveniently. For instance, Italy’s Montalto di Castro Solar Park avoids 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year just by switching to solar energy.  

2. Free Energy

A person has to bear a significant amount of expense at the time of installation, however, once installed,  the solar energy is free. 

Solar energy does not require any expensive raw material like coal, gas, or oil to produce electricity. So the conventional labor-power is minimum and no raw materials need extraction or transportation to use. 

3. Self-Reliant Power

Solar energy is self-reliant - meaning it offers decentralization in location. As we just discussed, other resources like coal and gas need to be drilled, extracted, or transported. There’s no such case with solar energy.

Solar energy is best consumed in locations that have bright sunny days all year long (along the equator). Therefore another advantage of solar energy is the decentralization of power with ease and time-installation. 

4. Zero Energy Production Cost

It's a fact, solar energy does not require outside supply to function. It means the maintenance and energy production costs are zero to minimal. The only cost incurs at the manufacturing and installation of the solar panel components. 

5. Noise Cancellation

From using generators to the UPS to solar panels, technology has become noise resistant in a good way. Solar energy is silently consumed by the solar panels, therefore there’s no noise pollution. 

Also there’s no land waste being created because solar panels are designed to withstand longer durability and have a positive impact on the environment in extreme weather conditions. 

Solar Energy Benefits to Society

6. Off the Grid Power

The biggest benefit of solar energy is to create it either on or off the grid. It works either way. On grid processing means the panels are connected to the electricity grid. In case of off grid, the panels are not connected to the electricity grid. So the solar energy relies on the solar panel or solar-hybrid. 

Therefore it means, solar energy can be used in the rural areas too. Many city dwellers are choosing to go off grid for new housing schemes for a more self-reliant lifestyle. 

7. Job Opportunities

Solar energy exists naturally, but to manifest the energy, panels and its components needs to be manufactured. Therefore it means more job opportunities. 

Solar jobs include manufacturing, installing, monitoring and maintaining the panels, research and development, cultural integrations and policy jobs etc. 

8. Price Volatility

Another biggest advantage of solar energy is that political conditions do not have an impact on solar energy, unlike fossil fuel markets. 

Sun is an unlimited source of power that makes the price manipulations vulnerable at most locations. Solar energy production is half the price of fossil fuel production. Therefore solar energy has a competitive energy market.

9. Simple Installations

The versatile installation process is simple and easy. You can install the solar panels vertically or horizontally - whatever suits your needs. 

The modularity and flexibility of the system enable the small-scale solar panels easily on the rooftops or in open grounds. Even in remote locations, the cost of installing electrical distribution can sometimes be too high. Despite the costs, solar energy is easy to access and install in remote areas or developing areas. 

10. Economical Source

Because solar energy is an inexhaustible source of energy, it reduces costs significantly. A renewable energy source is subject to market fluctuations however one needs to make a significant investment but it's worth every penny as solar energy is unlimited and produces electricity continuously. So, there are no future additional costs. 

The more technology is evolving, solar panels are becoming more efficient and affordable. 

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

1. Inconsistency at Night Time

Sun rays are the prime source of solar energy. Therefore the biggest disadvantage is that solar energy is not consistent. Especially if these are rainy days, users may face trouble with the use of electricity as there’s no other source except for the sunlight. Likewise, solar energy is not produced at night time, so you have to be very peculiar about using it. 

For instance countries like Canada and Russia cannot take full advantage of solar energy but places like Pakistan can enjoy the benefit of solar energy more. 

2. Relatively Inefficient

Because of its inconsistency, many consider it to be quite inefficient. The amount of sun’s energy converted into electrical energy is around 22% only. So it means despite the solar panels soaking up the sun all day long, the amount of electricity produced in return is quite minimal. However, the efficiency level is expected to rise in the coming years. 

Solar efficacy depends on the season too. For instance, during summer, more electricity is produced but in winters, the earth is tilted away from the sun so it cannot generate a high level of electricity. 

3. Bulky Panels

Another disadvantage that users suffer through is that solar panels are bulky and not portable that easily. Large solar panels are covered in glass making them prone to damage too.

Therefore the installation covers the roof, but is being used by the companies, they can have a hard time finding a large installation area to generate electricity due to its bulky size. 

4. No Storage Power

A large storage solution is required to store the energy. The full potential of solar energy is yet to be discovered, therefore for a small-scale home, a solar panel works better than for a larger home. 

Since solar energy relies on the sun, people need to store the excess energy at some point by connecting it to an alternate power source. It also means an increase in expenses too. For instance Tesla created a Powerwall battery to store solar energy. It cost them around $7,100 for a one 14kWH battery only (as it was very expensive). 

5. Super Expensive  

Lets not forget the fact that solar energy installation and the maintenance is super expensive. Initially it can cost around $15,000 and $29,000 for an average of 4kW and 8kW of power batteries. 

Solar panels, mounting hardware, wiring, inverter, installation, and repairs are included in the given estimated cost. Solar panels do not include a battery storage system, an additional cost you have to bear too. 

Solar Energy is the Future in Housing Schemes

Governments are concerned about leaving a penetrable carbon footprint in society. The real estate industry is outgrowing the traditional standards of house construction and becoming more self-sufficient by using eco-friendly materials, which also include the installation of solar panels. Housing societies in Pakistan are being designed in a way that they can support renewable energy resources to their maximum capacity. 

With Arkaa Consultants you can find the best residential and commercial plots, make them more environmentally sustainable playing your role as a responsible citizen. Contact our consultants to guide you in detail.  

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