While it’s great to see more people understanding the importance of reducing their carbon footprint, it’s not always great to hear about the downsides of alternative energy.
The cost of solar energy continues to drop. Back in 2010, solar power systems cost around $15,000. And just two years later, that same system would cost around $9,000. The cost continues to decline because of technological improvements and increased competition. In 2015, solar power systems were estimated to cost $5,000 to $6,000. In some cases, you can even get a systems for free or with significant discounts.
Solar panels become more durable each year, and with good reason. As solar power systems become cheaper, it’s not hard to see why so many people are choosing to go solar. However, that doesn’t mean the panels are indestructible. Just because something is cheaper doesn’t always mean it’s good enough. For example, cheaper plastic water bottles have been known to break down over time into small, indestructible particles that float around in water bodies.
The efficiency of solar energy continues to improve. Back in 2010, solar panels only reached around 16-18% efficiency. However, today’s solar panels can reach around 24-26% efficiency. Additionally, some commercial-scale solar farms reach upwards of 30% efficiency. Efficiency improves because of technological innovation and increased competition. Not only does it make the process more cost-effective, but it also means we can generate more energy from the same source. For example, photovoltaic cells made of Cadmium Telluride are more efficient than traditional silicon cells.
There are a limited number of sunshine hours each day, which means there are limited opportunities to generate electricity using the sun’s energy. For example, if you go outside and measure the amount of sunshine, you’ll see it rarely exceeds 10 hours per day in most places. That’s a lot of electricity you’re not going to be able to generate.
When the sun is shining, we can’t always be inside. That’s why it’s great that solar power systems offer mobility. Before solar power, we had to settle for whatever electricity the grid could provide us. But with solar panels, we can generate our own electricity wherever we go and use it however we please. That’s great if we want to go on a picnic or go for a bike ride, but it also means we have to find a suitable place for the panel each day. A lot of research goes into finding the best position for the solar panels depending on your environment and your needs.
Just because we live in a deregulated society doesn’t mean we want everything to be free. In some cases, there are also rules and regulations surrounding solar energy that need to be followed. In other words, it’s not always easy to just walk into a store and buy what you need when you need it.
Environmental & Social Issues
Going green is important. Not only does it help protect the environment, but it also provides us with a better quality of life. Going green also means reducing our carbon footprint, which means reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. While this is a great thing, it doesn’t always mean reducing our dependence on individual sources of energy.
There are a number of disadvantages to solar energy. But it’s important to remember that this is an alternative energy source we’re talking about. It’s not always the best option for everyone. For example, if you’re already paying for energy, it makes sense to stick with what you know. When the sun isn’t shining, we still need electricity and it’s not always easy to determine when the next solar eclipse will happen.