Environment protection has become the burning issue nowadays. The approaching threat of global warming has made many experts look for new sources of energy as far as traditional ones destruct our planet with huge amounts of harmful emissions. Alternative sources of energy are the best way to save our planet.
More and more countries develop and begin to use alternative sources of energy. Solar power is widely used in India where electricity is not available at the rural areas (Bouissou 2012). There are a lot of the so-called ‘green’ rooftops all over New York (West & McDonnell 2012). Solar power is a promising source of energy, and it attracts a lot of attention nowadays among politicians, economists and environmentalists.
Brief Overview of Solar Power Technologies
Special technologies have been invented to convert energy from the sun. Solar panels, rooftop arrays and utility-scale PV arrays have become available to produce energy from the sun. Solar power technologies are developing now, and it will be available to everyone in the near future. There is no wonder that this alternative source of energy has attracted so much attention as far as it is a renewable and environmentally friendly one. As any other source of energy, solar power has advantages and disadvantages that are the subjects for long debates. Such factor as the dependence on weather conditions makes solar power less popular nowadays, but there are special technologies that allow storing energy for long periods of time. A large number of advantages guarantee a successful future for this alternative source of power. A certain compromise found between the pros and cons of solar power makes the development of solar power technologies more successful.
The Advantages of Large-Scale Solar Power
Solar energy has remained popular due to its renewability and cleanness. It is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy. Since environment protection has become the burning issue nowadays, there is no wonder that the development of solar energy is paid a lot of attention. Many people are concerned with the approaching catastrophe of global warming, and they hope that the exploitation of solar power decreases the consequences of this catastrophe.
The main advantage of solar energy is its renewability. It is one of the alternative sources of energy that is available nearly at every corner of our planet. Solar energy has the highest power density among other alternative sources of energy (Pakhare 2012). The sun provides the hugest amounts of power, with 6000 times more than people consume, that is why it is a very profitable source of energy (Shields 2012). It is available every day, and the only problem is that the energy is impossible to collect at night so that solar power may not be the consistent source of energy.
Solar power does not harm the environment, and it does not produce harmful emissions such as greenhouse gas. Solar power is based on the collection of the sun’s radiation, the natural process that is not followed with any wastes and emissions. The usage of solar power is a good way of shortage of carbon dioxide in the air. For example, Italy’s Montalto di Castro solar park helps to reduce carbon emissions to 20,000 tonnes per year (Whitburn 2012). More than that, solar power constructions do not harm the surrounding areas and they do not produce noise in contrast to other kinds of alternative sources of energy such as wind and hydro power (Whittle 2012). Solar power constructions are easy to construct and need little maintenance. Except the means necessary for the special constructions and their installation solar energy is free of charge. It is not necessary any raw materials such as oil or gas to collect energy from the sun.
Decentralization of power is another benefit of solar energy. It is not necessary to pay money for the transportation of energy as in the case with such sources of energy as coal and gas which need to be transported across the country. Such transportation presupposes a lot of additional costs including environmental costs for pollution, monetary costs and costs for roads. All these costs may be avoided in the case of solar energy. Nevertheless, decentralization of power is not always a benefit as far as some areas get more sunlight than others and there are locations that are deprived of sunlight at all. Decentralization of power does not guarantee uniform distribution of energy (Whitburn 2012).
Solar energy may be produced without the grid that is also its benefit. Every house may collect energy solely without any electrical grid. It is especially convenient for those people who live in isolated areas that are not connected to the local grid. Although costs for installation sometimes are too high, the energy produced by this construction is free. Solar energy is the best way to avoid economical instability and price volatility in contrast to the traditional sources of energy which prices are always changed (Whitburn 2012).
One of the main advantages is that this kind of energy may be used residentially. There are special installations available for personal usage. Even if advantages and disadvantages of global usage of solar power have been still complex, there is no doubt about its usefulness at residential level. Solar energy may be collected at the rooftops of buildings and houses that is why it is very convenient (Shields 2012).
Solar energy has become available for everybody. Special constructions have been modernized, and they are easy to use individually. Many experts predict that solar energy is the energy of our future.
The Disadvantages of Solar Energy Technologies
Although this kind of energy seems to be profitable and environmentally friendly, there are a number of drawbacks that prevent its fast distribution all over the world. The largest drawback of solar energy is its cost. Solar panels have remained considerably expensive despite the development of modern technologies (Whittle 2012). Even if the price of solar panels is not taken into account, their installation needs a lot of money.
Inconstancy of energy is another considerable drawback. The effectiveness of solar panels depends on weather. Even if it is possible to collect energy during cloudy days, the energy collected during such days is not enough to supply local areas. If solar energy is chosen as the only source of energy, localities will be left without electricity at nights that is the main drawback. The energy collected with solar power constructions decreases during the winter when this energy is in high demand that is the main disadvantage. More than that, the installation of solar panels presupposes a special climate with sunny weather, and not every country may allow installing such systems as far as it is not profitable for them due to weather conditions. Solar panels need direct sunlight to produce large amounts of energy (Whittle 2012).
Solar panels are criticized by many experts as inefficient. The energy that may be converted by solar panels accounts to nearly 22%. As a result, the remaining 78% are wasted. It should be noted that solar panels have been improved during the last decade and they begin to collect more energy but they still need to be renewed (Whitburn 2012).
Solar constructions are bulky that makes their exploitation quite complicated. “Traditional silicon crystalline wafer solar modules that is the large solar panels covered in glass” is the main reason of the huge size of such constructions (Whitburn 2012). It should be noted that new models that will be accessible in the near future are more flexible and convenient in their usage. Although solar energy is free, the installation of solar panels is too expensive and not everybody may afford such luxury. Nevertheless, everyone should remember that it is very profitable to pay a lot at the beginning and collect energy for the next 30 years free of charge.
How a compromise can be achieved
It is necessary to find a certain compromise between advantages and disadvantages to make solar power more effective in use. Although the installation of solar power technologies is quite expensive, its exploitation compensates all these costs. It should be remembered that using solar power technologies guarantees economical stability and independence as far as the prices for fossil fuels are instable. More than that, this alternative source of energy is environmentally friendly and it should be propagandized all over the world to cut carbon emissions in the air. Nevertheless, it should be noted that solar energy is inconsistent and may not be the only source of energy. It may be combined with other alternative sources of power such as wind and hydro power. When solar energy is not collected at night, wind farms or hydro power stations may produce energy at this time and vice verse. More than that, solar energy may be stored during the day for using at night.
Solar energy is a good way to save our planet from polluting emissions. More than that, this alternative source of energy provides a good opportunity of economic independence and stability as far as it may be used at the consumer level. This source of energy is renewable and free. People who have spent much money for the installation of solar panels do not regret about it as far as it guarantees them energy for free. Despite some disadvantages connecting with inconstancy of energy and bulkiness and costs of solar power constructions, this source of energy is the energy of the future. People should think over the environment protection and natural resources exhaustion and solar power technologies is a promising way of collecting energy for further generations. Solar power technologies are developing now and their disadvantages may be turned into advantages in the near future. Modernized and improved solar technologies will provide energy for the whole planet. Taking into account all pros and cons of solar energy technologies, we may conclude that they are the most popular among other alternative sources of energy.
Bouissou, J 2012, ‘Solar power brings electricity to the homes of India’s poor’, The Guardian. Web.
Pakhare, J 2012, Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy, Web.
Shields, C 2012, The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy, Web.
West, J & McDonnell, T 2012, ‘Explore New York’s green rooftops – interactive’, The Guardian 10.52, Web.
Whitburn, G 2012, 13 Fundamental Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy, Web.
Whittle, A 2012, Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Power, Web.