Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Energy (Part 1 of 2)
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Advantages of Solar Energy
1. Solar is a proven technology.
The history of photovoltaic ("PV") solar power began with scientific experimentation during the late 1800s. The first PV silicon cell capable of converting the sun’s energy into power that could run electrical equipment was introduced in 1954, and by 1983, worldwide PV production exceeded 21 megawatts. Currently there are 47.1 gigawatts of total solar capacity installed nationwide, so it is safe to say solar is a proven technology and that its adoption as a source of clean energy will continue.
2. Solar works in many climates.
Many people believe that solar won’t work in colder climates. That is not true. Solar panels actually work more efficiently in colder temperatures because excessive heat can reduce output voltage. While more hours of direct sun exposure will indeed help a solar system generate more electricity, modern panels are quite efficient and can still generate energy in low light situations. Solar works anywhere there is daylight.
3. Solar is more affordable than ever.
The price of a solar system has dropped significantly. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the cost dropped 9%, and the prices continue to decline. In many markets worldwide, solar power is less expensive than conventional energy. In some countries, there are a variety of financial incentives available that help make going solar affordable for more families and businesses. Nowadays, solar energy is more affordable than before.
4. Solar energy benefits the whole electricity grid.
Around the world, excess solar energy can be used by the conventional utility grid, reducing the burden on the whole, and, depending on local policies, the solar owner may even be compensated for that contribution via, for example, feed-in tariffs in some international markets such as Japan and parts of Europe. In Singapore, there are net export rebate policy. New meter is a billing strategy that essentially pays solar users for their surplus electricity by giving them credit against their use of the electrical grid at night. (For more, read about payment scheme for solar consumers here.)
5. Solar panels have a long lifespan.
Solar panels are quite durable and can withstand even harsh weather conditions, including the impact of hail up to one inch in diameter.
6. Solar panels can increase home values.
One of the advantages of solar energy is that the addition of PV panels generally increases home values. Based on a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory analyzed about 22,000 home sales, almost 4,000 of which use PV solar systems in 8 states. It found that a typical PV system added about $15,000 in value.
7. Solar is a nonpartisan energy source.
Solar is not just for hippies. It is being embraced by people across the entire sociopolitical spectrum. Not only homeowners, governments and schools across the world continue to install solar energy systems. The environmental benefits of solar power are undeniable, but it’s being embraced widely because it makes good financial sense.