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This article was originally published on September 13th, 2021. Updated April 14th, 2023. 

The pros and cons of PV solar energy. That’s what we’re picking apart today. What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? We’ve been told that if we could harness the full power of the sun for just one hour we could meet global energy needs for one full year. But, there are two sides to every impressive statement. We’re currently able to capture but a fraction of the sun’s power. So, let’s look at the realities of where we find ourselves now. We know that installing solar panels is expensive. We know that they take up room and we know that they are reliant on light (a seemingly daunting note in Ireland). Can we balance these arguments at all? 

Let’s get down and start with the disadvantages.

The Disadvantages of Solar Energy

COST

Getting the ball rolling and installing a solar system requires a significant outlay almost immediately. These costs will cover the technology itself – solar panels, inverter, batteries (if required), and the manpower to put it together, professionally, with consideration given to what will work for your set of circumstances. While there are grants available and schemes coming down the line there’s no getting away from the fact that pockets will be lighter.

SOLAR ENERGY IS DAYTIME AND WEATHER DEPENDENT

You cannot capture solar energy at night and a few days of cloudy, rainy weather can have an impact on the energy produced. Admittedly, that reads quite negatively when you’re used to contrary Summers but rest assured energy can still be captured. Here’s a blog we put together on how panels perform in Ireland to counter that concern.

SOLAR ENERGY STORAGE IS EXPENSIVE

This bounces off the back of our last point. Batteries can be used to store energy produced on the good days to counter the bad. This allows you to use your energy at night and on grey days but the batteries will cost you.

An experienced and vetted provider is your best port of call in ensuring that you’re getting a system that makes sense for you and your budget. In some instances, they’ll decide it’s a smarter solution to use energy from the grid at night and your panels during the day. In others, they’ll clearly see the value you’ll get investing in batteries. Be smart, and don’t wish away solar energy just because you can’t go completely off-grid, doing a little can give you a lot.

SOLAR PANELS USE A LOT OF SPACE

The more panels you have, the more energy you produce, and the more room you need. It all adds up. As with the storage battery decision, a good provider will look at your space and design a system that will work for you. But, no matter what way you come at it, solar panels require space and in some instances, your roof may not be big enough for what you want to achieve. If that’s the case, ground-mounted panels might be the way forward but this is dependent on a number of factors such as position, access, and light availability. Once again, we caution you not to throw the idea of solar energy out but to look at it from a 360-degree, long-term perspective.

SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH POLLUTION 

While over their 25-30 year lifespan, your solar panels will produce enough clean energy to offset the energy that was used to make them in the first place, the transportation and installation of solar systems are associated with the emission of greenhouse gases.  

There are also materials used in the manufacturing of PV systems that can indirectly impact the environment which is far from ideal but it still weighs far less heavily than alternative energy sources.

You can read more about the lifespan of solar panels here.

The Advantages of Solar Energy

IT’S A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE

This is one of the most important points. Particularly in light of recent news headlines and the staggeringly alarming reports of where the world sits in relation to pollution and global warming. Solar energy can be captured in all parts of the world and is available every day. That cannot be said of all energy sources. 

Solar energy will be available until the sun dies (a sad thought) but thankfully scientists say we still have at least 5 billion years on our side.

IT REDUCES ELECTRICITY BILLS

We talk about this a lot but if you’re getting some of your energy needs met with solar power your energy bills will drop. It’s a simple fact that is reliant on the size of the solar system in place and the amount of electricity used.

When we first published this blog, the MSS scheme (Mirco Generation Scheme) was on the cards in Ireland but was still awaiting approval. That approval came on December 21st 2021, following public consultation submissions. 

The term “micro-generation” refers to the production of electricity through renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV), micro-wind, micro-hydro, and micro-renewable combined heat and power (CHP).

All renewable energy generators, regardless of their energy provider, are now eligible for a payment known as the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) when they export electricity to the grid.

SOLAR ENERGY HAS DIVERSE APPLICATIONS

Solar energy is not a one-trick pony. It can be used to generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal).  It can be used in places without access to the energy grid-like space to power satellites! Or, closer to home, earth; to regions with limited access to clean water supplies where it can be used to distill water. 

Advancements in technology have also seen solar energy being integrated into projects via the materials used – such as transparent solar energy windows.

LOW MAINTENANCE COSTS

While the initial investment can pinch, the day-to-day maintenance of a solar energy system requires very little care. It’s similar to keeping windows in good health. Keep them unobstructed, free of debris, and occasionally clean them or have them cleaned by a professional.

Due to the fact, they’re a stationary installation with no moving parts there isn’t the usual wear and tear to worry about. 

CONSISTENT TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

There are ongoing advancements within the solar power industry with investments being made on local, national, and international levels. Innovations in the areas of quantum physics and nanotechnology are looking to increase the effectiveness of solar panels and at least double the electrical input of solar power systems.

To sum it up; let’s put these pros and cons side by side. Yes, there are disadvantages, there’s no one size fits all and you may not be able to live completely off-grid but the advantages are plain to see. There are improvements to be made but it seems as though the industry is making moves in the right direction. 

In conclusion, solar power has numerous benefits as a renewable energy source, including cost savings, environmental friendliness, and reliability. However, it also has certain drawbacks, such as high initial investment, intermittency, and dependence on sunlight availability. Therefore, it is essential to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of solar power before making a decision to invest in it. By weighing these factors against your specific circumstances and requirements, you can determine whether solar power is the right option for your energy needs. With its potential to provide clean and sustainable energy, solar power has a bright future in the transition to a more environmentally conscious world.

If you wish to have your particulars assessed by Caldor and explore options in greater detail, you can schedule a non-obligatory call. Additionally, if needed, a site visit can be arranged following the call.

Based on your reading of this article, we thought you might be interested in the following:

Most weeks we post a blog about a topic that has been raised through dealing with our clients. Most months, we send a brief synopsis of them out via our newsletter. If you’d like to sign up to keep in the loop you can do so here.

Caldor Solar is a specialist in both residential and commercial solar panels.  Discover our green solutions to generate optimal returns.

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Showing 2 comments
  • cellsol
    Reply

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a superb article. Please Visit More Information.

  • Venugopal Subramani
    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing some valuable inputs on solar energy . It is so appreciated that you have focused on the renewable source of energy generation which is the future. Having our own energy with the exhaustible sun is a great thing. I could see there is an alarming need to switch to solar and your blog clearly indicates that. It is very informative that everyone can be aware of the importance of solar energy and the need to make the change. I found it extremely helpful and sure to find the ways that would enable me to enter into a green world powered by solar energy.

    Regards
    Venugopal Subramani

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