Pros and Cons of Solar Energy in 2023
Solar power is a renewable energy source that comes from the sun. It's a popular choice for many people worldwide and for good reason. But, like all things, it has both pros and cons. What are the Pros and Cons of Solar energy? This article will explore these aspects to give you a better understanding of solar power.
A Snapshot: Solar Energy Pros and Cons
|Renewable and Infinite
|Reduces Energy Bills
|Not Fully Sustainable Yet
Pros of Solar Power
Renewable and Infinite:
The sun delivers more than enough energy to meet the world's needs. Each hour, the sun emits about 430 quintillion Joules of energy, more than all the energy used by humanity in a year. This makes solar power a renewable and infinite resource.
Reduces Energy Bills:
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential electricity bill in the U.S. is over $120/month. Solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate these monthly bills.
Solar power emits zero greenhouse gasses during operation. In contrast, coal-fired power plants emitted an average of 2.2 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2018, according to the U.S. EIA.
In 2019, the U.S. imported about 11% of its total energy, according to the EIA. Solar power offers the potential for energy independence, reducing reliance on imports and increasing energy security.
Cons of Solar Power
The average cost of a solar panel system in the U.S. can range from $10,000 to $25,000 before tax credits and incentives. This high upfront cost can make it inaccessible for some people. There are ways around it. Check out our article on financing options for solar.
A study published in Renewable Energy estimated that photovoltaic (PV) efficiency can drop by up to 25% during cloudy weather, demonstrating the weather dependency of solar power.
A 5 kW solar panel system, which is the typical residential size, needs around 400 square feet of roof space. Space limitations can be a significant challenge, especially in urban areas.
Not Fully Sustainable Yet
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of solar PV systems are about 40-46 grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh, which mainly come from the production and manufacturing process of the panels. This shows that while the operation of solar power is sustainable, the production is not yet fully eco-friendly.
To sum up
Solar power has many benefits, like being renewable and reducing energy bills. It's also environmentally friendly and can make you energy independent. However, there are also downsides, such as potential high initial costs, weather dependency, space requirements, and the non-eco-friendly production process.
The decision to switch to solar power depends on your personal circumstances, including your budget, location, and space availability. It's crucial to consider both the pros and cons before making a decision.
Solar power is a promising option for our energy needs. As technology advances and costs decrease, we can expect its popularity to continue growing.