Coal, petrol, diesel, kerosene, natural gas - all of them are finite sources of energy. Considering the rate at which they are being used by people all over the world, they are surely on the verge of drying up sooner than later. Renewable energy sources, like the wind, water, and solar energy are the order of the day. However, in spite of both, wind and hydro energy regularly being used all over the world in quite a few application areas, it is in fact solar energy that is being targeted as having the highest potential among all three. Therefore, on that note, let us have a look at all the pros and cons of solar energy.
Understanding Solar Energy
When evaluating the positives and negatives of solar energy, we need to look at the usability of solar energy from the perspective of industrial requirements as well as home requirements. Keeping this in mind, let us see the different benefits and shortcomings that are associated with solar energy.
First and foremost, solar energy is a renewable and a never-ending source of energy in the truest sense of the term. As long as the sun remains in existence, solar energy will be available. Secondly, solar energy is not location-specific, unlike certain other forms of energy. Regardless of whether a person is in a crowded city or in a remote village, in an arid desert or in a lush green forest, near the sea or up in the mountains, solar energy is available to one and all. Massive pumping stations and drilling grids are required to be set up for the extraction of fossil fuels from under the earth's surface. This results in an enormous setup cost and an equally high running cost as well. No such thing is required in case of solar energy. This energy is omnipresent, all that is required is a solar panel to tap it. Fossil fuel prices constantly fluctuate, since they are dependent on certain global demand-supply factors. Solar power is completely devoid of any such complexities, simply because it is free! Burning of fossil fuels results in the release of harmful gases and other byproducts many of which result in ozone layer depletion. At the same time, they also cause additional damage to the environment. There is no question of any harmful byproducts whatsoever in case of solar energy. It causes zero pollution and is one hundred percent a clean and an environment-friendly source of energy. Solar energy is what you should aim at if you're thinking of financial as well as energy savings. Other than the one-time purchasing cost of the solar panel, solar power is completely free for the rest of your life. ConsThe main disadvantage of solar power is the initial cost. Solar panels are comparatively quite expensive mainly due to the material cost and the complexity of design involved. This can at times, prove to be a deterrent especially in case of homemakers and individuals who are contemplating a shift towards solar power. Cloudy weather, rainy conditions, etc., can interfere in the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panel. This in turn affects the amount of energy and the power that is produced. Thirdly, what about the time when there is no sunlight? How will solar energy be produced at night? Of course it won't be produced at night, after all it is solar energy and not 'lunar' energy. The only solution to this problem is storing enough of it during the daytime, which can then be used during the night. However, this is easier said than done. Though solar energy does have its share of shortcomings, there is hope that in due course of time, they will be eliminated through advances in technology.