The Size Of System Is Dependent On Your Available Space
Available space is a big factor in solar panel installation. If your roof is not big enough, then it means that you may have to downsize your system or rethink about getting solar altogether.
Solar panels are still fairly large products meaning they require a big space to be installed. The size disadvantage means that they cannot be placed into small areas, and actually require a large roof.
Some systems however do provide flexible designs for smaller roofs.
Do Solar Farms Cause Erosion
Erosion, while a natural process, is quickened through farming and other human development. A lack of developed indigenous root systems makes it easier for rain and wind to carry soil away.
Building a solar farm falls into the other development category. While the basis of a solar farm is environmental-friendliness, that benefit comes only after the panels have been installed. In the interim, farm construction includes drilling, plowing, concrete or metal panel anchors, and underground power lines.
Additionally, solar farms are often placed on a slope. Many areas of the farm are shaded by the panels, making it difficult for sun-dependent vegetation to grow, while the slope allows runoff to quickly chart a path to local waterways.
If solar farm developers fail to account for this beforehand, projects can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding communities.
All of these factors readily influence the volume and flow rate of runoff that, if not properly managed, can result in negative impacts to downstream and neighbouring properties, explained solar project engineers in an Environmental Science and Engineering magazine article.
The ESE article recommends developers implement erosion controls well before panels are installed so the ground can be properly prepared while still easily accessible.
Make The Transition To Solar Energy Today
There are pros and cons to solar energy, but if this article has sparked your interest, you can check out our 6-step guide that will help you find the best solar panels for your home. We cover everything from roof suitability, solar panel type, cost, how to save with solar panels, and maintenance.
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Solar Panels Dont Work For Every Home
To put it simply, solar power relies on sunlight. If your home doesnt receive adequate sunlight, either because of the climate or shade, the solar panels may not be a viable option. The caveat here is that solar panels do not have to be installed on the roof. If there is another part of the property that receives more sunlight, solar panels can be installed there.
Batteries that store solar power can also help offset the risk of limited sunlight, especially if climate is a concern. For example, if you are considering adding solar panels and you live in a place that has stretches of cloudy days, you may be able to bank enough solar power in a battery to use even when the forecast is gloomy.
Whats Bad About Solar Energy
Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity. When these panels enter landfills, valuable resources go to waste. And because solar panels contain toxic materials like lead that can leach out as they break down, landfilling also creates new environmental hazards.
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Pro: Solar Energy Is Accessible In Remote Areas
The cost of installing and maintaining solar energy panels is high in the beginning, but for areas that arent able to receive electricity the traditional way, adding these can be a huge benefit. Some areas are remote and off the grid, so electric companies cannot add a grid matrix to install electricity. These areas use the solar power so that they might use devices such as a microwave, washer and dryer, and the Internet. In some states, its debatable whether or not solar can beat the grid in terms of cost, but as far as remote off-grid locations are concerned, solar almost always beats a diesel or gas-fired generator.
High Initial Capital Costs
Although the installation of solar panels would bring immense benefits in the long run, the upfront costs can be punitive. Depending on the company you choose to buy solar panels from, it could cost an arm and leg. Its even difficult to quantify the entire cost of installation without the help of manufacturing companies.
Some nations have introduced rebates and tax credits to enable lots of people to install solar panels, but unless you are putting some money aside for this, it can be an unbearable cost.
Also, it might take up to 10 years to 15 years before you can break even with your initial investment. Its not about how much payback period is, anything that can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is worth trying.
However, with most governments looking to get ahead of the severe global warming impacts, they have liaised with solar panel manufacturers to dial back on solar panel prices. Today, the average cost of a solar panel is $0.65 per watt. The same solar panels were selling at $0.74 per watt just a year ago. This is a significant commitment to get everyone on board in the use of solar energy.
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Can I Get Heat And Electricity From The Same Solar Panels
It’s not a good idea to try and combine both types of solar energy collection in one panel. With solar thermal energy systems, you want high temperatures for your water or space heating. Solar electric panels are most efficient in cooler temperatures. If they get too hot, energy production decreases, even in full sun.
This is one of the reasons PV panels do well in colder climates, even with less sun. In addition, the panels also gather some energy from the sunlight reflected off of snow.
Laissez Faires Golden Rule
In 17th-century Europe mercantilism, the government regulation of trade, was in. Finance ministers restricted trade with their economic rivals, made sure that exports were greater than imports, and introduced hefty taxes and tariffs. Then, a mercantilist minister asked a group of Frenchmen, headed by M. Le Gendre, what the French government could do to help the economy. Le Gendre replied, Laissez-nous faire, or in English, Leave it to us.
And thus, laissez-faire economics was born a system in which goods travel unmolested by governments. In such economies, goods naturally flow to where they fetch the highest price, i.e. where demand is strongest, and where their use is greatest. Likewise, among goods of equal quality, the cheaper goods will always win.
Why does this concern us? Because unfortunately, leaving society to transition to solar based purely on environmental reasons cant be relied upon. Without government intervention, solar energy will win out only if its the cheapest.
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Solar Energy Doesnt Work At Night
Thanks, Captain Obvious! But seriously, you have to consider the reality that your rooftop solar panels wont create electricity at night. Yes, a tiny fraction of sunlight is reflected off of the moon and absorbed into the solar panels, but its essentially pitch black at night. And when theres no light, solar panels dont produce electricity.
This becomes especially relevant if you want to be completely off the grid and have your home 100% powered by solar panels. If you arent tied to the electric grid, you need energy storage devices to house the energy your solar panels produced earlier in the day so you have power at night. Otherwise, youll be lighting oil lamps to illuminate your home.
You Can Use Solar Energy For Different Purposes
Did you know that you use solar energy for diverse purposes? You have the option to generate electricity or heat, whatever you want.
You can also use solar energy to produce electricity in those areas that do not have access to the energy grid. This means that these areas are in need of a number of resources, including clean water. Without the energy grid, solar energy makes it possible to distill water in areas that have a limited clean water supply.
Solar energy is more than capable of powering satellites in space. You can also integrate the energy into the materials that are needed for buildings. A little while ago, transparent solar energy windows were introduced by some companies as well.
Consider these best solar panels for your home to get started living more sustainably.
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Solar Energy Lessens The Strain On The Electric Grid
The power grid is really complex, but underpinning the entire system is the simple economic principle of supply and demand. Supply must always meet the demand, but there are times when demand is greater than the amount of electricity the grid has to give. If demand overtakes supply, long-term damage and widespread blackouts can occur.
Thats why solar energy is so important to diversifying the energy grid. If any one energy source fails, as was seen in the , having a wide variety of energy sources is one answer to preventing power failures like we saw.
As of March 2021, the U.S. has enough solar capacity to power 17.1 million homes,7 approximately 2.3% of the total U.S. share of utility-scale electricity.8 We clearly still have a long way to go. However, over the coming years, its only going to get bigger, with the U.S. Energy Information as of April 2021 estimating that solar will rise by 16.1 GW in 2021 and 5.8 GW in 2022.9
The Dark Side Of Renewable Energy: Negative Impacts Of Renewables On The Environment
A notable number of countries around the world have pledged to go renewable in the next 10-20 years. On the other hand, countries notorious for their massive amounts of carbon emissions, such as China, have also pledged to drastically cut down their greenhouse emission rate. This has resulted in an accelerated focus on constructing renewable energy plants. Although the intention of these pledges is to reduce the harmful effects of carbon emissions on the planet, are such initiatives as friendly toward the environment as they are believed to be?
According to International Renewable Energy Agency , the total renewable power sector net additions recorded in 2014 reached new highs. In 2014, the global renewable power sector net additions were noted at 133 GW.
Data from a report published by IRENA shows that hydro energy led the global installed capacity by 301.8 GW, followed by wind at 115.4 GW, solar energy at 38.2 GW, bioenergy at 13.5 GW, and geothermal at 3.5 GW.
Hydro The Giant among Renewables Leading to Giant Floods
Hydropower dominates the global renewable energy market. Hydropower does not cause any air quality impact directly however, building and operating a hydroelectric reservoir can lead to several harmful impacts on the environment. The dams constructed for harnessing hydropower tend to greatly influence the flow of rivers, which can alter ecosystems and negatively impact wildlife and people.
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What Are Solar Panels Used For
Government and big business corporations are also one of the biggest users of solar panels to generate clean, renewable energy. Businesses will use solar panels to slash the cost of their operation bills and free up cash flow to re-invest in their business.
Governments around the world are taking a big step with solar energy and it is being used to power trains, buses and even the international space station.
For homeowners, the need to have solar panels has become increasingly more popular over the years. This is because solar panels can be used to generate electricity at home.
People are catching on about the endless benefits of rooftop solar. Its exciting to see how popular it has become over the years.
This electricity can then be used to power your electrical appliances in your home. Solar can power anything electrical, from your TV or fridge to your iphone or game console.
Essentially homeowners can become less dependent on the grid. At the same time you can save a significant amount of money on power bills each month.
Solar Panels Are Difficult To Move Once Installed
Technically speaking, you could transfer your solar panels to your new home. But realistically, this almost never happens. Why? Because solar panels are custom-tailored to fit your roof, so moving them to a new location doesnt make sense.
In most cases of people moving to a new home, the value of solar panels they had installed is tacked onto the home price. One study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory revealed that an average solar array increases home value by $15,000.12 So, even though you would have to break up with your beloved solar panels, theyll practically pay for the next set you install on your new home.
It Is Renewable And Clean Energy
The second benefit of solar energy is that it is clean energy. While one may argue that solar panels also generate pollution, that emissions are only limited to the manufacturing process and not after that.
As we mentioned above, climate change is real, and the harmful gasses are causing most of it. Power plants and factories emit these gasses. These gasses are harmful to the environment and the ozone layer as they are causing the rise in temperature.
Solar energy is a cleaner alternative to conventional energy sources. Solar panels do not emit any kind of gases, which is a huge advantage.
Once you set up your solar panel, you can sleep peacefully knowing that you are not playing a part in negatively impacting our climate and atmosphere. You may need to continue to test your solar panels over time.
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The Environmental Disaster Of Solar Energy
Solar energy is terrible for the environment in a number of ways, including the fact that large land areas must be devoted to it. At Forbes, Michael Shellenberger highlights another problem with solar energy: it produces vast quantities of hazardous waste, which are not being adequately dealt with.
The last few years have seen growing concern over what happens to solar panels at the end of their life. Consider the following statements:
* The problem of solar panel disposal will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment because it is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.
* The reality is that there is a problem now, and its only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago.
* Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.
All of these statements come from solar industry insiders. Cadmium is a particular toxic waste problem:
This is how OSHA describes cadmium:
Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the bodys cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.
Types Of Solar Energy:
The Sun is not going anywhere nor is it going to run, its the only free & infinite energy source. So lets open our minds & think about more & more ideas to use this infinite source effectively & optimize the use of other finite earth resources. So plan a new way to bring your own sun home.
Excess Solar Can Be Sold To The Grid
Any excess energy that is not used in your home can be sold to the grid for extra cash.
Not only this, you are providing your local community with clean, renewable energy. This helps you and your community have cleaner energy supplied to your grid by pulling energy from the sun.
Some homeowners will purposely upgrade their systems just to sell excess energy back to the grid.
The government offers some really good Feed-In Tariffs available for homeowners to get rewarded for any excess power they dont use.
These tariffs usually vary from state to state. The two main tariffs are fixed rate and time varying. The price per KW is decided by these two tariffs, and is a great way to help pay off your system quicker.
Once the system is paid off you will see the return on investment from your solar panels. Solar panels could actually generate you free money, which is a massive advantage.
The Energy Industrys Big Fat Lie
Ask anyone what they think of solar power. Theyll probably reply, Its too expensive, then maybe rant about how the aforementioned tree-huggers are bleeding the taxpayer dry paying for a wacky new-age energy revolution that we dont need.
This view is hardly surprising, considering solar systems still cost around $10-30k to install. What is surprising is that solar power is already cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives, unsubsidized.
Notable data from the Lazard 2016 Levelized Cost of Energy study:
- Solar Crystalline PV is cheaper than all conventional energy sources.
- Wind, at its lowest point, is the cheapest energy source available.
- Renewables have far better price stability than their fossil fuel counterparts.
- The societal cost is not included, i.e. the cost of combating pollution-related health crises.
- Solar PV is $92/MWh with battery storage. Thus, with storage, solar is still competitive with coal and natural gas, but not gas combined cycle plants .
Are you still saying to yourself, Solar is too expensive? Well, 10 years ago maybe. But now? Definitely not. Solar energy is, in most cases, cheaper than a fossil fuel alternative. This then begs the question:
But if all things are equal and the cheapest option wins if solar really is cheaper then why are we stuck at a lousy 2% global penetration?
To answer that, lets look at fossil fuel subsidies and the sunken cost fallacy.