Solar energy or solar power is the energy we receive from the sun. Although the intensity of solar radiation at Earth’s surface is low, it is a very useful alternative for utilizing free energy by converting solar energy into usually either electrical energy or thermal energy. Direct heat from the sun is used for separation of salt from sea water, heating solar ponds, etc. Solar energy is converted to thermal energy by the use of large area flat plate collectors and solar ponds, whereas for converting it into electrical energy solar cells or photovoltaic cells are used. Solar energy is used both on individual level and business level.
Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Use of solar energy is very much advantageous but there are also certain shortcomings.
Advantages of Solar Energy:
- It is renewal source of energy.
- It is a clean source of energy and don’t poses any extra problem of pollution management compared to other presently available resources.
- t can be installed anywhere like on rooftops of buildings, forest areas, hilly areas, etc.
- It is totally free and widely available around the world.
- It reduces electricity bills.
- It is a safer way to use energy since wireless and complicated circuits are not required.
- It is a very good alternative to non- renewable resources like fossil fuels, crude oils, etc.
- It requires virtually no maintenance which means it do not requires frequent quality, equipment or functional checkup.
- No expenses on raw materials for generating electricity.
- Solar panels have no mechanical or moving parts.
- No emission of harmful gases or carbon footprints which are harmful for environment as well as human beings.
- Easily used by both home and business uses.
- Since it do not have any moving parts, it do not create any noise which is a very good factor if it is installed at someones home.
- It has very diverse applications in many fields.
- It saves water since it do not uses fresh water unlike other processes.
- It creates more jobs as solar industry is labor intensive.
- Its initial capital cost is very high and equipments are very expensive.
- It is weather dependent. Quality and quantity is very low during cloudy days.
- Solar energy storage is expensive because of the use of batteries.
- After using for a long time, corrosion occurs due to rain, wind, etc. Also due to large duration of sun exposure equipment quality and performance degrades.
- A very large area is required for installing it.
- Lower production in winter months.
- We are using an old technology. No advancement in the process has been done in spite of constant researches.
- Solar panels can be damaged easily.
- Depending on the geographical area, the size of the solar panel vary for the same power generation.
- It can’t be used at night.
- It is a complicated process. One must have the knowledge about solar panel installation process and its benefits.
- Finding quality, local installers and easily comparing qualities can be difficult.
- Materials used to make solar panels like cadmium and lead are extremely toxic and cause pollution.
- Its efficiency is very low.
- Panels are quite bulky.
Despite of these shortcomings, solar energy is a good choice since its benefits are related to environmental and human safety which is above any cost issues. It eradicate the problems of waste management. Also, other non- renewable sources of energy like coal, crude oil, woods, etc. are limited, we have to save them for our future generations. Till now we do not have the technology to use solar energy with high-efficiency. But with the use of many solar panels in series increases the quantity of energy. We may start utilizing solar energy with higher efficiency in future with the more advanced technology because at the present time problem of waste management is a very serious problem worldwide.
– Rashmi Kumari