The sun is the natural source of the most abundant, reliable and pollution-free power in the world. However, problems with solar power, namely the expensive cost and inconsistent availability, have prevented it from becoming a more utilized energy source.
It is five to eleven times more costly to produce electricity from the sun than it is from coal, hydro or nuclear sources. The first problem with solar power is with the cost of the technology:
Solar panels use expensive semiconductor materials to generate electricity directly from sunlight. Semiconductor factories need 'clean' manufacturing environments and are expensive to build & maintain.
The efficiency of solar cells is only about 22%. The rest of the sunlight that reaches the panel is wasted as heat. More efficient photovoltaic cells have been discovered (up to 43% efficient) but these are still in their experimental phase and are expensive to manufacture.
The main problem with solar power that has stifled its use is the fact that energy production only takes place when the sun is shining. Large storage systems need to be developed to provide a constant and reliable source of electricity when the sun isn't shining at night or when there are clouds overhead.
The upside is that the harvesting of the sun’s rays is clean and safe. It produces no emissions, it’s practical, and may in the years ahead prove very economical. Residential solar energy systems can virtually turn your electric meter backwards. Because you are connected on a power-grid, the excess energy that your solar energy system produces will go to the electric lines to be used by other homes. As a result, any excess energy you give will be reflected on your bill. Your electric supplier will even pay for the electricity you supplied to others.
While the initial cash out for installing solar energy system at home is big, the device will pay for itself in the long run. Not only will you save money on solar energy systems, you also help the environment by not contributing to carbon emissions. In addition, solar energy systems are reliable and can last for a very long time.
PV cells last from 25 to 40 years. Many manufacturers of solar panels offer 25 years' product warranty. This is the assurance that solar panels are very dependable. In addition, solar panels require little or no maintenance and the can be installed on most places where there is sunlight throughout the year.
The good part of the solar energy quest is that technology is advancing very rapidly. Nano technology for solar power is being developed and may be available in the next couple of years.
Other breakthroughs in cell designs are also being developed that could, in the next few years, be a cost-effective way of generating energy without having to rely anymore on fossil and nuclear power.
If you are considering the option of solar powering your home or commercial property, your first step should be contacting a professional to answer all of your questions. At John's Electric, we are here for your peace of mind. Give us a call today.