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Solar energy: 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages
Solar energy: 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages

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Solar Energy

Solar energy: 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages

The sun is a source of an incredible amount of energy known as solar energy.

Even though it is a constant presence in the sky, many people do not realize the amount of energy contained within the sun.

To highlight its potential as a renewable energy source, the amount of solar energy produced by the sun in just one hour is enough to power worldwide energy needs for an entire year!

Despite this, solar energy is not currently one of the most used energy sources, with fossil fuels and other limited, finite resources continuing to be the big players in the energy market.

As non-renewable energy sources diminish, it's vital to prioritize renewable alternatives like wind and solar power.

This shift is gaining traction among politicians, companies, and individuals committed to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Considering the increasing global popularity of solar panels, many people and businesses in the US are considering installing solar panels in their homes to capture and convert solar energy into electricity they can use.

Before deciding to invest in solar energy, it is important you have a clear idea of its advantages and potential disadvantages.

While solar energy can be an exceptionally good choice for many people, there are some limitations and areas to consider, so on this page we will examine some of the main pros and cons involved.

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graph representing solar panels advantages

Advantages of solar energy

1 – Lower electricity bills

image showing the energy bill prices decreasing thanks to solar panels

Let’s face it - nobody wants to pay more for energy than they need to.

When you can use electricity that has been generated at your home or business by solar, you will need to use less (paid) electricity from the national grid. That means your electricity bill will be lower.

The exact amount you will be able to save from solar energy will depend on a range of factors, including:

  • The size of your solar PV system
  • The size of your house/business
  • How much electricity you normally use in your house/business
  • The efficiency of your solar PV system

If you want to have a more realistic projection for energy savings with solar you can talk to one of your specialists. They will be detailed and refer to your particular situation. 

To obtain a free estimation from one of our partners in your area, fill out our form.

2 - Renewable energy source

Energy captured from the sun is free. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is a renewable form of energy.

Like all starts, the sun will eventually run out of energy. However, this is projected to be 5 billion years in the future, so solar energy will continue to be available for a long time to come!

By using a renewable energy source, you will be lowering your carbon footprint.

The more people we can help to start using solar energy, the greater the difference we can all make to the environment.

3 – Low maintenance

image showing tools representing the low maintenance requirements of solar panels

Solar panels are very easy to maintain, requiring a cleaning every 6 months or so (or whenever dirt, leaves or other debris falls onto them and covers part of the panel).

Solar panels do not have any moving parts, so there is no wear and tear.

Typically, a solar panel would be expected to have a lifetime of 25+ years, meaning your investment in harnessing solar energy will pay off for a long time.

While this is helpful for homeowners, it is an incredibly attractive benefit for anybody using solar energy for commercial purposes, where the sums invested, and electricity generated are often much larger.

By reducing maintenance costs, the cost-benefit of investing in solar is more commercially attractive.

4 – Flexible use

Electricity generated from solar energy can be used in many ways, from powering electrical appliances in your home or charging an electric car.

Similarly, solar energy can be used to provide heat (solar heat), reducing (or removing) the need for gas.

Solar energy can be particularly helpful in remote areas that do not have access to the energy grid.

As technology becomes more advanced, the different ways solar energy can be used will only increase.

Here at MyGreenHome, we’re incredibly enthusiastic about solar energy. We’re extremely excited to see where solar energy goes in the future and will keep you updated on all the hottest updates.

5 – Get paid for surplus electricity

If you generate more electricity than you need, you may be able to receive payments for exporting this to the grid.  (This is easily done as your solar PV system will normally be connected to the grid by your supplier when it is installed.)

Different states have different policies and incentives for solar energy, and your provider will be able to help you take advantage of the ones that are suitable for you. 

5 Potential disadvantages of solar energy

1 – Upfront cost

There is no escaping the fact that installing solar panels on your house involves a substantial upfront cost.

However, if you approach solar energy as a long-term energy solution, you will get a more realistic view of the costs involved.

With more focus being put on renewable energy, and more companies investing in developing solar energy technology, the costs involved are likely to reduce over time, making them more accessible to a greater number of people.

This is similar for businesses who choose to use solar energy, just on a greater scale; while upfront costs are larger, future energy savings are also far higher. 

2 – Space requirements

An average domestic solar PV system will need 25m2 of roof space.

If you live in a smaller property, or a flat, solar may not be the most suitable renewable energy solution for you.

You may be able to install fewer solar panels to fit the space available to you. 

Although most people choose to have solar panels installed on the roof of their house, they can be installed on the ground instead if you have suitable space.

3 – Storing electricity

A problem unique to solar energy is that it cannot be kept on standby and switched on and off at will. (After all, the sun cannot be switched on and off!)

For this reason, many people choose to use solar energy during the day and switch to using electricity from the grid at night.

However, you may choose to install a large battery to store solar-generated electricity until it is needed.

The battery can be charged by sunlight through the day, then used as needed throughout the day and night.

While this can be a good way of storing electricity, the batteries can be expensive to install.

4 – Weather

Due to solar energy coming from the sun, most people assume that solar panels only work in bright sunlight.

This is only partially true however, as solar energy can still be collected in cloudy or wet weather.

It is however much less efficient than it would be on a bright sunny day.

Solar energy cannot be collected during the night, so in winter with its long dark nights, the amount of electricity your solar energy system can generate will be lower than what it can generate in sunnier months.

5 – Location-dependent

The placement of your solar energy system will determine how much electricity can be generated in an average day.

Roof

In the Northern Hemisphere, the best results come from panels placed on a South-facing roof.

If your house has a roof facing North, it is unlikely an installer would advise placing solar panels on them as they would only receive limited hours of sunlight per day.

If your roof faces East or West, solar panels may be an option, but your installer can discuss this with you in more detail.

Geography

Where you live in the world will play a significant role in the suitability of a solar energy system on your property.

If you live somewhere that sees a lot of sun, you will understandably be able to generate far more electricity from solar energy than if you live in a place that sees less sun on average. (For example, you would expect Florida to be a better place to capture and harness solar energy than Alaska.)

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Is it time for you to change to solar energy? Get expert advice today!

As seen above, there are advantages and potential disadvantages to solar energy.

However, we strongly believe that the advantages outweigh the possible disadvantages – by quite a large margin!

If you would like to explore whether solar energy might be a suitable option for you, fill out our quick form and get in touch with one of our recommended solar energy specialists.

They will be able to discuss your needs with you and show you the potential energy savings you could make from investing in solar energy.

It's quick and easy, but it can make a difference. For you, and for the world.

Last update: 12 Apr 2024

Written by Mike

MyGreenHome editors Team is a professional team of copywriters and writes with dozens of years of experience covering consumers, financial and business products and services

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