What are the advantages and drawbacks of using solar energy?What are the advantages and drawbacks of using solar energy?

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justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Solar energy is one of the most widely available forms of energy, one that is renewable and which humanity will not run out of. Solar energy can be put to use in hundreds of ways and replace the use of conventional energy sources.

Some of them are for lighting, heating, as a way to produce electricity which can be used for domestic and industrial electrical requirements as well as in specially constructed vehicles that can run on electricity.

The drawbacks of solar energy are the fact that the sun does not shine throughout the day and the intensity of sunlight changes over the year. This makes it essential to be able to store solar energy which presently is quite expensive and not possible on a large scale. Conversion of solar energy to forms that are useful is also extremely expensive right now.

But with improvements in technology and the rising prices of conventional energy sources, solar energy is the source of energy that is sure to emerge as the ultimate source of energy for us in a few centuries if not a few decades.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Solar energy is available and non-polluting. However, a drawback could be the fact that installation of solar panels can be costly. However, at night, the solar energy can be stored in either a battery or in a hot water heater and can be used to heat homes and produce electricity. Remember that not all latitudes receive the same amount of insolation and obviously, in places closer to the equator, areas that are not too cloudy, may have more success at collecting solar energy than high latitude areas.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is wonderful if you live, as the previous post says, in a place where you get plenty of sunlight during the day and also have the chance to store or just sell your energy back to the grid.

If you live in a cloudy place, or one with really short winter days, you can be totally out of luck.  So until the storage technology and transmission technology improves, it is still not feasible for large-scale power hungry things.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with all of what the first answer says.  I would only add that solar power is not feasible in all places.  There are great variations in the amount and intensity of sunlight that the various areas of Earth receive.  This makes solar power less feasible for areas that don't get as much sunlight.

However, the major roadblock in the way of solar power is clearly the issue of the price of collection and storage.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The biggest disadvantage of solar energy is the initial cost of the solar panels. Also, in some cases the companies claim that your power company will buy back the extra power, but this is not always the case. I wonder if there are not some scams going on there.

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