Pros and Cons - Solar Energy for Residential Homes
Solar power is a environmentally-friendly
energy alternative for residential households. For the average homeowner,
though, it may be too expensive to install a solar collector, a battery
bank and a charge controller even though the system will more than pay for
itself in a few years. Before jumping into a large installation, weigh the
pros and cons; solar energy
systems can be pricey so you will need to determine if it's right for you.
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The Pros of Using Solar Energy
- No pollution. There is an inexhaustible supply of solar power and it
doesn't release any pollution, exhaust or toxic waste into the environment.
Solar energy can greatly reduce a home's carbon dioxide footprint.
- Saves money in the long run. Since you'll be reducing or eliminating your
commercial energy use, your energy bills will be drastically reduced for years
to come. After all, sunshine is free.
- Promotes conservation. To reduce the initial cost of the solar power
system, smaller power systems can be installed if households reduce their
energy usage. More efficient appliances, lighting, and doing small things
like turning off unused electronics and lights can cut energy requirements
by almost 30%.
- You can start small. Solar power systems can be installed incrementally.
You can start with a passive heating system or an electrical system for daytime
use only. As your requirement and enthusiasm grows, you can increase the size
and capacity of the system (for example, by adding solar panels and batteries).
- Less maintenance & less noise. Solar power systems do not have any
moving parts. Compared to other alternative energy systems, it also requires less
maintenance (except for keeping the solar panels clean)
and doesn't create noise or hazards like the rotating blades of a wind turbine.
The Cons of Using Solar Energy
- Limited by the available sunlight. Solar energy is only available during day when the
sun is shining. When the skies are overcast or when cloud pass overhead, the efficiency of
solar collectors drop to almost nil.
- High initial cost. High equipment and installation costs make it cost prohibitive for
most households to go 100% solar. This high cost is why there is currently a
lack of support for solar power
among consumers, even though interest is high and solar power is growing in popularity.
The technology is not yet mature enough to provide mass-market affordability.
- High retrofitting costs. In most
situations, it's more expensive to install solar equipment in an existing building than
in a new structure. Walls, roofs and ceilings need to be opened and there may not be
adequate space for all of the equipment and wire.
- Aesthetics. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and communities may not be too
favorable to the sight of a solar collector on or near your home. For example, even the
use of solar roof tiles may be objectionable to
neighborhoods because it doesn't "fit in" with the overall aesthetic of the
The initial investment in solar power is quite high for the average residential homeowner,
but the savings over the years would eventually more than pay for the original cost. Consider
the pros and cons - solar energy is a promising new alternative energy source, and one that
will allow families to live "greener."