Infinite energy resource
Solar energy is not a finite resource as fossil fuels are. While the sun is up there it constantly produces all the energy we can use.
Reduced maintenance costs
While not maintenance free, what technology really is? Once solar panels, wind or water power facilities are in place, no fuel or lubricants need to be supplied.
Falling production costs
The financial costs of producing appliances such as solar cells and solar hot water panels are falling as technology develops. Comparatively solar energy is competing with fossil fuels as fossil fuel prices have risen steeply globally in the last few years. Solar energy technology is becoming increasingly efficient.
Greatly reduced pollution
Why not pollution-free? Because it isn’t always. While having much better credentials than fossil fuel for polluting emissions, the environmental costs of manufacturing and constructing solar energy appliances must not be forgotten.
Also, consider the wider impacts of burning biomass and of large hydropower schemes. So, advantages of solar energy are still shadowed by some disadvantages. That’s just the necessary paradox of life.
Greatly reduced contribution to global warming
One of the greatest advantages of solar energy of course is that there are no carbon dioxide, methane or other emissions that warm the atmosphere. Again, manufacturing and installation of solar appliances are necessarily accompanied by some of those emissions.
Low running costs
With prices of traditional fuels soaring the cost advantages of solar energy are becoming obvious. After installation of the appliance, solar energy is free.
Suitable for remote areas that are not connected to energy grids. In some countries solar panels for domestic use in remote areas are becoming sources for local employment in manufacture and installation.
Fossil-fuel poor countries can kick their dependency on this energy and spend their funds on other things through application of solar energy.
Health and safety benefits
In some poorer countries where people have used kerosene and candles for domestic heating and lighting, respiratory diseases and impaired eyesight have resulted. Many people have been burned through accidents involving kerosene heating. Solar energy, especially with excess energy stored for night-time use, overcomes these problems.
Among the significant advantages of solar energy is that of reliability. Local application and independence from a centrally controlled power grid and energy transport infrastructure is insurance from upheaval through political and economic turmoil.
It’s nice indeed when you can rely on your alternate energy sources to be able to prepare a hot meal for your family, turn on a light to read by, play a game or study, or operate your computer.
Solar energy grants
In some countries you will receive grants of money, rebates and tax reductions through implementing solar energy solutions in your home or business. It is also possible to “sell back” power into the grid and pay less for your electricity bill.
Remember my suggestion that the advantages of solar energy do not make a White Knight? I have already covered some of that with you but there are some further disadvantages of solar energy.
Some disadvantages of solar energy:
- It is available most abundantly in areas with a high number of sunshine hours. Where it is needed most, cold countries in high northern or southern latitudes, it is less easily captured and used.
- It is not directly available at night or under cloud cover and conversion into another form of energy storage systems are necessary for those times.
- DC power is produced by solar cells which must be converted to AC power before it can be used.
In the main these disadvantages are really engineering problems for which solutions are becoming increasingly available and efficient. They are not serious reasons to dismiss the value or utility of solar energy.
In summary, the advantages of solar energy are many. The drawbacks can be managed through making responsible use of solar technology and choosing those solar energy solutions that have a minimal impact on our environments.
Some commonly unacknowledged advantages of solar energy
Forms of highly localised solar energy reduce dependency on power monopolies and tend to benefit poor people. The associated advantages of solar energy, those of health and safety benefits, may reduce much suffering.
I cannot run away from it. I must face it and engage with it positively or perish in a heap of great frustration. Too often we still think we can run away from the effects of global warming. But our children will not be able to. Even David Attenborough, the eminent but hitherto sceptical Friend of the earth, is now adding his voice to the many warnings about global warming.
Using the right technology alone will not deliver a truly sustainable world where all are included to take part of its good things.
Using solar energy well, actually transforms us. Our creative efforts to use natural cycles and energy makes us more aware of our place in the world. Your increased awareness and mine leads us to be more responsible to one another and towards our environments.
In this way, using renewable energy involves you and me developing greater abilities to respond to each other kindly. This is perhaps among the greatest of advantages of solar energy.
What do you think?