Solar Energy – Is it the Answer to Our Potential Energy Crisis?

Solar energy is a renewable energy source, which means we should be doing our utmost to make it as accessible as possible. When you think about it, solar energy is what keeps us and the rest of the earth’s plant and animal species alive.

There’s no doubting the fact that we have done quite a lot in recent years to utilise the energy provided by the sun. For instance, the largest solar power plant in the world covers over 1000 acres and is based in the sun-soaked Mojave Desert, California.

The solar power plant in Mojave Desert, California
The solar power plant in Mojave Desert, California

Solar energy is quite easy to collect, it’s completely free, it will last forever and it can be accessible to areas where power grids would be far too expensive to build. However, there are also plenty of disadvantages that should be taken into account when considering solar power.

Here is a collection of advantages and disadvantages associated with solar power that might help you decide whether or not it has the properties required to become the most predominant energy source in the future.

Advantages

  • Solar energy is free. As long as you have a solar collector, such as a solar panel, you can collect as much of energy from the sun as you like and use it to provide power for your home.

solar panels

  • There are plenty of devices out there that don’t require significant amounts of energy to be used, such as a calculator. Solar power is more than capable of providing the energy these types of devices require to work efficiently.
  • Solar energy is likely to last forever. Oil reserves are expected to be entirely spent in the coming decades, so it’s essential that we have some form of energy available to us once that occurs. Solar power could become a widespread source of power at some stage in the future as we begin to run out of other types of fuel.
  • Some types of fuel, particularly oil, cause pollution and damage the ozone layer. Solar power does not cause pollution and can be used consistently without posing a threat to the atmosphere.
  • Solar power stations or sites can be placed anywhere on the map where sunlight is present. They don’t require a grid extension and completely negate the expense of having to carry out this kind of work.

Disadvantages

  • The sun isn’t always out of course, which means that solar power will only be available during the daytime. You then have to consider the seasons and the fact that it’s certainly not always sunny during the winter.
A slight problem with solar energy...
A slight problem with solar energy…
  • Whilst solar energy is free in theory, you have to remember that it could cost billions to build a global range of solar power plants. Thankfully, the price of this manufacturing job has started to decrease, although it will still cost you to get hold of your own solar panel.
  • Conventional power stations are far superior to that of solar power stations, which would also cost quite a lot to build.
  • Whilst solar power plants can be placed anywhere where sunlight is present, they can’t necessarily be placed in areas where land is scarce. They need to be tightly packed together in numbers to allow enough electricity to power all of them at once.
  • Solar power can be used at night but they require storage batteries that collect solar energy during the day. These batteries are heavy and expensive and tend to need replacing every now and then.
  • Solar panels can cause certain parts of the world to look a lot less appealing, especially if they begin turning up all over the place. You may find that many land owners will oppose the idea of having solar power plants built anywhere near their land.

When you way up the pros and cons of this type of energy source, you might find that your opinion on the matter has changed somewhat. However, there’s no denying the fact that solar power could be an essential tool in the near future and is probably a better alternative to other forms of energy we are currently using far more regularly.

If you’re keen to get stuck in with this renewable form of energy, don’t be afraid to pursue some of the latest products powered by solar energy. In addition, you can cut your energy bills by getting hold of some solar panels. They may be costly upfront but solar panels can help provide your home with electricity without the need for bills.

There are a number of other products that are powered by solar energy you can get hold of. These include fans, cookers, lanterns, tents, backpacks and more. Most of these products are associated with the outdoors, so if you’re a keen walker or enjoy the idea of camping every now and then, these solar powered products might be able to provide you with that essential source of energy you need during your trip.

There are a number of questions to consider if you’re still not certain about solar power. Think about your personal opinion on the renewable energy source, whether or not it could be the answer to the world’s energy crisis, its effect on the environment and devices that could potentially be powered by solar energy in the future.

Mike James is a former heating engineer with an interest in greener sources of electricity. He writes about energy sources and supplies for BSW Heating, solar panel installation specialists.

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