Solar Energy Pros and Cons

In recent years, interest in natural energy sources has increased significantly. Solar energy is the most popular among them.Photovoltaic farms that convert solar radiation into energy are becoming more and more common.

The increase in the popularity of solar panels is particularly evident in single-family housing. Before installing them, it is worth knowing the pros and cons of energy obtained from the sun.

Solar energy – definition, parameters, resources

Solar energy is a free and clean energy resource, and at the same time is generally available. It is the basic type of renewable energy, so it cannot be exhausted. By using it, you can meet the demand for heat and electricity. Solar energy has specific parameters describing its features. The most important of these is insolation, which determines the annual amount of sunshine. It is a measure of the amount of solar radiation energy per given area over a given period of time. The next parameter is the theoretical potential, which informs us about the possibilities of using a given amount of energy for energy purposes. Due to the fact that this value is theoretical by name, it does not translate into real possibilities of solar energy consumption for obtaining energy for utility purposes. The calculation of technical potential mainly takes into account geographical location. In addition, the efficiency parameters of selected technologies and the possibilities of energy storage are taken into account.

The use of solar energy

The most commonly used devices for converting solar energy are solar cells and solar collectors . In solar cells, solar energy is transformed into electricity. Semiconductors (silicon, germanium, selenium) are used to build cells. In the process of connecting solar cells, solar batteries are obtained whose parameters depend on the number and quality of cells. Photovoltaic cells are most often used in elements of solar power plants and artificial satellites. In everyday life they can be found as parts of calculators, watches and even cars.

Solar collectors are responsible for the conversion of solar radiation energy into heat. Different types of heat transfer medium can be used in this type of equipment, both in liquid (water, glycol) and gas forms. Collectors also differ in design. Most often they can be found on the roofs of single-family houses, in which they are primarily used to heat water for utility purposes and to support the building heating installation. Some investors use them as a way to heat pool water , cool objects in the summer, and even generate technical heat.

According to statistical data, the use of solar energy allows you to reduce expenses related to  heating hot water by up to 70%. In turn, savings on the costs of central heating can reach about 60%. Solar energy allows independence from market suppliers and allows protection against price fluctuations.


Pros and cons of solar energy

Among the advantages of solar energy should be pointed out the fact that it is a completely free source that has the ability to constantly renew. Solar radiation is available in virtually any geographical location, even during precipitation and cloud cover.

Appropriate adaptation of solar energy processing equipment determines its universality. This gives the opportunity to use it in both single-family and industrial construction. The lack of complicated mechanical systems inside solar devices affects their trouble-free operation.

The total cost of generating electricity using solar cells is much lower than that of traditional types of power plants. The method of obtaining solar energy is not associated with the emission of undesirable substances into the environment, which is a real protection of the natural environment.

The main disadvantage of solar energy are high investment costs that must be incurred in connection with the purchase and assembly of all accessories. The efficiency of the entire installation depends on weather conditions and the degree of sunlight. Therefore, it is necessary to equip the system with additional elements enabling energy production in moments of low sunlight and its storage. In Polish conditions, the value of the energy stream density is not high, which is associated with the need to develop large areas for energy production. This is often problematic due to the unfavorable terrain.

In general, the use of solar energy is cost-effective and efficient. In addition, it allows you to use naturally occurring resources that are not depleted. This way of obtaining energy is therefore economically, ecologically and socially beneficial.


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