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What Are The Main Disadvantages Of Solar Energy?

We look at the 10 disadvantages to solar panels in Orlando to provide a balanced understanding of their advantages (which we always talk about). Please continue reading to learn more about our opinion as a solar contractor in Orlando, Florida.

 

In the last few decades, solar panels have become the primary source of renewable energy. They have rapidly become popular and are used domestically, working to produce green electrical energy to help people utilize an environmentally friendly energy source. They have become a common feature to multiple structures, not just homes, because of multiple factors.

Solar contractor installing solar electric panels in South Apopka Orlando

What are Solar Panels Used for?

 

Solar panels harvest energy from the sun and convert it into mechanical or electrical energy that can be stored in batteries or used as a direct source for power. The size, type, and number of solar panels determine how much energy they produce and in our case in Orlando, it is often enough to run a small residential home. 

 

The electricity produced by solar panels can be used to power your homes or the appliances in your homes. Most commonly, they are used to power air conditioning or heating appliances to reduce the cost of electricity bills. These panels are becoming vastly popular, especially among homeowners in Apopka, Lake Nona, Horizons West and Winter Garden, as it holds multiple, long-term benefits. 

 

Solar panels are also spreading in the corporate world because they are a sustainable, green option to produce electricity and have significantly longer lives. The upfront cost of solar panels is high but it helps you save a lot on energy bills in the future. 

 

If you are looking to install solar panels in your home, it is best to understand what the main disadvantages of solar energy panels are, alongside the advantages that we always post on our website and blog.

 

In this article, we will discuss some of the most dominant disadvantages of solar energy that every homeowner must look into before investing in solar energy.

Solar electric panels on the roof of a house in Orlando Florida

10 Major Disadvantages of Solar Panels


The cost of electricity rises about 3% - 5% every year so it makes sense to look at alternative energy resources such as solar panels. However, this is slightly complex as solar panels require care and maintenance for them to work for a long time. They can also become inefficient if installed in an unreliable environment and get damaged easily. 

The cost of replacing solar panels is high, so scrutinizing every aspect of their functioning is important before installation. Here are some of the major disadvantages of solar panels:


  1. Solar Power is Expensive
    Deciding to invest in solar panels will benefit you in the long run as they will save you money from increased electrical bills but the upfront cost of the panels is known to be very high. 

    Depending on the company you choose, the prices of these panels can vary but you need several panels if you want to fully power your house, which will result in a large investment. 

    Investing in the panels and the equipment it requires, increases the cost of installation to the point that you can go into debt if you have not saved up for this. These panels are also prone to damage, in which case you will be bound to replace them, which will cost you more than your pricey initial investment. 
  2. Location and Sunlight Availability
    One of the main disadvantages of solar energy is the lack of its availability in certain areas. Since solar panels harvest solar energy and convert it into electrical energy; hence your panels must be placed in the optimum spot to receive maximum sunlight. Not every location gets favourable lighting and the efficacy of the panels drop the farther you get from the equator.

    The effectiveness of solar panels also depends upon the season and the number of hours of sunlight your area receives. In the summers, the panels are likely to generate more energy since the sun is closer to your location but it will change in the winter months.

    To make things clearer, the panels must receive 4-5 hours of good sunlight for them to function efficiently. These ideal conditions are not met everywhere which puts countries like Canada, Russia, and Hawaii at a solar disadvantage. 
  3. Installation Area
    Another major disadvantage of solar energy is the amount of area required for the panels to be installed. For homeowners who want to produce electrical energy through solar panels, the entirety of their roofs will have to be dedicated for the installation. 

    Moreover, big companies or industries that want to generate power through solar energy must be ready to sacrifice a large amount of space for solar panel installation. 

    The space dedicated to solar panels must receive direct sunlight for more than three hours a day for good energy output. The largest area of land dedicated to solar panels is in Spain, which measures up to 173 acres. Solar panels on this land are used to power 12,000 homes. 
  4. You Can’t Move if You Get Solar
    One of the major disadvantages of solar energy is that it remains with the house if you decide to move. The solar companies will have the lease or the PPA switched to the new tenant. 

    Solar energy reduces the cost of your electricity bills and the new tenants or homeowners will likely want the benefit they offer, therefore, they will have no reason to take them down.

    Solar panels can increase the value of a home and realtors understand the bargain. The solar companies have specialists that tend to work with realtors and home inspectors to make sure the transfer of lease is achieved smoothly. But, if you prefer to take the solar panelling system with you, it can be uninstalled and reinstalled at a hefty cost. 
  5. Solar Panels Have a Negative Energy Balance
    Although solar panels are considered a green alternative to electricity production, the process it takes to manufacture these panels can have harmful effects on the environment. With more people switching to solar energy, solar panels are being mass-produced which results in the burning of fossil fuels and large amounts of plastic waste. 

    However, a recent study from Stanford shows that solar panels installed around the world can produce enough energy to make up for that used in their production. 
  6. Solar Doesn’t Work at Night
    Before opting for solar energy, you have a one-way connection to the grid but when you install solar panels, you generate a two-way connection, meaning that you generate power as well as consume it. 

    Most people are away during the day and consume energy at night. But since there is no sun to directly power the house, the energy produced by the solar panels during the day is stored in the grid. Many people who opt for solar panels also tend to invest in backup batteries. Adding a battery backup system increases the amount of the solar panel system. 
  7. Solar Panels Are Inefficient 
    According to the second law of thermodynamics, no machine will ever reach 100% efficiency. The highest energy output that can be expected from solar panels is 85% and those are for panels equipped with motors and mirrors to follow the sun.

    However, just because a system isn’t 100% efficient doesn’t mean it is not working hard or producing enough. Efficiency is more about how much space it requires for the panel to produce power. A 250 Watt solar panel with 15% efficiency will produce the same amount of energy as a 250 Watt solar panel with 20% efficiency. The only difference is that the solar panel with a higher efficiency rate will be smaller.

    Higher efficiency is an important factor to consider in solar panels because efficient panels occupy less space. If you have adequate room on your roof to install a large number of panels, efficiency might not be an issue for you. But it is important to conserve space in tight areas. The only drawback is that efficient solar panels are more expensive. 
  8. Solar Panels Could Damage Your Roof
    Since solar panels require direct access to the sun for most of the day, they are situated on roofs. Using these panels to generate green electricity is beneficial but one of the major disadvantages of solar energy is the threat it poses to the structure of your roof.

    Buying solar panels is not enough, you have to spend money on the installation too. Oftentimes, this installation can cost almost as much as the panels, and people look for ways to save their money. This can result in hiring an unqualified technician to install the solar panels on the roof.

    Improper installation of solar panels can not only damage the solar panel but can also damage the roof, resulting in permanent damage. This damage can cause water to seep through, allowing the growth of mould and mildew to significantly damage the exterior and interior of a home. You must hire a professional solar company like Everything Solar to assess the roof for cracks and damages before installing the panels correctly. 
  9. Pollution and Environmental Impact
    Solar panels, despite being a sustainable energy source, leave behind a huge environmental impact during their production. These include land and water pollution, loss of habitat, and use of hazardous materials that are not disposed of properly.

    The manufacturing of solar panels burns a large number of fuels and some of the compounds used in the manufacturing process include cadmium, lead, gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-di-selenide, hydrochloric acid, Sulphur acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1 –tri-chloro-ethane, and acetone. 

    In many countries such as the USA, solar panel manufacturers are required to reuse substances rather than dispose of them but in other countries like Malaysia, China, the Philippines, and Taiwan, these materials end up in a landfill, polluting land, water, and air. 

    This might be one of the gravest disadvantages of solar energy and must be looked into before opting for solar panels. 
  10. Solar Doesn't Work in Cool, Cloudy, or Foggy Climates
    Solar panels are designed to harvest the energy of the sun as it hits the panels and converts it into electrical energy for use. But one drawback of solar panels is that they require at least 4-5 hours of sun every day to be able to generate optimum electricity. 

    If you live in a city that is often foggy, cloudy, or rainy, you might not get the best results out of a solar panel installation. However, currently, Germany leads the world in residential solar despite not having a sunny climate. 
solar electric panel and solar hot water panel on a roof in Orlando Floriday

Why Are Solar Panels So Important?

 

One of the most compelling reasons to opt for solar energy is its sustainable aspects. In the last few decades, solar panels have become vastly popular and some of the reasons for their popularity might be:

 

  • Saving Money
    An important aspect of choosing solar energy is the money it saves you on electrical bills. Solar panels can power entire households, cutting the cost of power bills in half. They can also be used to power electrical appliances that require a large electrical input like air conditioners and heaters which can also save you a lot of money in bills. 

  • Environment-friendly
    Solar panels help people believe they are making a stand for the environment by using a renewable energy source. Despite the high upfront amount, people choose to invest in solar panels as they will generate clean energy that can be used or sold. The sustainable aspect of solar panels is one of the biggest reasons for their popularity.

  • Government Incentives
    In many countries, the government offers to buy back any solar energy your panels might produce. Solar panels are on the rise because of the incentives being put forward by the government to help the people move towards solar power. 

 

The Final Word

Despite the many disadvantages of solar panels, they are considered one of the best innovations of the last few decades. Solar panels help the environment and your pockets by using solar energy to produce electricity. Here are some of the major advantages of solar panels worth looking into:

Solar panels save you money.

 

  • Solar panels can help you earn money.
  • Uses a renewable source of energy.
  • It offers you reliability and security.
  • It helps us build an environmentally friendly future.
  • It helps creates jobs.