This post is derived from RP Siegel’s post Solar Photovoltaics: Pros and Cons and concerns photovoltaics specifically.
Enough sunlight falls on the Earth in one hour, to meet the world’s energy demand for a year, if it could be collected.
Let’s break down some of the simple advantages of solar energy:
Advantages of Solar Energy
- Clean energy. No combustion. No greenhouse gas emission from use.
- Inexhaustible and abundant “fuel” supply
- Available nearly everywhere
- Well suited for distribution generation
- Technology exists today and is rapidly improving
- Generates electricity directly from sunlight
- No moving parts required
- Power generation is silent. No noise or pollution.
- Little or no transmission required
- Matches up well with air-conditioning need
- Require minimal maintenance
- Grants and incentives are sometimes available
- Excess heat can be used for co-generation
What about the disadvantages of solar energy?
Besides the relatively clear cut pros and cons of solar PV, there are also the transformative socio-economic impacts of moving from centralized to distributed power generation. There is clearly a technical advantage, since efficiency losses associated with long range transmission are eliminated, as are, possibly hundreds of miles of power lines that now crisscross the landscape. Lost would be certain economies of scale and centralized control. Distributed power generation is more resilient against large-scale blackouts as well as acts of terror, though it could mean a change in business models for today’s utilities.
Find out what it takes to put solar on your home.