While solar energy is often talked about as a solution to the problem of increased carbon emissions, dwindling supplies and a need to find sustainable sources of energy, there are a few cons of solar energy. These cons of solar energy do need to be taken into consideration. The cons of solar water heating systems and the cons of photovoltaic panels for solar electricity generation are different, but need to be considered. Passive solar heating has another set of cons again.
Cons of solar energy panels:
- Photovoltaic panels take quite a lot of energy to manufacture. Some experts believe that it can take up to 11 years until the energy produced by a photovoltaic panel equals the amount of energy used to make it. However, most people wanting to install photovoltaic panels intend to use them for longer than this. And naturally, plans are underway to use solar energy as the source for manufacturing the photovoltaic panels…
- Photovoltaic panels can’t be used at night for obvious reasons without some form of storage cycle – usually a deep-cycle battery. In areas with a lot of cloudy weather, households that depend on solar energy only may struggle. Get the right sort of deep cycle battery for your needs – a deep cycle battery designed for motor homes is no good for a regular home.
- You need quite a few PV panels to supply enough household energy. This writer has seen a household where the owners installed no more than 2m2 of panels: the general rule of thumb was that if you had one light turned on, all was well. Two lights worked OK, three lights were pretty dim, but don’t bother switching on four – candles will be brighter. The lights also dimmed if the water pump went into action (e.g. if someone flushed the loo).
- PV panels need to be installed at the right orientation and the right angle to catch the maximum amount of sun. This angle and orientation can often make the panels a popular roosting place for birds, which means that you will have to clean bird crap off the panels periodically, as this will really block the amount of sunlight reaching the business part of the panel.
- Some people don’t like the look of PV panels on the house.
Cons of solar water heating:
- Again, the solar water heating system may look unsightly.
- While they can be retrofitted, a house needs to have a suitable area on the roof (north facing and unshaded for most of the day) near to the hot water tank. Not all houses have been made like this.
Cons of passive solar design:
- Passive solar design cannot be retrofitted to an existing house. It must be part of the design from the beginning.
- Bare stone floors (the best sort for passive solar heating) can be unwelcoming and uncomfortable, especially with small children in the house. They are also hard on the feet.
- The materials can often be quite expensive and the design considerations may be unfeasible for domestic situations
- Solar Electricity: How it’s Made, How to Use It
- Home Solar Energy Uses
- Disadvantages of Solar Energy
- Common Uses of Solar Energy in Modern Homes
- The Basics About Solar Power Panels
- Solar Thermal Design: How It Works
- About Solar Energy & How It’s Harnessed
- Solar Power For Homes