The Solar Energy Boom – Why So Much Controversy?

The sun gives us plenty of consistent, pollution-free power in the world. On the way to produce more from this free energy, we need to discover new production techniques that can help solve the difficulty of storing energy when the sun isn’t shining. Solar power is actually one of the uncontaminated methods of energy production ever known to mankind.

However, there are several problems with solar energy. The 3 biggest hindrances to a solar energy boom are:On the edge of a Solar Energy Boom?

1. Cost

The single biggest obstacle solar energy faces is with respect to the contending energy sources which have always been cheaper. Generating solar power is nine to eleven times more costly as and when compared to generating power from coal, hydro or nuclear sources. The problem lies with the cost of the technology. Preservation and maintenance costs are very expensive since every single inch of the solar panel must be kept spotlessly clean and unpolluted. Their effectiveness reduces even if a small part is obstructed by a leaf or a thin film of dust.

Solar panels (accumulators) are expensive and as they are constructed from fragile materials like semiconductors, glass, etc.; to this effect, they must be maintained regularly and often replaced. Installing solar panels on a household is costly and involves qualified people who know their job well.

Nevertheless, in recent years, solar power is slowly coming closer to grid-parity, in terms of the price, especially with respect to the introduction of new types of solar panel chemistry like Cadmium Telluride.

2. Geographic and Weather Limitations

Several sites do not obtain enough solar energy to make things cost effective. While selected regions would benefit from adapting solar power, other parts of the world would receive little benefit from the solar system. Overcast areas with recurrent rain are often not suited for solar panels as they need the direct sun to produce power effectively.

Although some solar energy can be collected even during the cloudiest of days, efficient solar energy collection is at the mercy of the sun. Even a few cloudy days can have a large effect on an energy system; particularly when solar energy cannot be collected at night.

3. Embodied energy and Infrastructure

Green energy BoomIt takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce energy with a solar panel. Given the dependency on the type of panel and the way it’s made, the panel itself may require 11 years’ worth of energy production.

The infrastructure or material used to make solar panels is required in abundance. So, if the supply fluctuates, it hinders the production. This again, depends on the type of panel. Lack of material can be hard for the producers as they will be unable to meet the demand, which will in turn push up the cost – which is the main stumbling block for the adoption of solar energy.

Normally solar panels produce most of their energy during the intermediate time of the day which further reduces in the evening. Also, they produce maximum power during summers. To the extent that the demand for power does not coincide with this production curve, other sources of energy should be used to fill in whenever required.

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This article is written by Peter Helms, a professional blogger. He shares environment friendly tips and techniques through his articles. He says he recently read somewhere that Hawaii is perfect for generating solar power and hopes the same technology can be applied to other parts of the world.

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Filed under: Controversial Green Issues

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