Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

Real Estate

With increasing Electric Rates are you thinking about SOLAR ?

solar

 

Here are a few things to consider:

 

With all the uproar about energy costs, you may be looking into available alternatives to lower your energy bill.  You may want to research solar power.  It’s the one power source we all have equal access to and it is virtually limitless, once you have invested in the hardware necessary to harvest it! If you’ve never understood exactly how solar works and what the advantages are, read on.

 

You’ve seen them on rooftops, office buildings and even calculators and watches: solar cells. These solar cells, also called photovoltaics - PV, convert sunlight directly into electricity. PVs are made of semiconducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. When sunlight strikes these materials, the solar energy kicks loose electrons from their atoms, allowing those electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect.  Photovoltaic cells have become more efficient recently, and mass production techniques have lowered costs making them a more realistic option for the average consumer.

 

Solar cells are usually put together into modules that hold about 40 cells. Then ten of the 40-cell modules are mounted on flat plate arrays (we know them as solar panels). These flat-plate PV arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle, or they can be mounted on a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight over the course of a day. Ten to twenty PV arrays can provide enough power for the average American household.

 

Solar technology continues to advance. The latest thing is thin-film solar cells. These cells are made of layered semiconductor materials that are only a few micrometers thick. This thin film technology makes possible roof shingles and tiles, building facades and window glazing made of photovoltaic material. These shingles and glazing are just as protective and durable as conventional shingles and glazing.

 

solar parts

 

There are, naturally, pros and cons to using solar panels. Some of the advantages include:

PRO:

No carbon emissions, pollution, or waste. It’s some of the cleanest energy you’re bound to find.

 

You can free yourself (at least partially) from power companies. No more dependence on the power grid system, no more being at the mercy of outages and rate hikes. Several installation types are available.  One type can send electricity to your house if needed or be switched out to the 'grid'.  Either way saves you $$.  Some installations, particularly in remote locations may use batteries to store the excess energy from your solar collector for use at night or during periods of heavy demand. 

 

Disadvantages:

 

$$  COST. The average cost for a home installation of the typical solar panel system is $35,000. There are two types of solar panel systems: solar thermal system and the solar electric system. The solar thermal system is less expensive than solar electric systems. Solar thermal systems can cost as little as $8,000, but a typical solar electric system costs about $44,000.  A variety of financing arrangements and rebates are often available.

They must be protected from mechanical damage (in particular against hail impact, wind and snow loads, ice). This is especially important for wafer-based silicon cells which are brittle.  Your geographic location and local climate may have considerable impact on the actual benefit of your particular installation.  California has an ideal climate and location to make solar an energy alternative worth checking out!!