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Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Aug 17, 2007
The use of solar energy is versatile; it is used for electricity, central heating, hot water, cooking, for producing salt and even for desalination. The energy comes from the sun's rays and is known to be very environmentally friendly. However, when the sun rays enter the earth's atmosphere it is quite dilute. Although the advantages are clear there are also disadvantages.

Let's start with the biggest advantage; it is a clean form of energy. To produce electricity or heat you only need the sun rays. There is no need to use fossil fuel in combination with sun rays to produce electricity or heat. You just need a solar energy collector or solar power panels in order to convert the energy into electricity.

Another advantage is that it is cheaper than to use traditional electricity for heating. If you are using traditional electricity for heating you can save a lot of money. In return you will get lower electric bills and it also means that you don't have to maintain heaters.

If you live in a remote area where there are no power-lines solar energy can be the solution. There are remote areas where power companies have no means to access your home. This great alternative can provide you with anything from heating water, electricity, and even cooking.

Another great use is for desalination in areas where fresh, drinkable water is scarce. The brine is evaporated and leaves the salt crystals in the bottom of the basin. The water in turn condenses back in another basin where it is now drinkable.

The advantages mentioned above are tremendous but there are some disadvantages. These disadvantages also need to be discussed to paint a better overall picture.

The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it's dilute. This means you have to have a lot of solar collectors installed around your house. The energy itself is free, but the solar collectors are relatively expensive and some require regular maintenance in order to work properly and efficiently. If you decide to go solar you need to calculate the return on investment in order to know if the investment will be worth it.

One big disadvantage is that you need the sun rays to make use of it. If you are situated in a part of this beautiful planet where there is not much sun light then this could be a problem. In other areas, the sun rays are almost always covered in clouds making solar energy collectors less efficient. You should first know if the sunshine in your area is abundant for the most part of the year. Of course if you live in desert areas like in Arizona or Mexico the sun produces a lot of sunshine for the most part of the.

Lastly the sun only shines during the day. Therefore if you need electricity or hot water during the night, like many of us do, it can be a problem. You will need a backup system like the 'old' utility grid or you will need to store the electricity for later use. There are battery systems that can store solar energy for later use. The hot water collected during daytime is often stored in a tank for later use. The modern systems are becoming more sophisticated in storing electricity or hot water. If you are still using your grid, the produced electricity can be pumped back into the grid.

Solar energy is very clean and is a good alternative for traditional electricity. Although this is true it is also good to mention the disadvantages. If you are considering using solar energy you must read this first to make a balanced decision.
About the Author
Bryan Wong is the owner of the solar information website
www.GetEasyInfo.com/solarpower> - A great website that shares quality Info, News and TIPS on solar energy.
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