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Why Use Solar Power

Jun 17, 2008
Using renewable energy resources is making sense to many people as they become more aware of the environmental consequences of fossil fuels and the rising inflation of fuels like coal and oil due to scarcity or political problems. One form of renewable energy is solar power. This article will touch on the advantages and disadvantages of using solar power.

The Sun's energy can provide our homes with power. Sunlight can also be used as an energy source for many of our increasingly ubiquitous personal devices, like laptops, mobile phones and personal entertainment systems. The first advantage of solar power is that it is a clean way to generate energy. Although there are carbon footprints created by the production of solar panels, once the solar panels are creating power it is clean power.

Using a solar power system reduces pollution. It does not create any greenhouse gas emissions. It does not create any damage to the immediate location in which it is used.

Solar power systems are built to last. This is more important for home solar power systems where there is quite a large initial investment. However, even on portable devices like watches or calculators, the solar recharging will last the lifetime of the device.

Maintenance of solar power systems are generally low. In most cases only the moving parts of the system will wear out and need replacing. The solar panels will get less and less efficient over time but it is estimated that good panels will stay 80% efficient for up to 25 years.

Home solar power systems are not complicated or dangerous to run for the average person. In fact, if they are part of a net metering scheme with a utility company, most of the complexity is worn by the utility company.

There are certainly a few negative aspects of using solar power. Before consumers can have any solar power, they have to make a large investment on the equipment and installation. They will make up this investment over the life of the solar power system but this large up front sum can deter many people. There are more grants and incentives being introduced to minimize this deterrent to getting solar energy.

Not withstanding the costs of setting up a solar system, the biggest problem is reliability. Solar power is not suitable in certain locations where there is not much sunlight year round or the weather conditions block out the Sun. And a solar system will only be operational during the day when the Sun is out so this means it can only generate power for 12-14 hours a day depending on the time of year.

As Solar power is perceived as being unreliable, many governments are not as committed to it as a way to mass produce energy. Instead they see nuclear power as a better choice in terms of reliability.

However, for many homes, installing some kind of solar system is making practical and economic sense. In terms of solar panels the best way to mitigate against any of the inherent disadvantages of solar power is to tie it to the grid. all this means is that the home is still connected to the grid so that if the weather is not good for creating solar power the grid can be used.
About the Author
Find out how a solar power water boiler works and how to passive solar energy can power your home at http://www.solarpowerappliances.com
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