Thanks to recent advances in solar technology, solar energy is rapidly gaining acceptance across the world. Today’s solar power is cheaper and easier than ever to install, and more efficient at converting the sun’s power into electricity. A careful analysis of both the pros and cons of solar energy shows just how far this technology has come.
Solar’s biggest advantage is that it has zero fuel cost, since all of its power comes from the sun. Solar power is also extremely clean, generating no emissions of any type at all. Photovoltaic panels are silent and reliable, having no moving parts to break or make noise. They also work all over the world, as long as they get an adequate number of sun hours per day. Finally, they carry a number of financial benefits. Installing solar panels brings generous federal tax credits, as well as local and state credits in many areas. For extremely efficient buildings, a solar installation can even spin the electric meter backwards, selling power back to the building’s electric provider and resulting in a negative utility bill.
On the other hand, the cons surrounding solar power are more limited. Even with its financial benefits, solar power is still relatively expensive to install. With the exception of some large-scale thermal solar plants that use heat storage technology, it only works when the panels are being directly hit by the sun. Solar power also has aesthetic and environmental challenges. On a home, some find solar panels to be unattractive and utility-scale installations use a great deal of land, potentially disrupting existing ecosystems. Finally, although the technology can work globally, snowy and dusty areas require additional maintenance to keep the panels unobstructed.
At the end of the day, solar power is an excellent way to generate clean energy. Due to this, more home builders are including solar panels or reinforced roofs to support future solar panels in their homes. Utility companies are also developing new solar-power plants throughout the world. If the current trend toward utilizing solar energy continues, it is inevitable that the negative aspects surrounding the use of solar energy will be diminished once and for all.
–By Jordan Allen on behalf of Richmond American Homes, which builds new homes in Denver
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