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Solar energy: Advantages and disadvantages

Solar energy is the least polluting of the environment. The advantages it offers are numerous.but what about when we talk about the disadvantages?

We already anticipate that they are few. We tell you everything you need to know about the benefits and drawbacks of this energy.

Solar energy: Advantages and disadvantages

Solar energy has a long series of benefits, but, as in everything, there are also aspects to improve.

We are going to analyze in parts all the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy, from the sustainability of this energy, to the job creation it generates or the impediment that time can represent when we talk about production.

The advantages of solar energy

The solar energy It has more advantages than disadvantages, the main one being the low impact it has on the environment.

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The advantages of this energy, either thermal or photovoltaic, broadly speaking are:

  • Produce clean and renewable energy
  • Only today has reached the earth as much solar energy as energy we need in a whole year
  • Works anywhere with sun
  • Solar panels have a stylish design and do not affect the landscape
  • They do not affect the land much, especially in the case of self-consumption where they are usually mounted on the roofs of buildings
  • 90% of the materials that make up a panel are recycled
  • Solar panels generate free energy
  • Solar energy creates jobs
  • Panels are easy to install, quiet and have a long service life
  • can also be produced passive solar energy.

The rest of renewable energy sources They also have advantages and disadvantages that are very similar to solar energy, as you can see in this Gana Energía post about the pros and cons of wind power. This, for example, is also inexhaustible and safe, but it is subject to the weather.

Below we explain the peculiarities of photovoltaic solar energy and thermal solar energy for self-consumption.

The advantages of photovoltaic solar energy for self-consumption in Spain

Photovoltaic solar energy is expanding internationally. Both at the industrial level, of solar farms, and at the level of residential self-consumption, the market penetration of this type of energy continues to increase. The benefits that it brings are the main reason for the success of photovoltaics.

Broadly speaking, we talk about the same general advantages of solar energy, but photovoltaic self-consumption has its particularities.

In Spain, one of the main points in favor is the price. In our country we have prices among the most expensive in electrical energy in all of Europe. The average price of electricity purchased in Spain is €0.14-0.16 per kilowatt-hour (€0.17-0.19 per kilowatt-hour with taxes). Photovoltaic solar energy is free, except for the price of the initial investment. This makes photovoltaic self-consumption one of the most profitable. In addition, if a self-consumption installation is connected to the network, it is possible to obtain a compensation for the surpluses that you do not consume by the electric company with which you are.

Also regarding profitability, it should be noted that Spain has approximately 300 sunny days a year, which guarantees a high photovoltaic production. The large production capacity and the high price of electricity mean that the electricity bill is reduced by up to 50%, even more so in cases where the client is able to move their consumption to daylight hours.

In addition, various grants can be obtained, both at municipal and regional level. All this, together with the fact that solar modules have a lifespan of more than 20 years, make an investment recover quickly.

How is it logical, the installation of solar modules on the roof of a house leads to its value rising by approximately 5%. If someone decides to move before paying off their investment, this helps the system pay for itself anyway. It’s more, solar panels require little maintenanceWell, simply cleaning the modules a few times a year with a hose and a soft sponge that does not scratch the surface is enough.

The advantages of solar thermal energy for self-consumption in Spain

As in the case of photovoltaic energy for self-consumption, thermal energy, apart from the advantages of solar energy in general, characterized by the savings it can generate and it is that once the installation of the thermal panels is done, the energy is free. This is used to heat the water used in the home, one of the major expenses of a home.

The disadvantages of solar energy

Solar energy and its use have few disadvantages, moreover if we talk about photovoltaic energy, which shows to be a better bet than thermal.

Broadly speaking, the drawbacks of solar energy are:

  • The cost of the initial investment – although the investment can be amortized in about 5-7 years in the case of areas with high solar irradiation, it still represents an important initial contribution. It is worth mentioning that there are alternatives for households that want to switch to self-consumption: financing through a bank or renting solar panels.
  • Dependence on the weather – however, it should be mentioned that solar panels, even in cloudy weather, produce energy. These can generate up to 25% of their capacity.
  • Air pollution affects production – in areas with high levels of pollution it has been noted that solar panels produce slightly less energy.
  • The installation depends on the possibilities of the roof in the case of self-consumption.
  • In the case of solar farms, these can occupy an extensive space.
  • The manufacture of the modules is not a zero emission process, however, taking into account that it is an energy that does not pollute and that the panels can be recycled, this error is compensated.

The disadvantages of solar thermal energy compared to photovoltaic

And if we want to make a comparison between the two: what type of solar energy brings more advantages? The answer is simple: photovoltaic solar energy has more benefits than thermal.

The advantages of photovoltaic energy compared to thermal energy are:

  • shelf life time: While a photovoltaic panel can produce energy for up to 30 years and a solar inverter has a useful life of up to 10 years, in the case of the elements that make up the thermal system we speak of a lower durability (thermosiphon or forced circulation equipment does not last more than 5-10 years)
  • maintenance: Since they have moving parts, thermal panels require extra care when cleaning and replacing defective parts.
  • versatility: Photovoltaic panels have more uses than thermal ones, which only heat water. Televisions, dishwashers or electric heating can benefit from photovoltaics.

It is true that thermal solar energy also has advantages over photovoltaic energy, such as the price of the system, which is lower. However, if we think about the useful life time and the uses that can be given to it, the most profitable option is still photovoltaic energy.

In conclusion, despite its drawbacks, solar energy has many benefits for society, the environment and the economy. Regardless of whether we are talking about photovoltaic or thermal energy, switching to self-consumption of solar energy will always bring benefits.

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