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7 Disadvantages of Solar Energy: Is It Right For You?

These are the 7 disadvantages of solar energy. Here’s what you need to know about the other side of solar energy from the team at SmartSolar.org.
Solar Panels
5 minutes
Written by:
Joey Cheek
Updated on:
January 4, 2023

Did you know there are seven disadvantages of solar energy? Solar panels produce energy by pulling in the sun’s radiation. In the ideal situation, solar energy systems work reliably to provide enough solar energy to keep a home powered. Yet, there are some situations and a few drawbacks to know about how they work and what they do. If you plan to install solar panels or you are considering whether solar technology is going to be a resource for your future, take into consideration these disadvantages of solar energy.

SmartSolar.org is here to educate and provide you with all of the information you need. If you are thinking about solar panel installation, contact us to learn more.

Are There Disadvantages to Solar Energy?

Without any doubt, there are a lot of benefits to using renewable energy to power your home. In nearly all situations, the solar industry has grown and changed over the years to make it a better option for consumers. Yet, there are a few disadvantages of solar energy you should know a bit about.

1. Solar Energy Can Be Expensive

The average cost out of pocket to install a solar energy system is generally around $16,000. That is a lot of money to pay outright to buy solar panels. The cost of solar energy has fallen significantly over the years – as much as 70% since 2004. Yet, for many people, this is still a high cost.

There are a few ways to offset this. The federal solar tax credit is one of the best routes to take, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. You can claim up to 30% (the amount varies based on the year you use it) of the cost of your federal taxes. If you install solar panels, this can help to significantly reduce your costs. Also, many solar companies offer loans and leasing options that can also help to keep costs lower.

2. The Weather Can Be a Problem

Solar energy systems rely on direct sunlight to work. To effectively gather solar energy, these systems must be able to have sunlight strike the surface of the solar panel. On cloudy days or days when there is a storm, that is harder to do. That means that, in these situations, solar panels may not work as they should. Without sunlight, a solar panel system cannot operate as it should, and that means it cannot generate the electricity you need to power your home.

3. You Need Solar Energy Storage, and That's Expensive

Solar batteries help to hold onto the solar energy that is captured by the solar panels. When the sun strikes a solar panel, it creates electricity. That electricity can feed directly into your home to keep it running. However, one of the solar energy disadvantages is that without solar batteries, there is no way to store that energy for when you actually need it.

The good news is that many solar systems today come with solar batteries and other solar equipment to keep costs low. Yet, this does increase the initial cost you pay as solar storage solutions tend to be expensive.

4. Pollution Risks

Solar technologies are designed to help produce clean energy. It is an excellent renewable energy source and a good alternative to burning fossil fuels for your needs. The production process solar panels require, though, is significant, and there is some production of greenhouse gasses in that process. Yet, as you work to reduce your carbon footprint, you also have to realize that these renewable energy sources use some of the most rare and even some toxic chemicals in them. If, when they are no longer used, the solar cells are not properly disposed of, they can add to landfills and pollute the planet as a result.

5. They Need a Lot of Space

To generate power for your home from the sun’s energy, you will need to have enough space to dedicate to the system – the solar array, the mounting equipment, the solar battery, and all of the other components that are necessary to generate power. There are some situations where solar panels installed on rooftops can be limited. If your rooftop does not have enough space to dedicate to solar installation, you may not be able to use it. Even with efficient solar panels, you need more solar panels if you need more energy – the more solar panels you need, the higher the costs get and the more space they need.

6. Solar Panels Are Not as Efficient

Efficient solar panels are out there, and some of them can reach much higher efficiency levels today than they did years ago. However, solar technology has a long way to go to be truly highly efficient. Solar energy itself is difficult to capture, and even the most efficient solar power system today is only likely to be around 20% or less efficient. Still, solar power is a way to tap into the sun's energy, and solar panels are improving rapidly. Solar installation does allow you to save money by reducing your dependence on the electricity grid. Over time, more efficient solar panels are likely to be developed.

7. You May Still Need Electricity from the Grid

There are times when you will still need the power company and electrical grid. When your solar panel system does not produce electricity or enough energy to meet your needs, you may need to turn to the electric grid to produce electricity for your home. That means you may not eliminate your energy bills.

Tap Into the Benefits of Solar Energy

If you want to enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle, take advantage of the available tax credits, and do your part to use a renewable source for your energy needs, now is the time to do so. Let the team at SmartSolar.org help you make the best decision for your home. Take our solar quiz today.

Joey Cheek

Meet the author:

Joey Cheek

Joey Cheek spent 10 years on the US National Speedskating Team where he competed in two Olympic Games, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. He attended Princeton before diving into the startup and tech world. In 2011 he launched a livestreaming platform for sports before leading a team of engineers building next-gen news and content apps for Fortune 100 companies. He is the CEO and co-founder of SmartSolar.org, whose mission is to move the earth to cheap, abundant, carbon-free energy.

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