by Harry Webb
Harnessing the power of the sun's ray to create energy to power our house is very appealing. But the question is, "Is everything about solar energy good?"
Looking at the current price of fossil fuel-based electricity, it is quite impractical to convert into solar energy system. However, with the growing concern on the state of the earth, there is really a need to find other means of energy aside from what power plants are using right now. Where do you place yourself?
Whether you are an advocate of clean energy or simply care about where your finances go, looking at the pros and cons of residential solar energy system will help you decide on whether to convert or not.
Solar energy is free. Did you know that the earth absorbs 174 pettawatts of solar radiation? This means that we have more than enough source of free energy to power every house in the world. Unfortunately, most of our energy is still drawn from oil, gas and coal. But in recent years, there is a steady increase of demand for alternative and renewable energy like solar power. It is estimated that the demand for alternative sources of energy will increase by 53% between 1999 and 2020.
Solar energy is clean, renewable and sustainable. Because the energy created from the sun's rays does not produce byproducts like those from fossil fuel power plants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury or carbon dioxide), it does not contribute to pollution. Accordingly, the increase in the use of solar energy and other alternative forms of energy will decrease the demand for greenhouse gases-producing power plants.
The price of photovoltaic cells is steadily decreasing. The demand forsolar panels has risen by 57% in the United States in 2007 and is steadily increasing on a monthly basis. The increase in demand results to the improvement of solar technology as a whole. The prices of photovoltaic cells have declined on the average of 4% every year over the past 15 years.
Solar panels can be installed on most rooftops, eliminating the problem of finding a suitable place for installation. Solar panels require little or no maintenance. The original photovoltaic cells technology is used for most satellites orbiting our earth today which are not maintained at all. Manysolar panel manufacturers give 25 to 40 years warranty on their products.
Because most areas of the country receive a substantial amount of sunlight throughout the year, solar panels can be installed anywhere.
Many states in the country give tax credits and rebates to households who want to install solar energy system. Check with your state government the cost of these incentives.
While the prices of PV cells are in constant decline, the cost of installation is substantially high compared to the current electric cost. But the good thing is, after your initial cash out, you don't have to pay every month on electric bills for the rest of your life.
On areas cities and areas with heavy pollution problem, solar energy may not work as fine. Weather can also affect the efficiency of solar energy. If it is raining, overcast weather or if there is a hurricane, the solar panels' efficiency is decreased.
You are only producing energy during day time.
These are general pros and cons you might encounter when considering the conversion to solar energy system. It would be best if your decision is based on location, cost, budget, rebates, tax credits and practicality.