Solar technology is in the spotlight in this era of finding new ways to create energy without harming the environment. Solar power harnesses energy from the sun and transforms it into energy that can be used by consumers. One of the most common ways this power is harnessed is solar panels, also known as photovoltaic panels. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to the panel system.
The installation cost for solar power is one disadvantage. The overall cost of a panel system is dependent on how much energy, measured in watts, your home or business needs and how much direct sunlight the structure receives in a typical year. Total installation costs can start around $15,000 and range well past $40,000, depending on the home, and whether you install the system yourself or have it installed by a professional. Rebates and incentives are available that may reduce the overall cost of the system, the U.S. Department of Energy notes.
Another disadvantage is solar panels' dependence on the weather. The more direct sunlight a solar panel receives, the more power it can generate. When the weather becomes cloudy, the output of the panels is dramatically decreased. Areas of the United States like Arizona have a definite advantage in solar power over areas such as Seattle that spend much of the year under rain clouds.
Solar panels also are affected by the surrounding environment. For example, trees and other homes or businesses can block the sunlight, reducing the panels' output. Even if your home is relatively open to sunlight during installation, unexpected future developments of homes or commercial property can quickly put a damper on your solar investment.
The amount of space needed at your home for the installation of solar panels can also be a disadvantage. Solar panels needs a relatively large amount of surface area in order to collect power. These large panels mixed with the other components of the system can take up a disproportionate amount of space at a small home.
Because solar power is relatively new, maintenance of your panels can also be a problem. Outside of basic solar panel maintenance, repair of your panels must be performed by a certified photovoltaic energy technician. Finding such a technician and paying for a service call can be costly.