Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most popular type of solar panel and are often seen on both roof and ground installations.
They are so popular because the wholesale price of solar PV panels has fallen dramatically over the last few years, making them much more affordable for domestic and commercial customers alike.
- 1 What Are Solar Photovoltaic Panels?
- 2 Advantages Of Solar Photovoltaic
- 2.1 A clean and green energy source
- 2.2 Free raw materials
- 2.3 Versatile
- 2.4 Significant impact on smart energy networks
- 2.5 Low maintenance
- 2.6 Silent
- 2.7 Easy to install
- 2.8 Solar pv works well with battery storage
- 2.9 Solar pv kits
- 2.10 Solar photovoltaic installer jobs are fast-growing
- 2.11 Solar photovoltaic power plants are growing
- 3 Disadvantages Of Solar Photovoltaic
- 4 How Do We Go About Installing Solar?
- 5 In Summary
What Are Solar Photovoltaic Panels?
Solar PV panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. The cells in the panel are made from a material called silicon, which is a very good conductor of electricity.
When sunlight hits the silicon cells, it causes the electrons in the cells to move around, creating an electrical current.
This current can then be used to power electrical devices or to heat water in a solar thermal system.
Related: The History of Solar PV
Advantages Of Solar Photovoltaic
- A clean and green energy source.
- Free raw materials.
- Significant impact on smart energy networks.
- Low maintenance.
- Easy to install.
- Solar PV works well with battery storage.
- Solar PV kits.
- Solar photovoltaic installer jobs are fast-growing.
- Solar photovoltaic power plants are growing
A clean and green energy source
The fact that solar photovoltaic is a clean energy source is perhaps the biggest advantage it has over other forms of power generation.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels do not generate carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases, making them far more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel-based power plants.
This means with every new panel install you are lowering your carbon footprint and helping to fight climate change.
Free raw materials
Another big advantage of solar PV is the energy that is being harnessed is totally free once the initial investment in PV panels has been made.
The sun is a huge nuclear fusion reactor that will continue to produce energy for billions of years and solar PV is one of the most effective ways of harnessing this energy.
Solar photovoltaic panels can be used in a variety of different ways, from small scale domestic installations, to large scale commercial and industrial projects.
PV panels can be used to power everything from a single solar-powered calculator, to an entire building or even a whole town using vast solar arrays.
Significant impact on smart energy networks
Solar PV is playing an increasingly important role in the development of so-called ‘smart energy networks’.
Smart energy networks are designed to make better use of renewable energy sources such as solar PV, by using information and communication technologies to manage the flow of electricity around the network more effectively.
Solar PV panels require very little maintenance once they have been installed. They will usually last for at least 25 years and often much longer.
The only real maintenance required is to keep them clean, as dirt and dust can reduce the amount of sunlight that hits the cells and therefore reduces the amount of electricity they generate.
Solar PV panels make no noise when they are generating electricity, making them ideal for use in areas where noise pollution is a concern.
Easy to install
Solar photovoltaic systems are relatively easy to install, especially compared to other forms of renewable energy such as wind turbines.
They can be installed on both roofs and ground-mounted structures and usually only require a few days to get up and running.
Solar pv works well with battery storage
One of the big advantages of solar PV is that it works well with battery storage systems.
This means you can store any excess electricity generated during the day for use at night or during a power cut.
Solar pv kits
Solar PV kits are readily available for those who want to generate their own electricity but don’t want to install a full-scale solar array.
These usually come with everything you need to get started, including the PV panels, an inverter and all the necessary mounting equipment.
Solar photovoltaic installer jobs are fast-growing
The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and this is reflected in the number of solar photovoltaic installer jobs that are being created.
Solar photovoltaic installers will see a large increase in employment, projecting to grow by 52 percent between 2020 and 2030, considerably faster than the average for all jobs. On average, there will be approximately 2,300 solar photovoltaic installation openings each year during the decade (Bls.gov).
Solar photovoltaic power plants are growing
The good news is industrial and commercial solar photovoltaic power plants are growing.
This trend is expected to continue as the cost of solar PV continues to fall and more businesses and organizations see the financial and environmental benefits of using solar power.
Disadvantages Of Solar Photovoltaic
- The initial cost is high
- Intermittency issues
- Less reliable power option.
- Additional investments.
- Uses a large area.
- Easily damaged.
- Solar energy storage is expensive.
- Associated with pollution.
The initial cost is high
Even though Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most popular type of renewable energy source, the initial cost of setting up a solar panel is still quite high.
The average cost of setting up a 5kw system in the United States is about $15,000 to $25,000 after federal tax rebates, which is still a lot of money for most people.
Solar PV panels only generate electricity when there is sunlight, which means they are intermittent energy sources.
This can be an issue if you live in an area with a lot of cloudy days, as you will not be able to generate as much electricity.
Less reliable power option
Solar PV panels are also less reliable than other forms of renewable energy such as wind turbines, as they will not generate electricity if there is no sunlight.
This means that you may need to invest in a backup power source, such as a generator or battery storage, if you want to be sure of having a reliable power supply.
Solar PV panels also require additional investments in batteries or other storage devices if you want to be able to use the electricity they generate at night or during a power outage.
Uses a large area
Solar PV panels also require a lot of space, as you need to have enough panels to generate a significant amount of electricity.
This can be an issue if you have a small home or business and don’t have a lot of space to spare.
Solar PV panels are also quite fragile and can be easily damaged by high winds or hail.
This means they may not be suitable for all locations and you may need to invest in some form of protection, such as a windbreak or hail-resistant roofing if you live in an area with severe weather conditions.
Solar energy storage is expensive
Storing solar energy for use at night or during a power outage can also be quite expensive, as you need to invest in batteries or other storage devices.
Since these systems are still relatively new, the wholesale costs for installers is still relatively high.
Associated with pollution
The manufacturing process of solar PV panels also results in pollution, as it requires the use of harmful chemicals.
These chemicals can pollute the air and water and can be toxic to humans and animals.
There is also a risk that the panels themselves will eventually end up in a landfill, where they will leak these toxins into the ground.
How Do We Go About Installing Solar?
The first thing you need to do if you are thinking of installing a solar system is get a quote from at least 3 MCS accredited solar panel installers in your area.
The next thing you need to do is compare the quotes and make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
You should also check that the installer is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and that they are accredited by the Solar Trade Association (STA).
Even though there are several advantages and disadvantages of Solar Photovoltaic. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, making Solar Photovoltaic a great choice for renewable energy.
Not only are you helping the planet by having them installed, but you are also saving money in the long run, as they will eventually pay for themselves.