What is Solar Energy?
As the name suggests, solar energy is all about harnessing the sun to generate your own energy. Thanks to the installation of solar panels, you generate electricity, and through this you can power the electrical equipment in your home (home appliances, electronics, lighting).
Unlike fossil fuels, it uses a clean, free resource with unlimited access. This renewable energy also does not release any gas.
What Types of Panels are Installed?
Two types of panels are installed to capture solar energy:
Thermal solar panel: Uses the sun's heat to heat a calorific fluid. This fluid is directed to your boiler and central heating system. Thanks to this system, your panels provide heating and domestic hot water production for your home. This is called the unified solar system.
Photovoltaic solar panel: Restores the sun's rays in the form of electricity, thanks to an inverter. The alternating current created in this way is sent directly to the electronic devices in your home.
Photovoltaic solar energy in general and above all solar thermal energy is very well accepted in society. However, what are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?
The parameters for assessing the viability of this type of energy are varied. Among them, we highlight: energy efficiency, pollution, safety and cost.
Advantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy has many advantages:
- As you use free and inexhaustible energy, you gain independence from energy suppliers by reaching self-consumption.
- By generating your own electricity, you save up to 40% on your bills!
- Solar energy is a renewable energy: therefore your installation does not emit greenhouse gases.
- Depending on the type of installation, you meet some of your domestic hot water and heating needs.
- You can sell the excess production. It can be an opportunity to raise significant additional income.
- Solar panels are 94.7% recyclable.
- Installing solar panels increases the value of your property.
- It is in question to meet the energy needs for water, heating and electricity. As mentioned, thermal panels can be an economical solution for domestic hot water.
- On the other hand, photovoltaics responds better to energy needs. Indeed, it can power all the equipment in the house. Since the installation is necessarily connected to the electrical panel of the house, and the latter redistribute it according to need.
- Therefore, it makes it possible to supply all the equipment in the house.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
However, solar energy is not perfect and has some disadvantages to consider:
- Solar installation, orientation of the house relative to the sun, conditions imposed by the local city plan, etc. subject to various criteria.
- The cost of a solar installation is particularly high. It depends on the size and power of the installation. Choose between €9,000 and €15,000 for the installation of photovoltaic panels, while a combined solar system costs between €13,000 and €20,000.
- In winter, installation is slightly less efficient. Therefore, it must be connected to a backup heater to take over. That is, its energy efficiency is poor compared to other energy sources. The ratio between the amount of energy taken and the amount of electrical energy obtained is low. Especially when compared to other energy sources such as nuclear.
- The average life of your solar installation is 20 years, after which its efficiency decreases. To take advantage of its optimal functioning, you will therefore need to consider replacing it.
- The average life of the inverter in photovoltaic installations is 10 years. After this period, it must be replaced or repaired, which includes additional costs.
- It is not possible to store the electricity produced by photovoltaic energy.
- Remains dependent on solar energy. No sun, no electricity, no heat. Therefore, it is often essential to have another source of energy or heat.
- Although solar energy is considered as clean energy, it also contains elements harmful to the environment. Land use, water consumption, materials used etc. related effects.
Despite all this, solar energy is an energy with a bright future ahead.
With the technological developments that occur in the sector every year, it is likely that the innovations will reach as many people as possible while eliminating their current shortcomings.
Therefore, solar energies will undoubtedly be an indispensable part of the energy production environment in the coming years, especially in regions where the sun is not missing.