Solar energy technologies (SETs) supply energy with less environmental hazards than oil, natural gas or coal. SETs are often overlooked because of initial start-up costs and aesthetics. As technology progresses, the costs are projected to decrease, thus becoming more accessible for businesses and homeowners alike. The steam turns a turbine, thus generating electricity. Solar thermal power is mainly utilized on a large scale by state governments to supply power to cities and neighborhoods. Photovoltaic (PV) cells absorb photons from light and release electrons which can be used to form an electrical current.
PV cells are often used for homes and small businesses.
Opponents to solar energy use the following arguments to defend their position. Solar energy has a “lack of consistency and reliability” due to the fact that the system relies on constant absorption of sunlight . Many consumers are hesitant to purchase equipment for solar energy because of the large amount of capital involved in the initial purchase.
Buyers may also be deterred by the cost of replacing a broken or malfunctioning piece of equipment. SETs are not completely free from carbon emissions. The transportation and installation of the equipment requires the use of motor vehicles and/or heavy machinery which releases pollutants. Also during installation or maintenance of the PVs, harmful metals like cadmium and lead could potentially leak into a water supply, damaging humans, wildlife, and local fauna. Solar panels, PVs, occupy land that could be used for urban expansion, and projects a glare on the surrounding houses.
There is belief that solar power is unreliable due to the uncontrollable nature of weather. There are several factors which determine whether a region is an ideal location for solar power. Solar power is most effective in states with lower latitudes, i.e. closer to the equator. Furthermore, states that have little precipitation and cloud coverage will be good generators of solar power. The southwestern United States meets this criteria. Denver, Colorado is a prime example of a solar-friendly city, having a mere “thirty to forty overcast days per year”. It is a common misconception that PV cells and solar thermal power only function when the sun is directly shining. The cells still receive photons, however to a lesser degree. It is like getting a sunburn on an overcast day. The battery backup system is quite useful on overcast and rainy days. The batteries are charged on days when there is an abundance of sun. One can use batteries to supply energy on rainy days. Businesses and homeowners should utilize solar energy, particularly those who reside in states with suitable climates for generating solar power.
Solar energy technology is an asset to our country. Homeowners and businesses alike should consider converting to solar energy. It has been shown to be reliable and cost effective over time. It is more safe and environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.