picture of a hand fixing solar panel
Green Living,  Green solutions

What are the 6 main disadvantages of solar panels?

Solar panels are an increasingly popular renewable energy source for homeowners who want to reduce their environmental impact and lower their electricity bills.

Installing solar panels can result in considerable savings on your electricity bill, especially during this time of energy crisis around the world. 

Solar panels are often considered as “green energy” because they do not need fossil fuels to generate electricity. However, the disadvantages of solar panels are often ignored in the hype of this “green energy” term.

In this article we review some of these disadvantages to help you decide better. 

What are the disadvantages of solar panels?

man installing a solar panel

There are a few potential disadvantages to using solar panels: 

1. The initial cost

euros

The initial cost of purchasing and installing a solar panel system can be high. However, the long-term financial savings from reduced energy bills can often offset the initial cost.

nowadays there are also more affordable solar panels to buy in order to lower your initial cost but remember, by purchasing cheap solar panels you may also reduce the quality of your system and increase its depreciation. 

2. Solar panels are not very eco-friendly

if you compare solar panels with oil and gas, yes they are eco-friendly. But if you want to focus on solar panels’ carbon footprint and environmental impacts alone, you can see the process of manufacturing them is not so green after all. 

The large-scale factories that manufacture solar panels are often connected to the mining industry which harms the planet in order to mine the minerals needed to produce the panels. 

furthermore, these factories often use a lot of land, water and produce a lot of Co2 emissions because they often burn fossil fuels for energy.

keep in mind that Solar panels alone can only produce energy when the sun is shining, that’s why you can often see solar systems use lithium or cobalt batteries to store the energy. 

The mining process of finding minerals that are used both in solar panels and their batteries is often in inhumane conditions and because they always cause massive Deforestation and toxic water pollution, they are extremely harmful to the planet as well.  

The transportation of all of these materials also has a large carbon footprint and they are often ignored because of large-scale greenwashing campaigns from their corporations. 

Furthermore, the recycling of solar panels is still an issue that scientists are working on but so far there are no fast and greenways to recycle old solar panels and use their minerals in new ones.  

3. Maintenance

a man cleaning solar panels

It is essential to clean and maintain solar panels on a regular basis in order to ensure their proper operation.

The reason for this is that they are constantly exposed to the elements like dirt and debris, which can lead to build-up on the surface of panels.

The build-up of these materials can reduce the amount of sunlight the panels are able to absorb, which in turn will reduce their efficiency.

Keeping your solar panels clean and checking their connections regularly will ensure that they are always in top working condition.

An annual inspection of your system by a professional is also recommended to ensure that everything is working correctly.

4. Unreliable in different weather conditions

solar panels and clouds

Solar panels are most efficient when they receive direct sunlight, so their efficiency can be affected by cloudy or rainy weather.

If you live in cold places with a lot of cloudy or rainy days, you will need more energy to keep your house warm and because solar panels can not produce enough energy without the sun, you may run into energy shortages with them. 

Solar panels can also be damaged in storms and extreme weather conditions so having good insurance is also needed if you want to minimize your risk.

5. Expensive energy storage

Solar panels can only produce electricity during the day, so they may not be able to meet all of the home’s energy demands at night. 

In order to save energy for the night, you have to use lithium or cobalt-based batteries which are often very expensive.   

However, this problem can be addressed by using a backup power source or by connecting your home to the grid, which allows excess solar energy to be sold back to the utility company or just using the grid’s energy at night.

6. They need a lot of space

Solar panels require a certain amount of space to be effective, so they may not be a good option for properties with limited roof or ground space.

Some people may not like the appearance of solar panels, which can be a consideration for homeowners who are concerned about the visual impact of their energy systems. This visual impact of solar panels can also negatively affect the property’s value if the owner decides to sell it one day.

Overall they are better than oil and gas

The main disadvantages of solar panels are outweighed by the many benefits they offer, including reduced energy costs, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and a cleaner, more sustainable energy source.

But In order to achieve a cleaner future with solar panels these disadvantages should be replaced with more modern and cleaner technologies. 

Solar panels will definitely play an important role in fulfilling the planet’s energy demands in the future but if we find more sustainable ways to produce them, we can guarantee cleaner energy for future generations.