The Pros and Cons of Photovoltaics
The technology of photovoltaics has long proven to be something that really works. The seemingly complicated process of converting solar radiation into electric current is an easily replicable, sustainable, and cost-efficient way of generating electricity to power our modern world. Like any other kind of technology available for mankind to use, there are pros and cons to photovoltaics. Here are a few of them.
The Benefits of Photovoltaic Systems
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of benefits involved with the use of photovoltaic systems. One of the most important features of solar power is that it is renewable, and derived from a source that is widely distributed across the planet. Sunlight is abundant, and each new day is another chance to harvest its powers. Energy experts and scientists are optimistic that sunlight could be the primary energy source of the planet in the near future.
Another major benefit of solar electricity is that it does not emit pollution while generating power. For centuries, mankind has relied on the use of fossil fuels to power their homes and industries, and this history of use has taken its toll on the environment. Pollution from power generation is one of the most dangerous threats our planet is facing–and this pollution is something that solar power can help us avoid. Research is also underway to make photovoltaic technology friendlier to the planet by producing easily recyclable components to cells, arrays, and modules.
Photovoltaic systems also fare well in terms of longevity—studies and tests show that photovoltaic installations can be operated for a century, or even more. There is no need for expensive maintenance or intervention after the system has been properly installed. Thus, operating expenses are kept low and there are not much overhead expenses involved in the use of photovoltaic systems. Photovoltaics are also very reliable, even in the face of bad weather and harsh conditions.
In the future, researchers and energy experts are hoping that more funds be directed toward improving photovoltaic technology, where there is much to improve despite the already impressive features of the technology. Innovations in pohotovoltaics can involve using it with other sustainable energy sources like wind and hydro systems, or improving the materials used for the technology.
The Disadvantages of Photovoltaic Systems
At present, installing a photovoltaic system that can supply the electricity needs of a whole city can be very expensive—so far, the cost-efficiency of the technology is only limited to comparatively smaller installations. However, most analysts are optimistic that the costs will be significantly reduced in the future once more systems are installed and deployed in different parts of the world.
One of the major weaknesses of photovoltaic systems is that it wholly depends on the availability of sunlight. Areas that often experience cloudy skies and shorter daytime are not exactly the best places to install photovoltaic systems in. The power that photovoltaic systems produce is often stored in batteries, which could complicate the simple and efficient process of converting sunlight into electricity. The batteries will need maintenance and intervention during the course of operation, and replacements might come at a bit of a cost.