The development of alternative energy sources we can observe nowadays was surely to be expected. A catastrophic deterioration of the global environmental situation as well as unreasonable economic dependence on traditional energy sources have prompted scientists to begin assessing the energy potential of natural phenomena and eventually developing methods for its use. Thus, currently the humanity has an opportunity to use energy generated by the Sun, wind, water, heat etc.

One of the most promising options for the alternative energetics development in the industrial, economic and private sector is use of solar energy. To generate solar power, special plants were created for converting sunlight energy into electricity.

Despite the fact that use of such power plants is a really efficient and cost-saving method, there still are certain pros and cons.

Pros of using solar power plants

  • Solar power is a renewable kind of energy, while also inexhaustible (at least, in terms of human thinking). We have at least another 5 billion years to go using the Sun to generate electric power. This is more than enough, given that the oil, gas and coal reserves may run out within the coming centuries.
  • Environmental friendliness. Generating solar energy using current technologies (by means of solar panels) is absolutely environmentally-friendly and does not cause any harm to the nature. Moreover, contamination caused during production and transportation of solar power systems is negligible, if compared to the scale of damage caused to the planet environment by traditional mining of natural resources.
  • A wide range of application. The huge amount of solar radiation arriving to Earth exceeds mankind's demand for it by several tens of thousands of times. This means that subject to proper use of this energy on the planet, people would be able to provide themselves with a constant flow of electric power from a single source. Besides, due to its renewability, we will just not have a chance to exceed our needs and cause shortage of resources.
  • High production efficiency. Can you remember how workers extract coal? Or oil? This is a very large-scale process not only associated with high labor costs but also life-threatening. The solar energy generation technology implies that the role of a man is minimized, while the production process can not be considered risky in any terms.
  • Solar energy can be accessed from anywhere in the world with a few exceptions (the Extreme North, where the day can last for a couple of hours at most). In terms of accessibility to this energy source, no country can have a privilege, since all are equal in this regard. The only difference is in the level of technological development, but that is quite another issue.
  • Ease of operation. Solar power plants, especially those used by households, are virtually maintenance-free. The plant modules should be cleaned a couple of times a year, while as for the rest the plant can operate flawlessly for 25 years on the average. By the way, a significant advantage of solar power plants is their noiselessness.
  • Cost-effectiveness. It should be noted first of all that we are talking about cost-savings on the long run. Many countries pursue various government programs aimed at promoting use of alternative energy sources by citizens and entrepreneurs. Thus, Ukraine has adopted a 'green tariff' implying inflated prices at which the state buys electric power produced by means of alternative and environmentally-friendly methods.

Cons of using solar power plants

  • High cost. Be prepared that a solar power plant is not a cheap purchase in terms of one-time investment. Of course, the benefits from such a plant will be much greater, but, again – on the long run. Subject to competent installation of the system and taking into account all the basic costs, being supplied with solar power proves cheaper than the electric power from the grid.
  • Variability. The amount of energy generated directly depends on the solar radiation intensity, so, for example, in our latitudes, SPPs work much more efficiently in summertime than during cold seasons. The same applies to cloudy days, mornings and evenings. Exactly because of this, battery-free systems can not currently be used as the main power sources.
  • All the above does not pose a really big problem, but some difficulties may still arise.
  • Expensive energy storage systems. For electric power use to become as effective as possible, use batteries that store the reserves and, say, smoothen energy supply. Due to the batteries the system runs more smoothly, but to acquire them you will also have to spend money.
  • A SPP requires designated space. It may be a land plot, a building wall or the roof, but still the space should be allocated.

Whether the solar power plant use weaknesses are overweighed by its advantages is for you to decide. However, we firmly believe that energy independence and conservation of the environment are worth the investment.