Why aren't we using solar power more?

. 5 min read
Why aren't we using solar power more?

What's stopping us from going green?

There has been a constant focus on renewable sources of energy in the past few years. This is to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and global warming.

The utility and resourcefulness of solar panels have been discussed many times in various committees and forums. The solar system is considered as a gateway out of traditional energy generation.

There are a number of reasons why switching to a solar energy system will benefit both the business and consumers. However, there are many factors that prohibit solar power to become the leading renewable energy source in the country.

Let’s see the limitations of the solar power system that is pulling back from its full-fledged use.

Common Problems Associated with Solar Power

1. Relatively Higher Initial Investment and Longer ROI

Installing solar power panels requires a higher initial investment with access to up-front capital or financing. This is a major drawback that averts many residential consumers to make the purchase. In fact, many businesses are also not interested to invest in solar energy due to the very same reason.

However, the average installation cost per watt of solar energy has reduced significantly to 63.22% for residential projects and 66.3% for commercial projects. Despite these cost-saving incentives on the local and national front, it involves making a big decision. Especially, the homeowners have to think twice because the returns on the investments are usually longer.

2. Unavailability of Suitable Space

Solar power panels aren’t the ultimate solution for everyone. It requires adequate space to install the solar panel system. If you own a home and have your own roof or property then it can be easily installed. Businesses having access to roofs or other areas can also benefit from a solar system.

For people staying in apartments or buildings, the prospects aren’t that brighter. Offices operating in co-working spaces can confront a similar situation. In such cases, one has to rely on the local or regional solar supply provider.

The contribution of industrial solar scale firms is increasing every year. It requires exploring the various solar-powered devices, chargers, and other portable units.

3. Power Generation is Weather-Dependent

It is wrong to assume that solar energy is the answer to every problem in the world. The weather and location on the globe play a decisive factor in resolving the efficiency of the solar system.

Regions with heavy rainfall and clouds usually receive less sunlight throughout the day. In areas like the northern latitude the sun never sets in summer and also never rises in the winter.

Solar panels are dependent on proper sunlight and weather conditions to generate energy. The performance of solar panels is down on cloudy days and nights. Check the suitability of your location otherwise the solar system isn’t going to pay you back.

4. Some Potential Pollution Still Exists

There are certain potential pollution impacts that concern citizens who want to adopt the solar system.  Some level of environmental impacts is contributed to every energy production which is unavoidable because no system operates seamlessly.

Toxic materials such as lead, arsenide, gallium, and cadmium are used in solar cell production. However, strict environmental measures govern these operations when toxins are used inside the production plants. Again there are impacts related to transportation and installation, but none of these has direct consequences on the environment.

Solar energy is not a major contributor to global warming so it is a good option to fulfil social obligations concerning the environment.

5. Can Reduce Appeal

The type of panels, quality of installation, and placement of the solar systems can stand out to be unattractive. It can restrict the view of the nearby area, which is a downside when it comes to establishing the sizeable panels. A good amount of space has to be dedicated to these solar panel systems which indicate that the square footage area can’t be utilised for other purposes.

There are many interesting ideas that help to maintain the appearance such as ground mounts, attractive solar panels, or even installing in the back facing roof. But the considerable savings on the energy can keep your home or business in a pretty good condition.

Technical Problems Associated with Solar Power

1. Hot Spots

The most common technical problem with the solar panel is with the hotspots. The problem arises when the panels become too warm and overload. It can degrade the functioning of the panels or even render them irreparable.

There are several factors behind this problem like an accumulation of dirt on the panel, poor soldering connection, or solar cells’ structural defect. The connections, which are badly soldered can result in a low resistance, short-circuit, ultimately reducing the lifespan and performance of the PV panels.  

2. Micro-Cracks

Micro-cracks are the microscopic imperfections in the solar cells that occur at the time of PV modules production and also during shipping and careless handling during installation. These cracks are difficult to see with the naked eyes, but over time with thermal and seasonal changes it can expand.

The large micro-cracks damage the solar cells that lead to production loss. As the cells in the panels are wired in the series it impacts the power output in the overall panel. Inexpensive solar models, multiple busbars are installed to mitigate the harmful consequences.

3. PID Effect

The full form of PID is ‘Potential Induced Degradation’. The problem is encountered due to the voltage difference between the panel and the earthing. The solar system is earthed due to safety reasons but it creates a potential difference between earthing and voltage generated in the panel.

The primary power circuit ends up producing partial voltage discharge due to this. The effects are a reduction in the performance and accelerated lifespan decrease of the PV panels. It can lead up to a performance loss of 10% but fortunately, professionals are successful in reversing the conditions.

4. Snail-Trail Contamination

This is another prevalent issue related to the solar system. The snail-trail contaminations lead to the discolouration of the panels after a couple of years of production that manifests within itself.

There can be a number of reasons behind this but it can be associated with the use of front metallisation silver paste, which is defective in the process of solar cell manufacturing. This defect can lead to moisture in the solar panel, causing oxidation between the silver paste and the encapsulation material. The visible outcome is the snail trail that results in deteriorating the panel’s performance.

5. Delamination and Internal Corrosion

Internal corrosion happens when moisture penetrates into the solar panel. If the lamination process is not carried out properly, then it can lead to delamination while operating. It causes moisture to bubbles or penetrates to occur leading to corrosion and there will be some dark spots on the panel.

It is often noticed in the edge of the solar panel and depending on the severity of the defect it can spread to the rest of the parts. Corrosion and delamination will contribute to the decrease in the production of the panel.

Bottom Line

Definitely, there are many limitations noticed in the solar panels, but these don’t outright overweigh the advantages of a solar system. Before purchasing any model of the solar panel system it is advised to communicate the loopholes with the manufacturing company.

Also read:

1) How is the future of solar energy in India?
2) How to Start a Solar Energy Retail Business? All about solar energy retailership
3) Why Some Businesses Still Refrain From Using Solar Panels?
4) 12 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Solar Energy in India