Solar energy has gradually emerged as the saving grace in current times when the earth is experiencing multiple changes due to the exhaustion of energy resources. And rightfully so! After all, the sun’s 1 hour’s worth of energy is enough to meet global requirements for one whole year.

Needless to say, people and government organizations are propelling towards using solar systems to generate electricity. Owing to the multiple benefits, solar power utilization is supposed to quadruple by 2030.

However, like any energy resource, solar also has its pros and cons. From saving costs to resulting in more consumption of exhaustive energy sources, there are multiple points to be considered.

Eager to know more on the topic? Continue reading further to understand its long-term impact on our society.

Why is Solar Power Favorable?

There’s plenty of talk about the short-term benefits of solar energy. But how exactly is it favoring society in the long run? Listed below are some benefits of solar power systems that you must consider:

Better Alternative to Fossil Fuels

Relying on fossil fuels to meet energy requirements is no longer feasible due to multiple reasons. First, such resources are slowly exhausting, leaving society with no way to overcome the shortage. Also, burning non-renewable energy sources produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other hand, solar energy does not increase the number of toxic gasses in our surroundings and is considered much safer. In fact, a solar panel’s carbon footprint is 20 times lesser than that of any coal-powered energy generating source. Moreover, the electricity generation process requires thousands of liters of water resources every year, which can be saved by using solar for years.

Solar Panels on a House Roof

Cost Savings

Significant cost savings over the years are one of the most crucial factors governing your decision to choose solar power over conventional energy sources. As of December 2020, the US government implemented a law stating solar energy systems installed between 2020-22 are liable for a 26% federal tax credit.

Apart from the money saved due to shortened system payback, you will also save on electricity bills for a long stretch. Generally, solar companies provide a 25–30-year guarantee, where the system will undoubtedly generate a certain amount of power over its lifetime.

As such, you can save about $60,000 in utility bills. Additionally, the excess electricity generated can be transferred back to the national grid, thus giving you a chance to earn more money via net metering.

Fewer Negative Environmental Impacts

With solar panels, there is no need to cut down rainforests or uproot an entire community to dig the ground in search of energy resources. Instead, harnessing solar radiation for good can help far-off villages or remote areas that were initially considered unreachable by the electric grid.

Also, solar-powered vehicles do not contribute to extra noise or air pollution, significantly impacting the lifestyle of people. Chemical contaminants can result in conditions like coughing, heart issues, headaches, etc. But switching to solar can improve the community’s overall health and provide kids with a safer environment to grow in.

Rooftop Solar Panels

How is Solar Power Unfavorable for Society?

Being a solar power manufacturer is a lucrative business in today’s era. However, in the long run, there are particular challenges that can cause significant trouble.

Despite falling under the renewable energy category and having multiple environmental benefits, there are a few downsides to be considered. They are as follows:

High Energy Demands

There are many discussions on how solar is a clean energy form beneficial for the earth in several ways. However, when you dig a little deeper, you will find that the entire procedure and equipment used also consumes a significant amount of resources.

Solar panels require construction elements like quartz, aluminum, copper, etc. Such components must be mined, extracted, processed, transported, and stored before being used for the formation of a panel.

The processing stage alone requires plenty of heat to work on quartz. Similarly, the manufacturing process also needs to be highly precise, thus warranting the need for non-renewable energy resources.

Buckle Up for a Panel

As technical advancements make it possible for companies to manufacture solar equipment at a lower price, more people will change panels frequently. Everyone wants a better, cheaper model generating more power. There is bound to be a lot of initially unplanned panel wastage in this race.

According to The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) ‘s official figures, it can be estimated that by 2050, there will be about 78 million tons of raw material waste. Without a solid recycling plan, the solar trash wave will only rise and cost the official authorities and citizens equally.

Solar Panels on Roof

Usage of Chemicals

The process of preparing solar-grade silicon to be used in the panels usually involves plenty of chemicals and other hazardous materials. Considering how lenient the laws are in a country, solar manufacturers might or might not dispose of such elements correctly.

Remember, most companies are just starting and don’t have enough capital to set up a whole disposal department. However, there are some organizations where the business owner will prioritize safely dumping the chemicals and taking care of the environment over cutting corners.

Final Words: How to Move Ahead?

Solar cells converting radiation into energy has undoubtedly been one of humankind’s most significant innovations. However, not monitoring its overall use and manufacturing process will negatively impact the planet.

As more people can afford the cost of solar, there will be plenty of waste material generation. There’s a stark need for more solar panel recycling plants in the industry to deal with such issues. Another way to ensure proper eco-friendly disposal of chemicals would be imposing a fee on solar manufacturers.

Safe to say, solar power plants offer plenty of pros and cons. While you get independent of non-renewable energy resources, you also have to suffer the disadvantages of energy used during the panel manufacturing process.