The major disadvantage of solar power or solar energy is the cost of
the photovoltaic panels. The location of your home in relation to
sunlight, how many hours per day of sun you receive, and the amount of
energy you use monthly determines the size of the photovoltaic panels.
Estimates range between $7–10 per square foot for photovoltaic panels.
The average price for a home is typically around $20,000 and can be
much higher. Ahead-of-the-curve companies are starting to provide more
reasonably priced options, as they see the value in making solar home
energy affordable and available to wide range of the public.
Local and state governments are working hard to help offset high costs with subsidies, tax breaks, and tax credits. However, the average cost remains relatively high—a home with solar panels is going to pay around 30 cents per Kilowatt hour after you factor in the cost of the solar panels, compared to a home on the electrical grid that pays around 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour. As you can see, photovoltaic panels cost three times as much per kilowatt hour.
Another disadvantage of solar power is the fact we do not have the technology to use solar panels effectively in places without ample sunshine. Most of us don’t live in sunny places like Florida, Hawaii, or portions of California. The majority of people live in areas that are seasonal and when daylight hours are shorter, the amount of energy solar power panels can produce is limited or nonexistent. Without the sun, solar panels are useless because there is no “solar power.”
There are ideas floating around about building solar power towers. These solar power towers would work much in the same way our current electricity producing plants work today. They would be in a centralized locale and provide energy to the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the idea is still in its early stages and the projected cost is extremely high.
Although the disadvantages of solar energy are undeniable at this point, there is ample reason to have hope for the future. The interest in alternative energy and specifically solar energy is growing, and as more people demand this technology, the more that funding and research will increase.