What Are Advantages And Downsides Of Solar Photovoltaic Energy

Solar “photovoltaic cells” can prove to be confusing verbiage relating to solar technology. Many people are unsure if this has anything to do with solar panels or solar energy.

It, in fact, does. Each is a component of a “solar PV system,” with a slight difference in the phrasing. Check this link to learn how solar panels work.

The solar panel converts the sun’s rays into a separate energy form like electricity or heat. The panels can transfer the sun’s rays into electricity using the assistance of photovoltaic cells.

pros and cons of solar PV

All these cells in only one panel have the capacity to generate adequate electricity for powering an entire household.

What Are Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar PV Energy?

The sun has the capability to radiate sufficient energy to suffice a year of human consumption. That makes the green energy of solar PV panels a wise investment, with homeowners able to see that return with utility costs.

There are, however, not only advantages, as you’ll see with any product or service, there will be downsides as well. Let’s review each so you can make an educated decision regarding your energy resource.

Pros

1.  An environmentally sound green resource

The primary advantage of solar PV cells is their status as an environmentally sound green resource and clean energy. The panels won’t generate harsh “greenhouse gasses,” including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

More people worldwide are taking advantage of solar energy because this resource is among the most environmentally friendly and sustainable sources for going off-grid.

The savings in energy costs alone allow a great return on the initial investment, although upfront costs can be high depending on a few variables. Go here for details on solar power systems.

2.  The sun is a free commodity

Fortunately, there is an abundance of raw materials required to generate energy using solar PV panels, and the materials are free. The suggestion is on days when there is inclement weather or during the nighttime, there need to be concessions, plus you need to invest in a battery.

Still, once you adjust, conserving becomes second nature. It’s wise to do a walk-through in the home when deciding to incorporate the panels to see where you can begin to cut back on energy, your carbon footprint.

There is much waste that people are unaware of, like small appliances that are not in use should be unplugged, charging cords for mobiles shouldn’t be left plugged in when not being used, and on.

3.  Reduction in price point

The initial cost of the energy systems was significant. Still, the expense is beginning to come down with the system’s popularity and demand, making them more affordable and accessible to more people. The investment boasts a wise one with the savings in energy costs.

The renewable energy resource is a government subsidy promoted with financial incentives, further making the investment attractive for homeowners looking to switch their home’s energy to a more environmentally-friendly alternative.

4.  Minimal care and upkeep

Once the solar PV panels are installed, there is minimal care and upkeep for the homeowners. Occasionally, the panels are cleaned with a gentle hose to ensure optimum energy generation. Still, the suggestion is if you’re in an area with sufficient rain, that shouldn’t even be a requirement.

Plus, it’s recommended to have the experts handle the cleaning, particularly if the panels are located on your home’s roof, to avoid potential damages to the panels and possible hazards for you.

The operating costs are minimal compared to other renewable energy resources making them among the most sought choices.

The way the PV panels operate, there is no noise making them an attractive choice for any neighborhood or community, not to mention the homeowner, who doesn’t have to worry about a lot of sound being produced when in use.

factors while buying a solar battery

Cons

1.  Intermittent power

Because of the availability of energy, the downside to this resource is that the power is intermittent depending on the conditions outside. When it’s dark or cloudy, it’s challenging to generate electricity; meaning PV cells can’t fully meet the demands of an electric system, making them a less reliable power resource.

A solution for the intermittency is investing in storage batteries. Many people choose to do so to allow power when the conditions are not sufficient for regular operation using the sun’s rays.

2. Fragile

Homeowners won’t need to worry about care or upkeep of the solar PV panels, and the operating costs are minimal, but the fear is how easy these are to become damaged due to their fragility. The recommendation is to add insurance coverage in an effort to have sufficient protection for the investment.

Final Thought

Solar PV panels provide an environmentally friendly green resource for household energy needs. More people are investing in the option as a renewable energy resource system.

Still, it takes considerable time, effort, and patience to learn how to be conservative, plus incorporate the storage batteries to avoid interruptions with the alternative.

After making the initial investment and making the necessary adjustments, the return can be worth it in the savings you achieve with utility costs. As with anything, there are positives and negatives; it’s merely a matter of adjusting to what equates to a new type of lifestyle.

Renewable Energy Trends in Germany

Germany has been called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy” as the country is one of the world’s most prolific users of renewable energy for power, heating, and transport. Germany has rapidly expanded the use of clean energy which now contributes almost one-fourth to the national energy mix. Renewable energy contribute as much as one-fourth of the primary energy mix and the country has set a goal to producing 35 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050.

renewable-energy-germany

Solar Energy

Germany is the world’s biggest solar market and largest PV installer with a solar PV capacity of more than 49.78 GW at the end of 2019. The German new solar PV installations increased by about 4 GW in 2019. Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about 5 percent of its overall annual electricity needs from solar power alone.

In 2019, German photovoltaic (PV) plants fed about 46.5 TWh into the public electricity grid, an increase of 1.7 percent compared to 2018.

Wind Energy

Germany’s wind energy industry is one of the world’s largest, and it is at the forefront of technological development.  Over half of all wind turbines in Germany are owned by local residents, farmers and local authorities which have tremendously improved the acceptance of wind turbines among local communities as they directly profit.

Being Europe’s primary wind energy market, Germany represents around 30 percent of total installed capacity in Europe and 12 percent of global installed capacity. Total wind energy capacity in Germany was 59.3 GW at the end of year 2019. Currently Germany is ranked third worldwide in installed total wind capacity with its share of total domestic electricity production forecasted to reach 25 percent by 2025.

Wind became the main electricity source in Germany for the first time in 2019. In eight months of the year 2019, the electricity generation from wind surpassed brown coal and in twelve months nuclear. Together wind and solar power plants generated a total of ca. 173 TWh electricity in 2019.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is making a significant contribution to renewable energy supply in Germany and accounts for about 5.5 percent of the total electricity production in the country. Germany is the market leader in biogas technology and is also Europe’s biggest biogas producer. Last year around 7,600 systems with a cumulative capacity of 3,200 MW generated 21.9 billion kWh in the country, thus consolidating Germany’s status as a pioneer in clean energy technologies.

Biogas_Digester_Germany

Renewable Energy Investment

Germany’s plan to phase out all 17 of its nuclear power plants and shift to renewable energy by 2022 is the largest infrastructure investment program in Europe since World War II. The country’s transition from nuclear energy-based power network to renewable energy systems will require investments of much as $55 billion by 2030.

Germany is the world’s third largest market for renewable energy investment which and ranked 5th in the Bloomberg’s 2018 global renewable investment report with total investments of $10.5 billion in 2018. Sixty-five percent of investment in Germany was directed toward solar, with 29 percent directed to wind.

The country offers generous feed-in-tariffs for investors across all renewable energy segments which is attracting huge private capital in cleantech investments. In 2018, the majority of cleantech investment came from corporate investors across all sectors of the economy, including farmers, energy utilities, and industrial and commercial enterprises.

In 2019, the total electricity production in Germany from all renewable sources was about 237 TWh, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2018, and above fossil fuel carriers (207 TWh) for the first time.

Renewables Market in MENA

MENA region has an attractive market for renewables due to abundant availability of solar and wind resources. According to a recent IRENA report, the region is anticipating renewable energy investment of $35 billion per year by 2020. Recently, the MENA region has received some of the lowest renewable energy prices awarded globally for solar PV and wind energy.

mena-renewables

Regional Developments

Among MENA countries, Morocco has emerged as a role model for the entire region. The government’s target of 2GW of solar and 2GW of wind power by 2020 is progressing smoothly with the commissioning of Nour-1 Solar project. Jordan and Egypt are also making steady progress in renewable energy sector.

As far as GCC is concerned, the UAE has also shown serious commitment to develop solar energy. The 100MW Shams CSP plant has been operational since 2014 in Abu Dhabi while 13MW Phase I of Dubai’s solar park was completed in 2013. In Saudi Arabia, the newly launched Vision 2030 document has put forward a strong regulatory and investment framework to develop Saudi clean energy sector which should catalyse renewable energy development in the country.

Renewables – A boon for MENA

Renewable energy has multiple advantages for MENA in the form of energy security, improved air quality, reduced GHG emissions, employment opportunities, apart from augmenting water and food security.

The business case for renewable energy proliferation in MENA is strengthened by plentiful availability of natural energy resources and tumbling solar PV technology costs which are leading to record low renewable power generation costs. The recent auction for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park 2 in Dubai yielded prices as low as 5.85 US cents per kWh which is one of the lowest worldwide.

Impact of Falling Costs

The falling costs will have a significant positive impact in the developing world where tens of millions of people still lack access to cheap and reliable supply of energy. Reducing costs will help MENA, especially GCC, to meet its target of steady transition towards renewable energy and thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels for power generation and seawater desalination.

The slump in renewable energy tariffs will also encourage utility companies in emerging markets to include more renewable energy in transmission and meet the targets set by respective countries. However, it should also be noted that there have been several instances where the actual renewable energy production failed to take place because of low bids.

Emerging Trends

Off-grid renewable energy technologies have tremendous potential to popularize clean energy among remote and marginalized communities across the world. Access to clean, reliable and relatively cheap energy from renewable resources, especially solar power, will usher in a new era in developing countries. Off-grid (or standalone) renewable power systems are already making a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people across the developing world.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

Advancements in battery energy storage have pushed this particular sector into media as well as public spotlight. With big industry names like Tesla and Nissan leading from the front, energy storage technologies are expected to make great contribution in transition to green grid powered by intermittent energy sources like solar PV, CSP, wind and biomass.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) has the potential to transform seawater desalination industry, one of the largest energy consumers in the Middle East. CSP offers an attractive option to power industrial-scale desalination plants that require both high temperature fluids and electricity.  CSP can provide stable energy supply for continuous operation of desalination plants, based on thermal or membrane processes. Leading CSP technology companies are already taking a keen interest in Middle East CSP market and rapid developments are expected in the coming years.

Key Hurdles to Overcome

Lack of strong regulatory framework, low renewable energy tariffs and weak off-take mechanisms are some of the issues confronting renewable energy projects in MENA. Regulatory framework in the GCC is in early stages and marred by heavy subsidy for oil and gas. The largest barrier to growth of solar sector in MENA has been the lack of renewable energy policy framework, legislations, institutional support, feed-in-tariffs and grid access.

The power sector in MENA is, by and large, dominated by state utilities which discourage entrepreneurs and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter the local markets. Lack of open and transparent market conditions in MENA are acting as deterrent for investors, technology companies and project developers.

Among regional countries, Jordan and Morocco have the most advanced legal infrastructure in place to support renewable energy projects, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tips for New Entrants

MENA solar market is complex due to different electricity market structure and myriad challenges in each country. Different countries have different motivations for renewable energy. Solar companies who want to foray in MENA market must give special attention to land access, grid access, transparent licensing schemes, high-quality meteorological data, creditworthy customers, long-term off-take contracts, soiling of PV panels and related issues.