Going Green News is decidedly in favor of renewable, sustainable energy sources, no matter what their origin. The basic groups are Solar, Wind, and Hydro generated. Biodiesel, ethanol and other combustion engine fuels don’t qualify, as they still have significant carbon footprings, and are often destructive in their production. But what about the big three? Are they as good as they seem? Let’s take a look at some of the DIS-advantages of solar power. Here’s a list:
- Relatively low output, which equates to a much longer return on the financial investment.
- Needs to be stored in batteries. The power simply isn’t strong enough to be stored any other way.*
- Relatively expensive to produce, and its components still have a carbon footprint.
- Whether lead, lithium ion, or some other technology, batteries aren’t exactly kind on the environment either.
- While they can produce in overcast conditions, most agree that solar panels require strong sun to be efficient.
Improved battery technologies may alleviate some of the concern, but it remains that solar farms are going to have to be located in very sunny places. They will sprawl. Then the energy will have to be transported via wire (loss of power) to the places it is needed.
One mitigating concept we’ve been employing thusfar is to produce and use the solar-generated power locally. Solar can charge up smaller batteries easily enough, which works great for small patio lamps, gadget recharging, etc. Depending on locale, the sun’s rays can also be used to suppliment hot water for washing within the home. Just don’t expect to power your car off of a rooftop solar panel any time soon.* A M.I.T. professor has developed a hydrogen generator that can theoretically run on a solar panel, but this is not an available technology.