Solar Energy Concerns
by Ann Ryan
Although solar energy is promoted as being an economical and ecological means of obtaining energy, there are a number of concerns that are causing people to view the energy source in a different way. For instance, the photovoltaic cells used in the manufacture of solar panels are produced using hazardous chemicals. In addition, solar panels need large areas in which to generate electricity efficiently. Therefore, problems could result with respect to land availability and usage, which could also affect the surrounding wildlife and plants. Not only that, the initial cost of solar panels can be quite expensive. Since they are made with fragile materials, they can also be costly to maintain or replace.
The photovoltaic cells used in solar panels are made with unsafe chemicals.
According to an article in the "Los Angeles Times," solar energy does have its drawbacks. Specifically, the article points out that the silicon used in the manufacture of solar panel photovoltaic cells is made with hazardous chemicals. Not only is this an environmental concern, it can also pose a risk to the workers producing the cells. In addition, experts are worred about the effects that the silicon cells could have on landfills when the panels need replacement.
Land Distribution and Availability
Since a solar panel generally operates at about 40 percent efficiency, it takes a large amount of panels to produce any substantial amount of electric power. As a result, the amount of acreage needed for solar power can also restrict land usage, such as the land needed for grazing. Large solar panels can inhibit the amount of rainfall and drainage an area receives as well as obstruct natural sunlight. Therefore, the very item you are using to reduce environmental emissions is also negatively impacting the environment in other ways.
Cost of Installation
Although a solar system for the home is almost free to operate once it's installed, it can be quite costly to install. Not only that, the panels are made of exceptionally fragile materials, such as glass and semiconductors, that need continual maintenance and replacement.