Everything you need to know about Solar Energy

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) estimates about 20 percent of New Zealand’s electricity demand, or almost $2.4 billion a year, can be saved through a combination of more efficient use and utilising more renewable energy sources, such as Solar Energy. Solar Energy is playing a growing part in New Zealand’s renewable options.

Did you know that the energy sun provides to the earth for one hour could meet the global energy needs for one year? Undoubtedly, the sun is a powerful energy source, and even though we are not able but to collect a fraction of this energy yet, harnessing this power by installing solar panels can make a significant difference to the planet.

For more and more families Solar energy has become the main source of energy because of increasingly competitive pricing in the market. The technology has drastically improved in the last few years and complemented by solar battery storage systems, turning solar into a significantly more efficient source of clean energy.

However, there are always downsides, no matter the energy source you analyse.

  • Advantages of Solar Energy
  • Renewable Energy Source-The most important thing is that solar energy is a renewable energy source. We can harness it in all areas of the world and is available every day. Unlike some other sources of energy, we cannot run out of solar energy. Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years, when according to scientists the sun will die.
  • Reduces Electricity Bills—Solar can generate more electricity than can be utilised, thus allowing households to sell to an electricity retailer if they are on the grid. This ‘buy-back-rate’ is normally lower than the amount that the companies would charge you for electricity.
  • Diverse Applications – Solar energy is used for many diverse purposes, such as you can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distill water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space. It can also integrate solar energy into the materials used for buildings.
  • Low Maintenance Costs – Solar energy systems rarely require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them twice per year will do the job.
  • Technology Development – Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology might increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.
  • Disadvantages of Solar Energy
  • Cost–The price of having solar has been falling for many years. The initial investment cost of purchasing a solar system is fairly high. This includes paying for solar panels, inverters, batteries, wiring, and for the installation
  • Weather Dependent – Solar panels depend on sunlight to gather solar energy effectively. Therefore, on cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. This leads to a noticeable effect on the energy system. At night, it cannot collect solar energy. If you also require your water heating solution to work at night or during wintertime, thermodynamic panels are an alternative to consider.
  • Solar Energy Storage is Expensive – Solar energy has to be used right away, or they can store it in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, are charged during the day so it uses the energy at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long, but it is also expensive. In most cases, it is smarter to just use solar energy during the day and take energy from the grid during the night (you can only do this if they connect your system to the grid).
  • Uses a Lot of Space – The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need, as you want to collect as much sunlight as possible. But bigger is not always better. Ideally a system should be sized so most of the electricity it generates is used directly in your home, rather than sold to a retailer.
  • Associated with Pollution – Although pollution related to solar energy systems is far less compared to other sources of energy, we can associate solar energy with pollution. They have associated transportation and installation of solar systems with the emission of greenhouse gases. There are also some toxic materials and hazardous products used during the manufacturing process of solar photovoltaic systems, which can indirectly affect the environment. Solar energy pollutes far less than other alternative energy sources.

Contact us for more Information

If you need more information on Solar Energy Solutions or Battery Storage Options for your home or workplace.  Contact AB Electrical today and we help you.