Solar power plants – advantages and disadvantages

In recent years, scientists in many countries of the world have been paying close attention to the development of power plants that use environmentally friendly “green” energy. And the most powerful and most affordable source of alternative energy is the Sun.

Scientific developments and modern technologies have reached a high level. Solar energy is used today to provide power to artificial space objects, satellites and manned space stations in Earth’s orbit, and interplanetary research probes. And this is not the limit. Thanks to innovative technologies, the emergence of new materials, it became possible to build SPPs, which are designed for autonomous power supply:

  • private residential buildings remote from centralized power lines of objects,
  • commercial and industrial buildings of different power consumption.

And although the advantages and disadvantages of solar power plants are still discussed in the professional sphere, in practice it turns out that the installation of a solar power plant is a cost-effective solution. Indeed, in this case, to generate electricity, it is not required to deliver fuel, connect to the central power grid. Electricity from a solar power plant is generated almost all year round without regard to world crises and political collapses.

The sun as a source of energy

According to scientists, the age of the Sun is about 4.5 billion years and, according to the classification of stars, it can remain unchanged for another 5 billion years. Its energetic potential is so enormous. If we compare the radiation power of one square meter of the solar surface, then the closest analogy is the amount of current consumed by a million classic lamps with a filament. Therefore, the energy of the Sun can become an inexhaustible flow, which in terms of power is many times greater than the entire volume of electricity generated throughout the world. It remains to find the most efficient and economically viable way to use this resource.

When you start looking at the pros and cons of solar power plants, you need to familiarize yourself with certain information related to solar energy. On a fine day, with a clear sky, 1 kilowatt of solar energy falls on 1 square meter of the earth’s surface. The current model of an equal area PV module can generate 170 watts of electricity. Accordingly, the efficiency of such a solar battery is 17.0%.

Even with such a relatively low productivity, SES are popular not only among companies, organizations, and other forms of legal entities, but also among ordinary citizens. This is due to stability, independence and a short return on investment. To make sure of this, you need to consider in detail what are the advantages and disadvantages of solar power plants.

The main pros and cons of SES

Among the advantages of building and using a solar-type power plant are:

  • When evaluating the advantages of solar energy, it should be remembered that this source will function for billions of years. By developing solar technologies, increasing the productivity of solar panels, modern society not only receives an inexhaustible resource of alternative electricity. The consumption of minerals, which serve as fuel for numerous thermal power plants operating around the world, is reduced.
  • SES can be installed anywhere in the world. For the operation of PV modules, air temperature and air pressure do not play a special role. The main condition for work is access to sunlight. Therefore, such power plants will provide electricity at any place of installation: at the equator, in Antarctica, on the high Himalayan plateau or on the East European Plain.
  • The work of SES has practically no impact on the environment. This is a truly environmentally friendly technology.
  • There are no moving parts and mechanisms in the solar station equipment complex. The operation of the SES is distinguished by its noiselessness, which allows installation on roofs and even on the walls of residential buildings.
  • Simple controls. As a rule, solar power plants operate in automatic mode. Their work can be monitored remotely.
  • The guaranteed efficiency of the SPP is at least 25 years. But even after this period, the station will continue to function, only less efficiently.
  • Investments in SPP are economically justified. In most cases, the payback time does not exceed 4-5 years.
  • Independence from centralized power supply. For example, the construction of an autonomous solar power plant on a suburban area will provide electricity not only to your house or summer cottage, but also to other nearby facilities.

With all these advantages, there are also disadvantages of solar energy, which can be easily solved:

  • The performance of solar panels depends on the time of day and weather. In the dark, in the absence of sunlight, photovoltaic modules do not generate electricity. And the cloudy sky significantly reduces the generation level. But the installation of storage batteries solves the problem of providing electricity to the facility serviced by the SPP.
  • High price. This is a minus, but relative. Despite the fact that the installation of a solar power plant is quite an expensive undertaking, such an investment pays off. Firstly, this is a one-time investment, which immediately begins to pay off from the moment of commissioning. Secondly, the development of science and technology makes solar power plants more affordable every year.
  • Periodic maintenance. Despite the automation of the station, its equipment needs maintenance. To prevent the efficiency of solar panels from decreasing, they must be cleaned of dust and dirt, and snow must be swept away from them in winter. But these are periodic activities that do not take much time and do not require significant labor costs.
  • The installation of solar panels requires large areas. This problem is solved by installing panels on roofs, wastelands and even on walls. In addition, smaller and more efficient PV modules are being developed.
  • Expensive rechargeable batteries. Today, the battery issue is being addressed by many global brands that develop and produce electric vehicles. There is a prospect of obtaining in the near future inexpensive, but very capacious batteries capable of retaining a charge for a long time.