What Are the Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

While solar energy has many positive features, there are also disadvantages which include the hazardous waste released due to damaged solar panels or improper disposal of the panels. Other disadvantages include the amount of land required for solar panel banks that are large enough to produce electricity commercially, as well as the perceived negative aesthetics.

Solar panels convert solar energy to electricity. They use various chemicals that normally do not cause problems due to the process manufacturers use to seal them to prevent leaks. However, damage during use has the potential to release molten salts, oils and other hazardous waste into the environment. Similarly, when the panels are no longer usable improper disposal releases these chemicals into the environment.

The nature of solar panels requires that they be fairly large, in order to produce a significant amount of energy. Installing banks of solar panels to produce electricity on a commercial level often involves cutting trees and other vegetation to create a solar field free from obstruction. Removal of vegetation directly impacts local ecosystems and habitats, adding to the negative perception of solar panels.

Additionally, solar panels often have an industrial look that some find displeasing when installed on homes or commercial structures. Particularly in scenic areas, such as the desert, these installations are visually unappealing to those who prefer an undisturbed view of the area's natural beauty.