What Are Some Pros and Cons of Solar Power?

Solar power, or the conversion of the sun's energy into electricity, is sustainable and renewable. The conversion process is silent and emission free and, solar panels usually require little maintenance. However, the sun is an inconsistent fuel source, the movement of the sun affects the efficiency of fixed solar panels and solar power systems are normally expensive and bulky.

Solar energy is available as long as the sun keeps shining, and emission-free energy conversion makes for a smaller carbon footprint. Unlike a wind turbine, a solar panel is silent and ideal for installation in a residential area. After installation and optimization, solar panels require little maintenance aside from occasional cleaning. The main disadvantage of solar power is that the system depends on the sun to create power; it doesn't work at night, and cloud cover reduces power generation.

When the panel or collector directly faces the sun, power generation is at its optimum level. The movement of the sun in relation to a fixed solar panel reduces energy production when the sun is not at the ideal angle. Large-scale solar farms mount solar panels on movable towers that track the sun as it moves to keep the panels at optimum angles. Although federal, state and local government agencies offer occasional grants and tax incentives for those who invest in solar systems, these systems may not always be cost-effective given the initial investment. In addition, solar panels are large and require a substantial area for installation.