What are the Benefits and disadvantages of Solar Energy.
This made us want to know a little more about solar energy and photovoltaic panels. Are they really green?
Solar, a renewable energy that has advantages …
- Solar energy is inexhaustible and non-polluting
- Energy is clean and does not release greenhouse gases
- Solar thermal energy helps to meet some of the domestic hot water and heating needs. The installation of solar panels saves significant savings
- The maintenance and operating costs of a thermal installation are relatively low
- This is a totally silent source of electrical energy , which is not the case, for example wind turbines.
- The energy efficiency is positive: it takes on average between 3 and 4 years for the panel to produce the energy needed for its manufacture and a solar panel produces on average between 9 to 14 times the energy it has consumed for its manufacture .
But also disadvantages
- The investment cost of a solar thermal installation is relatively high
- Solar energy is an intermittent energy . This requires an additional heating system.
- The production of solar energy is only possible when there is sun
- It must be possible to store heat in balloons or heating slabs
- A life cycle in question: the lifespan of a photovoltaic installation is not eternal but of the order of 20 to 30 years. The efficiency of photovoltaic cells decreases with the passage of time . Generally speaking, for photovoltaic panels, a yield loss of 1% per year. In addition, solar panels contain toxic waste: copper, chromium, silicon, cadmium and tellurium.
- The yields of photovoltaic panels are still low and around 20% (for the best). Photovoltaic energy is therefore better suited for projects with low needs, such as a single-family home.
Recycling the solar panels in question
According to ADEME, the lifespan of photovoltaic panels is 20 years on average and the first panels put into service in the 90s today raise the issue of recycling . The PV Cycle association estimates that the number of used solar panels will increase in Europe in the coming years: in 2010, the recycling represented 500 tons, it is estimated at 2,000 tons per year in 2020 .
For the moment, solar panel manufacturers, although part of the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) sector, are not subject to the obligation of recycling because Europe wanted to develop the solar sector. This should change in the second quarter of 2012. Indeed, a law should be passed, ending theregulatory exception of the sector.
It should be noted that the manufacturers, working in the field of sustainable development, have often taken the lead and organized, at least for the few market leaders, their own recycling sector .
Several avenues are possible: the reuse of panels to build new solar panels and the reuse of materials in the manufacture of flat screens .