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Last Post 3/25/2021 10:18 AM by  Kelly Larson
Pros and cons of solar energy
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3/25/2021 6:45 AM
    Are there disadvantages of solar energy? Why isn't it more widespread?
    Tags: solar energy
    Kelly Larson
    New Member
    Posts:24 New Member

    3/25/2021 10:18 AM
    Hi Carl,

    I'd say there are two main reasons that we don't use the sun's energy more.

    First, is history. We have been using fossil fuels for quite a long time, and these sources are well established in the political systems in the world. There are many existing subsidies for fossil fuels, and the forces that make fossil fuel sources available and dominant are very strong still. Also fossil fuels have a very high energy density, are relatively easy to transport, (if accidents are ignored), and the technology to use them is well understood.

    At the same time, in the past solar electric panels, (photovoltaic, or PV), has historically been more expensive than fossil fuel, (if pollution and other "externalities" are not counted. That fact has dramatically changed in the last few years. Now it is less expensive to make electricity with the sun than with fossil fuels, even without the externalities.

    The second reason is a technical one. As we seek to have higher and higher amounts of renewables on our power grid, there are legitimate challenges that we need to solve. This is where the field of solar gets interesting! There is lots of room for new ideas and approaches to have a very positive effect on the solar field. As a solar engineer, I wake up almost every day with a new product, new approach, or new solution to learn. It is a very exciting time, and it will continue to be a rapidly advancing field.

    We need you! It is very important that new people replace us old folks and take us into the future. It doesn't require an engineering degree, as there are many areas of expertise that will be needed, but engineers and scientists are needed too!

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