What Are the Limitations of Using Solar Energy?

What are the limitations of using solar energy

Are you considering switching to solar energy solutions but need clarification on the possible disadvantages? You are not the only one.

With the global energy crisis that has struck and shaken the entire world, many people started considering switching to more natural and cheaper solutions of energy sources, like solar energy.

We, SolarDorm, are focused on providing all the information regarding solar energy.

But is this for everyone? And what are the limitations of using solar energy? Keep reading to find out the answer.

Limitations of Solar Energy

What Are the Limitations of Using Solar Energy?

As I got many requests to write more thoroughly on this topic, I decided to sit down and give an in-depth answer about what you can expect if you switch to solar energy.

So, what are the limitations of using solar energy? Although there are a few limitations to using solar energy, I would like to stick to the biggest and most important ones. Namely, the biggest disadvantages of using solar energy usually are:

  • The geographical area where you live; 
  • The amount of required space;
  • The unreliability of sunshine;
  • The fact that solar cells never reach 100% efficiency; 
  • Expensive energy storage;
  • High initial cost.

In continuation, you can read more about all of these limitations individually.

The geographical area where you live

So now, after briefly seeing the limitations of using solar energy, it is time to dig a little deeper, starting with the geographical limitations.

As you already know, solar energy is all about having sunlight and sun energy as much as possible. As this might not be a problem for people living around the equator, it certainly represents a major problem for those living on the northern parts of the Earth (such as Canada and Russia).

So, if you live in a constantly sunny place with plenty of sunshine, this would not be a limitation for you. But, if you live in a colder place with minimal sunlight, you will get little benefit from the solar panels and, therefore, from the solar energy.

The size of the installation area

The next major limitation of using solar energy is the required area size for installing solar panels. 

If you want to use solar energy only for your home, the size of your roof should be fine. But, if you plan on using solar energy for much bigger uses, you will need a large installation area, which can be costly.

The unreliability of sunshine

When you think, “What are the limitations of using solar energy?”, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is the unreliability of sunshine. And you are 100% right. 

As sunshine is the primary energy source of solar energy, its unreliability can cost you a fortune. Sometimes, even if you live in a sunnier place, there are simply more clouds in the sky and less sun.

This means that you indirectly lose money each day when there is insufficient sunlight, as your solar panel installation investment is not paying off.

The fact that solar cells never reach 100% efficiency

Another serious limitation of using solar energy is that solar cells can never reach 100% efficiency, as you can see from this study. This means you will have to either install many solar cells to cover all your needs or do it without the power you need.

Expensive energy storage

As many people are mainly focused on the installation costs of solar cells, they often forget to consider the expensive energy storage. 

Almost all options for storing solar energy as electrical energy are costly, and not everyone can afford them. 

So when you are doing your math and calculating whether using solar energy will pay off, ensure to include this factor.

High initial cost

Finally, the last one is the high initial cost. Namely, if you want to enjoy the benefits of solar energy, you will first have to pay a good amount of money for that.

To be more specific, the initial cost for installing average-sized systems that can produce around 8 kW and 4 kW of power is between $15,000 and $29,000. 

The costs include all the necessary equipment, such as repairs, installation, permits, maintenance, inverter, solar panels, etc. Remember that you will have to buy the battery storage system separately.