The Disadvantages of a Solar Generator

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Using solar power to generate electricity is quickly becoming widespread and popular throughout the world. Whether you're considering using solar panels to power your entire house or a solar generator for emergency backup, you've probably read all about the environmental and personal benefits and advantages. To be fully informed before making your decision, however, you should also learn about solar power's potential disadvantages.

Initial Cost

  • Emergency solar generator kits are going down in price each day, particularly when you consider buying a kit that comes with lower-quality, older solar panel technology. The least expensive solar generator kits are usually very low powered though, and may not be able to run your entire home during an electrical outage. In some cases the cheapest solar generators may not even be able to power your refrigerator.

    Cost is the biggest factor when considering a whole-home conversion to solar power as well. Standard residential installations that generate enough electricity to power most of your home most of the time frequently cost $10,000 or more. Depending upon the quality of the solar panels you choose, it can take 6 to 10 years for the initial cost of your system to pay for itself.

Unobstructed Access

  • To get the most power generation from your solar panels, they need to be facing solar south without any obstructions such as trees, mountains or buildings that would block them from getting sun. Having partial shade on the panels for part of the day won't cause them to not work, but the more shade there is and the more time the shade is cast, the less effective your solar panels can be at generating electricity.

Weather Fluxuations

  • Different times of day will generate more power than others, and some days may generate little to no power at all. Since solar panels rely on sunlight to operate, even the slightest bit of high clouds in the sky can affect the performance and power output generated. On rainy days and days with heavy cloud cover, you may find your solar panels generate very little power -- if any at all.

Batteries

  • When using solar power as an emergency generator or for all of your household power needs, you cannot use anything electrical at night unless you have first stored some of the extra energy generated by the solar panels during the day. Currently the typical method for storing solar energy is with 12-volt batteries. Solar power systems can use standard car batteries, but due to the way they're drained and charged frequently, the best type of battery to use is a deep cycle marine battery. In most cases a battery bank is set up with 4 to 6 batteries wired together so that several days' to one week's worth of power can be stored for emergency use.

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  • Photo Credit solarzellen auf einem bunker image by Otmar Smit from Fotolia.com
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