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In: Education & Learning, Energy Gist

Does solar energy have any disadvantage?

The laudable relevance and impact of solar energy in our world today could make us sideline the drawbacks. The disadvantages of a system are important aspects to consider before its adoption. Yes, there has been a clamor for the energy transition, but there are some underlying factors that would hinder the movement especially across the African continent.

The population of Africans living in poverty could inhibit the transitioning process as they cannot afford renewable energy. The capital required for solar installations is relatively high, and this is why an average Nigerian may not be able to afford it. Although some rural areas in the country get support from the government, some others do not. Therefore, the latter community solely depends on conventional electricity (if they have one) or be left in total darkness.

Solar is intermittent and does not supply energy in the absence of sunlight (especially in night). Also, energy may be collected on a cloudy or rainy day but there is usually an efficiency drop. As a result of this, the energy system is affected and maybe worst with an inadequate storage system.

Solar panels occupy a lot of space – The installation on a large scale would cause deforestation.

Solar panels occupy a lot of space, and the installation on a large scale would disrupt the natural habitats of wildlife as well as cause land degradation. While some could be placed on an already existing structure, the utility on a large scale may require 4 to 10 acres per megawatt. The installation on a large scale would cause deforestation.

Solar energy is not efficient. As stated in research with Northwestern University, most of the solar panels installed on houses only convert 14% of the available energy to power. Also, according to the thermodynamics second law, solar cells cannot have up to 100% efficiency. 

Despite the drawback, it is still very much in use today because of the advantages.


Aris Vourvoulias (12 January 2021). 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages of Solar Energy Available at https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2014/08/5-advantages-and-5-disadvantages-of-solar-energy

Ecavo.com (December 19, 2016). The disadvantages of Solar Energy. Available at https://evavo.com/solar-energy-disadvantages/

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