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5 Disadvantages of Having Solar Energy

Although we truly love our solar and there are many advantages to having it, it’s not for everyone. If you’re considering adding solar, read about the disadvantages before you make your purchase.

What Is A Major Disadvantage of Solar Energy?

As I just mentioned, we truly love our solar. It provides for all of our electrical needs of our homestead and farm. However, it doesn’t come without sacrifices, there are some solar disadvantages.

I honestly feel the biggest disadvantage of having solar is expecting it to perform and function the same way that public power grid does.

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With public utilities, people in general are pure consumers. They leave all the lights on in the house, crank the AC or Heat – up to whatever makes them comfortable.

The public grid trains people into believing there is an infinite supply of electricity, as long as they are willing to pay the price.

Unfortunately, that price is greater than just the mindset. Consumerism without checks and balances will be the demise of us all.

#5 Expense Is A BIG Disadvantage of Solar Energy

I often hear people say they can’t afford solar. What they really mean is they can’t afford a big enough solar array that will still supply the demand of all their modern conveniences.

Let me explain.

My son and his wife live off-grid. Their only electricity is a 100w solar panel, a small inverter with four plugs, and a 12v battery.

They have a beautiful one bedroom home with a loft, nice size bedroom, a full bathroom with a full size shower, full kitchen with an attached dining area, and a living room.

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Their entire solar system costs a whopping $200.00.

What they don’t have are the common luxuries most people aren’t willing to give up or live without.

Compared to the average electric bill, I would say that solar can be VERY affordable.

However, if you are among those that don’t want to live without many modern day conveniences, then yes, it can be quite costly. This alone  would make the expense of solar a disadvantage.

#4 Solar Has Its Limitations

Some other disadvantages of solar are its limitations. When I’m speaking of the limitations of solar, I am speaking about the average size array that provides for a single household. Not those football fields covered in solar panels with a battery bank to match.

Solar systems produce a finite amount of electricity based on how many panels you have. And a finite amount of energy it can store based on how many batteries you have.

Unlike the public power grid, you can only use the amount of electricity your panels can generate and that your battery bank can store.

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Furthermore, if you are only bringing in 1000w of electricity, and you want to use a coffee pot that uses 1300w, unfortunately, you won’t be able to use your coffee pot. However, you can make your coffee without electricity.

You are limited by your solar system’s ability or inability.

#3 Heat Can Be One of Solars Disadvantages

Heat is a two fold solar disadvantage.

The most obvious is heaters. As I explained above, you are limited by your panel’s ability. Most heaters use a lot of electricity. Typically more than the average system.

Therefore, most of those that use solar as their primary source of electricity, rely on wood heat.

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The less obvious way heat affects solar systems, is direct hot sun. Solar panels can overheat and will reduce their production during the blistering sun.

According to Green Tech, manufacture of solar panels,

Depending on where they’re installed, hot temperatures can reduce the output efficiency of solar panels by 10%-25%, the company says.

#2 Weather Is a Disadvantage of Having Solar Energy

In another article about solar, I discuss having a backup plan. Even if solar is your backup plan, have a backup for your backup.

No matter where you are located or how big your system is, there will be a time when  it doesn’t produce the amount of electricity that you’ll need.

Generally the times you will need a backup is during a storm or several days without sun.

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Examples of when our solar doesn’t bring in enough electricity to meet our needs:

  • Rainy days.
  • Heavy snow that covers the panels.
  • Cloud cover.
  • The short days of winter when there isn’t a lot of sun.

Solar can be a disadvantage during inclement weather especially if you don’t have a backup plan.

#1 Disadvantage of Having Solar Energy – Air Conditioning

Air conditioning. The one modern convenience and luxury that most people aren’t willing to live without.

I honestly don’t blame them.

When we lived by the coast, I longed for the end of the work day when I could escape the blazing sun and high temps and retire in the nice cold air conditioning, and my cool bed.

For the first four years of living off the grid, we found very little respite from the sticky, humid, and very hot air.

I researched and researched for solutions to using an A/C with the system we had. Unfortunately, most units use more electricity than the average system can produce.

However, there is good news. At least for us.

We found that there was a small energy efficient window unit that worked with our system that we could use during the day, when our system is producing the most electricity.

It works enough to cool the house down, once again, making it a place of cool comfort at the end of a long and hot day working outside.

Is It Worth It To Have Solar Power?

So while having solar power does have its limitations and several disadvantages, I still think the scale tips more towards the advantages.

It doesn’t come without some sacrifice, but the reward is far greater. 

There are many alternative energy resources out there, which one is best for you?

There are many advantages to having solar power, but there are several disadvantages too. Learn about the pros and the cons of solar.