Solar power is seen as one of the biggest alternative energies available and ready for use today. Sadly that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even with new technologies and advances with existing ones solar power is not able to keep up with its competitors. There are a number of things that are stopping the mass use of solar power from the limits on location to the simple fact that it does not meet energy needs, solar power over all is just not going to work for a major energy source.
First off lets talk about one the biggest new advances in solar technology. One of the major problems with having solar power is obvious, the fact that when its cloudy, or even at night we wouldn’t be able to get energy from the sun. The overcoming of this problem wasn’t too difficult but took a little bit of innovation and change to solar panels.
The problem was tackled by realizing that the sun still sends rays through clouds and across the sky at night, just at a lower frequency than the rays that are sent during the bright sunny days. So solar panels were given a touch up that allowed them to pick up the rays that were at a lower frequency and turn them into energy.
This almost fixes the problem, except for the fact that even with this capability the panels require more of those lower frequency rays to make the same amount of energy with the higher frequency rays. This still leaves a major gap because at night people use more lights in their houses than during the day because there is no natural lighting coming in from windows. With greater needs during cloudy days and at night we need more normal frequency rays, or a higher frequency of rays, not low strength rays.
Another problem seen with solar power is similar to the first. Solar power cannot meet peak needs. Peak needs are the times when people use the most energy. The peak need on a daily basis is in the evening. When people are coming home from work, using bathrooms, cooking, doing laundry, doing homework, being on home computers and so on. When all of this is going on we need the most power and the sad fact is that solar power would not be able to support these times because not only can we not save up enough energy through out the day for this, but it is also getting darker which means lower frequency rays from the sun.
The next problem is two problems combined. First the grid system we use now cannot support mass solar powered electricity, and second we have not developed a way to store mass amounts of collected solar energy. Lets start with the first problem. The electric grid we use now was built specifically for gas and coal powered energy and is hooked up to those plants. Changing to solar power would require a brand new grid system, which means we would have to research the new system and then build it. That would cost more money than it is worth in itself. Then problem two is that we have no means to store the energy. By this its meant that there is no giant battery to put the energy into to hold it until those rainy days when we most need energy. Developing the new storage systems would have the same problem as developing a new grid, it would cost millions, if not billions to make and build.
The last major problem is the one where it would be difficult for the average person to “solarize” their houses. The idea is that Average Joe could go to a firm that owns land, and has the means to put a solar panel up. Joe would either pay for, or invest in the firm to build him a solar panel in his house or yard. The system was thought of to eliminate energy companies and give everyone a chance to make their energy, saving families everywhere money on electric bills. The problem is that the amount of money it would cost to pay the firm would be outrageous. The estimated interest for something like that is too high to pay back. Meaning that having a large company make the energy and us buy it from them would be better, and that takes our chance away to save money from energy bills.
As you can see solar power has a long list of huge problems that come with the alternative energy source. With other more developed and promised alternative sources there is no reason to decide on something that has so many flaws that may or may not be fixable within a reasonable amount of time.