Solar Panels…There’s much talk about solar energy solving the world’s energy problems. But wouldn’t it be smart to know if there are any dangers or hidden negative issues before starting a large project? Here are 3 things to consider before you spend your money:
1) Toxic materials.
Some of the components in the newer thin film solar panels are toxic to the environment. However, this should only become a problem when you dispose of the solar panels (which probably won’t be for another 20 years or more), it’s important to know that the panels will need safe disposal when that time comes. But new disposal and recycling methods are being researched and developed. Hopefully, they will be in place by the time you need to use them.
2) New Technology.
If you read the news about solar energy research, you will be amazed at the number of companies that are developing new systems and products. Research into solar panels and related technologies is a worldwide growth industry, with new discoveries being made every month. There is a real temptation to hold off on your solar energy project so you can use the latest technology. But not every prototype product with market potential actually makes it to the consumer. Solar panels are no different than any other new product in the process of research and development. Sometimes the best ideas just don’t work out as expected, or are just too expensive to produce. So it’s always a bit of a gamble to wait too long for breakthroughs in new technology. You could be unnecessarily wasting several months or years of using your solar energy system.
3) Old Technology.
Are you afraid of buying your photovoltaic system right before the next new product breakthrough? This dilemma is the other side of the coin from waiting too long for a breakthrough. The fear is that a cheaper and better technology is right around the corner, but you just spent thousands on “old” technology.
You can do a lot to prevent this scenario by doing research on the internet or the library. There are professional business journals that have the latest news on industrial R and D (research and development), and forecast when new products will reach the consumer market. But many of these journals cost several hundreds or thousands of dollars for a yearly subscription, so only libraries can afford them. If your library doesn’t subscribe, ask your librarian to get it for you. Then you’ll need to decide whether you want to wait for the newest product, or go with a traditional system that might be more reliable and predictable because it has withstood the test of time.