Solar Photovoltaic energy or Solar (PV) energy and Solar Thermal energy are two very different processes, even though they have the same basic end-goal; they both produce energy and they both have to do with solar or the sun. Otherwise, though, the two processes are unique. One is used to produce electricity while the other is primarily used to heat water.
So, which energy source is more convenient for you, and how do the two practices stack up against one another? Here is a list of pros and cons, along with a description of each type of energy collection to help you decide.
Solar photovoltaic energy is usually what people are referring to when they talk about solar energy. This process takes the sun’s energy and directly converts it to electricity. From there, with an inverter, you can power your home, office, or anything else you need to power, just as you would from conventional power sources.
Pros of Solar Photovoltaic Energy
Solar photovoltaic energy offers a lot of opportunities for the future of power throughout the world. Even though we are not able to make this a completely mainstream practice, the advancements over the last 20 years have made solar PV energy a possibility for many homes and businesses around the globe:
Cons of Solar Photovoltaic Energy
While solar photovoltaic energy is useful for so many different applications, there are a few negative aspects to it. Fortunately, the most prevalent cons are due to humanity not yet having the right technology, which means that eventually, this can be remedied.
Solar Thermal Energy
Solar thermal energy is used to heat a liquid or gas, which can produce hot water and can fuel steam engines, gas turbines, and Stirling engines. Therefore, while a lot of the liquids that are used in heat engines are fossil fuels, companies like it because it is at least using solar thermal energy for part of the process.
Here are the pros and cons of solar thermal energy:
Pros of Solar Thermal Energy
Solar thermal energy may not be as universal as solar PV energy but it certainly does have its uses. Here are the pros of solar thermal energy:
Cons of Solar Thermal Energy
Solar thermal energy certainly helps to cut down on the amount of fossil fuel that is necessary, especially when it comes to industrial machinery. However, there are also a few cons that should be dealt with as solar thermal energy continues to gain traction:
To close, since solar photovoltaic energy is so much different than solar thermal energy, the decision is not so much an either/or for the same type of power, but rather which type of energy would work best for your situation? The need for hot water is growing, and the heating system for that water can be expensive. Therefore, to help reduce your carbon footprint you might want to start off with a solar thermal system and work your way up to a solar photovoltaic energy system. Ultimately though, whatever you choose to do should align with making your life easier and more cost-effective; even if that means it comes in the form of investment.