Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are devices that facilitate the production of electricity directly from the sunlight through the help of semiconductors. The electrons in the semiconductors are responsible for transmitting the current to either the grid or provide power to run electrical devices. Currently, there are several homes and large business firms which are embracing the use of PV solar panels due to the benefits accompanying this technology. The following discussion looks at the advantages and disadvantages of using Photovoltaic solar panels in both small and large scale electricity production (Sampaio & González, 2017).
Large-scale production occurs when land and water are used as the destinations for setting up the photovoltaic plants. Large-scale production is advantageous as it conserves the valuable pieces of land and water by installing the systems in the water bodies such as dams, lakes, reservoirs, and oceans among others. For instance, use of the floating types of systems will increase the energy efficiency thus promoting power generation due to the relatively low temperatures. Also, the setting up of photovoltaic plants in desert contributes to the production of more power energy due to the availability of more solar radiation. The energy produced may be used in industries such as mining. Nevertheless, the firm might experience some limitations from the PV solar panels. The photovoltaic technology is commercially unsustainable due to the short-term reliability of the photovoltaic modules. The cells are subject to degradation thus reducing the lifetime of the technology. Degradation of these cells adversely affects the conversion efficiency of sunlight to electricity (Sampaio & González, 2017).
It mostly involves installation of photovoltaic solar panels in the roofs of the buildings. The PV solar panels are mainly used in small-scale basis by individuals or small businesses. However, the technology poses both limitations and benefits to its users. The technology is cost-effective in that it reduces the electricity bills of the user while maximizing self-consumption. A user may also benefit from connecting his or her system with the power grid because he or she can receive bonuses for generating excess energy. Nonetheless, the technology harness the energy from a renewable source thus availability of the energy as far as sunlight exists. The system also requires low maintenance costs after its installment thus reduced costs in future. On the contrary, the PV solar panels have disadvantages to the users. It is a costly technique since initial installation costs of the PV devices is high. Also, the method is weather dependent since they rely on the presence of sunlight only. Lack of sunlight limits the availability of the energy thus making it unreliable (Martín-Chivelet & Montero-Gómez, 2017).
The United States should spend its limited capital to invest in the Photovoltaic solar energy industry due to its rapid growth with regards to the market. This industry can assist the US in addressing the high demand for energy across the globe. The government can invest in the sector by creating awareness about the positive social-economic and environmental advantages that accompany the technology. The government should also consider funding the research and development agencies to ensure that they produce innovative cells which will be cheaper to the buyers and efficient in the conversion process. The administration of the US should also implement favorable policies that will encourage more consumers to invest in the technology. It should focus on implementing policies such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) to promote the use of the photovoltaic systems (Borenstein, 2017).