why aren't solar cells becoming more widely used?

With oil and natural gas prices tripling over past couple of years, I thought solar cells would be competitive enough so that more homeowners would install them for electricity generation

6 Responses to “why aren't solar cells becoming more widely used?”

  1. Left_Field Says:

    Solar cells can now be mass produced on thin stainless steel sheets with decent efficiency. The cost is still higher than conventionally produced electricity, but it is within reason. I think the main reason it hasn’t caught on is the issue of storage. How do you store what is produced during the day for use at night. It really isn’t fair to ask the power companies to keep their turbines spinning in the event the sun goes behind a cloud or we have a few rainy days in a row or just for night-time production. Lick the storage issue and I think you will see photovoltaics take off. (Of course, the power companies are not going to let go of their monopolies easily :-) ).

  2. delujuis Says:

    cost and efficiency

  3. Stewart H Says:

    The initial investment is really high. You need the solar cells, a battery bank with charge control, and an inverter to generate the AC that you need. All of the components need maintenance and have definite life times so there are considerable operating costs.

    There are not that many places where the amount of sunshine is such that these systems work really well and reliably.

    The best systems are hybrid, using sun and wind with some form of backup source of power.

  4. Amanda G Says:

    I agree with the other two answers, it is expensive to make and not very efficient. Same deal goes for fuel cells…it is so expensive to make hydrogen (or to split water) that it really isn’t worth it. solar panels are nice on a house because they do not require a lot of maintenance and they can be large. in order for a car to run off of one, the panel would probably need to be 3 times the car size…not too cool.

  5. Deep Thought Says:

    Photovoltaic arrays are still quite expensive for the electric power produced. Photovoltaic arrays are very competitive for electric power applications that are off the grid, i.e., not close to conventional electric power lines. Applications where photovoltaics excel include remote villages, farms, and ranches; isolated highway lighting; remote shelters; expedition power; marine battery charging; etc.

  6. DJ Says:

    there reliability