The cost of solar energy has decreased over the years, but it is still a costly investment that can be a barrier to entry for many homeowners who want to adopt a green policy. One of the main challenges of solar energy is the intensity of solar radiation, which varies from place to place in the world. The Equator receives the most annual solar energy, while the poles receive the least amount. Dry climates receive more solar energy than those covered in clouds.
Intermittent resources, such as solar energy, can cause distinctive problems in transmission planning and in the efficient operation of transmission infrastructure. This can lead to increased transmission costs, increased congestion, and even generation limitations when sufficient transmission capacity is not available. Solar project developers must evaluate the economic trade-off between being located where the resource is best and being located closer to loads where transmission barriers are least possible. The biggest challenge of wind is that it tends to blow more at night, outside of peak hours.
This means that wind energy covers a greater part of the nighttime load and photovoltaic energy covers a greater part of the daytime load. Part of the solution to the intermittency of solar energy and to the associated storage and connectivity challenges will involve supplemental energy from other sources, such as wind power. Solar energy offers many positive environmental benefits, but it also presents some environmental challenges. Entrepreneurs are learning about unexpected challenges related to solar electrification while doing business in developing countries.
The challenge of building enough infrastructure to transport solar energy to where it is needed is a good example of the dependence of the solar revolution on politics.