If sunlight can generate electricity, why not eliminate hydroelectric plants and make way for this new generation system?

There are many myths and false beliefs about solar energy, lately we have been made to believe that it is all-powerful and environmentally perfect, the reality is that like any source of energy it has its pros and cons.

SOLAR ENERGY IS INTERMITTENT:

  • The “theoretical” maximum efficiency only occurs when the light hits the panel perpendicularly, this only happens for a few hours at noon.
  • During the whole night the production of electricity is zero, a city like Tokyo with 37 million or NY with 23 million people without electricity, without turning on the heating in winter or the AC in summer, without computers, refrigerators, hospitals without power because we only use Solar? Nope
  • When there are clouds, electricity generation capacity is reduced
  • In winter, with snow the generation is greatly reduced, imagine during a snowfall.
  • What good is it to the city of Toronto in Canada that far away, in another country, in Texas there is sun on the day when they are in the middle of a harsh winter.
  • How much energy do you suppose these solar panels are producing?

Or these with that powder coating:

Cleaning Dust From These Solar Panels. GIF | Gfycat

You guess right: nothing or almost nothing

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:

And you also have the environmental problem with solar energy, here is a link with an answer on the environmental impact of solar farms:

Although solar panels are clean energy, could you indicate what are the pollution or inconveniences that they generate to the environment?

In a certain part of the arid zone of Peru and Chile the generation potential is high and in fact they do, but there is also a problem, the sand has components of plaster, when it falls on the panels and there is humidity at night, Plaster + Water = Solid, unless you clean it very frequently and using a lot of water.

POLITICAL PROBLEM:

The Sahara Desert has a lot of potential to produce electricity and also has some of the most radical governments and religious fanatics in the world, imagine England or Germany depending on Syria, Libya or Iran to survive.

CONCLUSION:

Hydroelectric plants also have an environmental impact, especially during their construction, in some cases displacement of entire communities, problems with the fauna of the area, with the management of water resources, if they are regulated they are very reliable and produce a lot of energy throughout the year, a little less in summer but that is what the dam is for, to store water and use it when you need it.

Compare the real annual generation and the capacity factor (the real annual efficiency), you will notice that by far the most efficient is nuclear (93.77%), followed by hydro (78.76%) and the two solar are at 16.61% (Desert of the Sahara) and 13.32% (France)

Hydroelectric plants fulfill 3 functions:

  1. Produce a lot of electricity.
  2. Being a reservoir of water for human use in irrigation, drinking, aquaculture
  3. They control and eliminate floods and droughts.

Before the Three Gorges Dam, China, an estimated 300,000 deaths from severe flooding in the area during the 20th century, after three gorges there have been no deaths. It is true that 300,000 deaths in almost a century is not much, but…

In short, please let us stop fanaticism and extreme positions seeking to destroy some of the systems that have benefited us the most.

Solar, Hydraulic, Wind, Nuclear all have their reason for existing.

Even with these drawbacks, photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are a great invention and we must support them! Of course, we must be aware of their impact and demand that they invest whatever is due to minimize these problems, thus the future of the systems solar will be promising.

Hydroelectric plants are not our enemies, let’s not make the solar end up being hated and rejected for its poor management.