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Renewable energy has come a long way, but there are still challenges it needs to overcome

Extreme weather and cloudy days are just a couple of scenarios that create issues for solar energy

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Whether it’s a small installation on the roof of a home or a large display atop a warehouse, solar panels produce clean energy from the sun.

Dale Good, President of Paradise Energy Solutions says, “The reality is, the trends towards renewable energy have kind of been set and I don’t see those changing. They’re accelerating and I think that’s going to continue.” 

The benefits of using renewable energy are clear.

“It’s a guaranteed cost reduction. If you don’t have to pay your electric bill, you have saved money. So, that’s still I would say the overwhelming argument in favor of solar in addition to the environmental impact," Good explains.

However, what happens on a day when the sun isn't shining?

Good says, “You may only get 10 or 15% of the production coming off of the solar panel on a really cloudy day."

In rare cases, what happens when extreme weather is in the forecast? How do solar panels perform?

“When you have a down situation when your generators are not generating whether it be the solar panel or the wind or whatever. Storage is the answer for that, and we’re not quite there yet," Good explains.

In the future, the hope is that industrial-sized batteries will be able to store excess solar energy for something as simple as a cloudy day and for the rare scenarios like what unfolded in Texas.

For now, we are still a ways away from abandoning the grid.

Good says, “When the need arises and you’re not getting the generation you either have to have storage or you have to have an alternative supply: generators, fossil fuels, something.” 

The future of solar energy in our state does remain optimistic. 

“I think Pennsylvania, in particular, can certainly use more solar and can handle it on the grid that we have, cause we’re still at a low saturation point," Good says. 

Down the road, we’ll have to address things like how do we recycle solar modules and industrial-sized batteries.

Good explains, “There are challenges out there in these things, I think we’ll meet them, I think we’re up to it, but that discussion needs to happen.” 

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