Does creating hydrogen from solar energy provide a lesser amount of energy than is extracted from the Sun? Isn't it more efficient to use the electricity being generated by the Solar resource itself?
Yes, if you want electricity, it's much cheaper and more efficient to just use the electricity directly from a solar panel, than to do any transformation of that electricity into any other form, then back to electricity.
The only reasons that we'd use electricity to electrolyse water to create hydrogen, is if we had spare electricity now, and wanted to store the energy for use later; or we wanted to use the hydrogen as a fuel for transport; or if we wanted hydrogen (or HO, or O2) as a chemical feedstock.
I think the biggest challenge to "renewable" energy is answered by asking two questions:
1) When do you want to use the energy?
If you want to use the energy NOW, of course the answer is going to be don't convert it. Use it.
But what about using solar... at night? What about using Wind power... when there is a lull in the wind?
The issue is that Solar doesn't shine all day (in one spot). Clouds cover the sun. Wind doesn't always blow.
During the "droughts" of energy, you need some way to tide you over. Either you need to store your previous extra energy... or you need another source - being tied to the grid for example.
2) What do you do with excess energy?
You've just created 10 units of electricity... but you can only use 5. What happens to the extra 5? Either you a) store the energy somewhere or b) you need to sell/trade via Net Metering.
If you don't store the extra somewhere, you'll lose it. If you lose 50% of it converting it to something else, that's still better than losing 100% of it doing to not storing it somewhere.
If you are connected to the grid, and the local policies (State/City/Electric Company/etc) allow it, look into Net Metering to buy/sell power. Give it to the electric company when you have extra. Buy it from them when you aren't producing. Maybe you can simply owe nothing each month... or you might be able to make money.
The next unasked question would be What is the best way/place to store energy
... you aren't connected to the grid
... the Net Metering options aren't beneficial for your situation
... you just don't want to sell
Then: what route should you take to store the excess energy? Batteries? Hydrogen? Pressurized air? Tons of options exist to "store" - and they all have different pro's/con's.
But "I need this energy later" and "I generate more than I use" are two very solid reasons to store it somewhere/somehow.