Solar Energy Myths

With wide adoption, solar energy could help us reach our eco-friendly goals. However solar energy myths have made many people reluctant to buy into this sustainable future. A widespread perception makes some individuals believe solar panels are unaffordable, inefficient, or not suited to their needs.

This article will break down popular solar energy myths so you can learn the truth about the technology and determine if it is suited to your needs.

Myth 1: Solar Power Only Works When the Sun is Shining

Solar power requires sunshine, but you can still utilize it at night and when it’s raining.

Although sunshine is minimal on rainy, cloudy, and snowy days, some sun still reaches the earth- enough to power your home’s electricity. You can also use batteries to store solar power, so it works for you at night and in inclement weather.

Solar batteries work differently depending on your system, but the basic process involves sunlight hitting the panel and being stored as DC energy inside the battery. The energy then enters an inverter and transforms into AC energy that can be used in the home. Once batteries are full, they can power a home for up to 24 hours.

Additionally, if you ever find yourself without solar power, you can transition to the grid. Most homes are within a mile of the grid and can access energy, even if solar panels are installed. So, if you can’t get power from your panels, the grid will supply the rest.

Myth 2: Solar Power Isn’t Efficient

Some people hear that solar panels have an average 22% efficiency rate and wonder “Why not 100?” They take this to mean that solar panels are not efficient.  

Solar panels cannot absorb the full power of the sun. Some light will reflect off the panels and transform to heat instead of electricity. The panels also cannot absorb all types of sunlight, including infrared light.

While some solar panels offer 39% efficiency, they are too expensive to be cost-effective for residential use.

The sun produces vast amounts of energy. The sunlight that reaches the earth in 90 minutes is more than the world consumes in a year. So, 22% can account for a lot of energy.

Additionally, technology continues to evolve each year. Who knows how much energy solar panels will absorb in the future?

Myth 3: Solar is Too Expensive

Solar power is an investment but it’s more affordable than you might think. Here are the many ways you can make it more accessible.

  • Incentives: The government offers several incentives to people who invest in solar. The federal solar tax credit is available throughout the country. It allows solar homeowners to claim a credit for 30% of their solar panel investment. Many local governments also offer solar incentives that can be combined with the federal credit to sweeten the deal.

  • Financing Options: Many solar companies offer financing options that allow you to pay off your solar panels over time. These payment installments can help with cash flow and make solar more affordable.

  • Net Metering: Net metering allows you to send excess energy to the grid in return for energy credits. You can use the credits to buy energy from the grid when your panels aren’t producing enough power.

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): Many solar providers offer PPAs. These agreements mean the solar company installs, owns, and maintains your panels to minimize costs. They allow you to buy power for a lower rate than you would pay to buy it from the grid.

  • Off-Season Installation: The demand for solar is typically lower during stormy winter seasons. Many providers offer discounts to attract consumers when business is slow. If you can wait to buy your panels, fall and winter are the best times to invest.

  • Falling Prices of Solar: A CNET article reveals that the price of solar has fallen by about 50% from where it was a decade ago- and prices are expected to continue dropping. If you shop around, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

  • Reduced Energy Costs: Solar panels reduce energy use to lower your utility bills. According to a Forbes article, the average household could save up to $1500 on energy usage. Owners could save$25,500 to $33,000 over their systems lifespan which can more than make up for investment costs.

Myth 4: I Don’t Own a Home So I Can’t Go to Solar

Think you can’t go solar if you don’t own your home? This is another common myth. Community solar offers a convenient solution.

Neighborhoods with community solar will have a solar array on an apartment building roof or at an off-site location. Participants will divide the system’s costs to make it more affordable. They will have access to solar power that they can use in their home.

Myth 5: Installing Solar Panels is Stressful

Does going solar evoke images of ongoing construction, product delays, and other obstacles that often accompany complex remodeling projects? Fortunately, solar is nothing like that.

If your roof is in good condition, today’s skilled technicians can install solar in a day’s work. They will typically have the project completed in two to six hours.

Myth 6: Solar Panels Will Ruin My Roof

To the contrary! Solar panels protect your roof. They protect roofs from sunlight which can bleach and dry out the shingles. Some people even use solar panels in carports to protect their vehicles.

Solar panels are mounted onto your roof and can be easily removed. Most solar panels are installed by mounting hardware through the roof and into the rafters. The mounting will create tiny holes but they will not cause leaks or other issues.

If you remove or move your panels, you can cover the holes with a moisture-resistant sealant. If you decide to replace your panels, you can use the same mounting system for your new panels, potentially saving installation costs.

Myth 7: Solar Panels are High-Maintenance

Solar panels do not require much maintenance. You must clean them twice a year, although you may choose more frequent cleanings if you live in a high dirt, high pollen area.

The cleaning does not take much effort. Remove dirt and debris and follow up with a gentle water rinse. Let the panels air dry or use soft cloths to remove moisture.

During your cleaning, inspect the panels for signs of damage. If you find any problems, contact a professional.

Myth 8: Solar Panels May Interfere with Home Aesthetics

Once upon a time, solar panels were bulky and didn’t complement many home designs. Today’s panels are sleek and small. They will not interfere with your exterior aesthetics.

Myth 9: Solar Panels Lower Your Home Value

Some people think solar will lower your home value due to their potential to harm roofs and interfere with aesthetics. However, a Zillow study reveals they increase home values by 4.1% equaling around $9274.

Most people prefer homes with solar power due to their potential to save energy and aid with sustainable goals. Homeowners who use a lot of energy will pay more upfront to take advantage of future savings. Homes with solar panels also tend to have more luxury features like heated floors and energy-efficient appliances.

Myth 10: Solar Panels Do More Environmental Harm Than Good

Solar panel manufacturing requires fossil fuels that can harm the environment. They also contain hazardous materials that can end up in a landfill if they are not properly disposed of.

However, even with the potential hazards, solar panels have more environmental benefits than drawbacks. Furthermore, solar manufacturing companies have become more eco-friendly over the years by making panels with recycled materials and practicing more sustainable processes.

The risk of solar panels emitting toxins into the environment after disposal can be eliminated with the proper recycling practices. Several companies accept old panels for recycling purposes. Locate the ones in your area to ensure you aren’t contributing to pollution.

Myth 11: Solar Farms are Harmful to Wildlife

Solar farms have been criticized because they are often built in wildlife areas on agricultural land. Some feel they consume natural real estate and harm plants and animals. However, research shows that solar farms attract wildlife, support habitats, and promote diversity.

  • Promotes Diversity: When a solar farm is erected, the land is protected from other uses for 30 to 40 years. These areas experience little human disruptions and protect animals and plants. Various plants and flowers can be planted beneath solar arrays, which attract pollinators, birds, and larger species. They also provide shade which protects species in hot, dry areas.

  • Promotes Healthy Soil: Solar panels are installed over degraded farmland to give the soil a chance to recover. The healthy soil can be used for agricultural purposes after the panels are removed.

  • ·  Good for Marine Life: Panels can be installed over large bodies of water to regulate temperatures, reduce evaporation, conserve water, and protect marine life.

Myth 12: Fossil Fuels Aren’t That Bad

A Research Gate report states that every kilowatt of green energy can reduce a person’s carbon footprint by 3000 pounds annually. Solar panels produce 1.5 kilowatt hours of energy a day. So, if you think your solar panels aren’t making a difference, you are incorrect.

Myth 13: Solar Panels Don’t Last

Some people may not want to invest in solar panels because they think they won’t last long. However, most panels last 20-30 years. Some will even last as long as 40 years.

What’s more, your solar panels won’t ever stop working- unless they are damaged. They will simply lose efficiency over time. Even an older panel will still produce energy, but it may not be enough to power your home.

You can maximize your panels’ life expectancy by investing in quality panels and installation, and cleaning and maintaining your panels over time. Panels may also lose efficiency due to high winds, extreme temperatures, and other harsh weather conditions.

You can further address possible issues like affordability and longevity by working with a reliable provider. Solar America offers free quotes from solar companies across the country. The completive system allows you to find the best deals.

Don’t fall for solar panel myths. Contact Solar America to start your eco-friendly journey today. We will help you achieve the best possible solar experience.

"I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Edison

"I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Edison