As young future solar pros, we fancied ourselves architects and frequently drew up designs for a dream house.
Alongside the fireman’s pole and outdoor moat, we often included environmental and green solutions such as mini-wind turbines and solar energy.
Couldn’t have been just us because solar is growing more popular than ever with a new generation of buyers. For context, a 2021 study shows that the top nine US cities have installed more solar power than all of the United States in the past ten years!
Do you catch yourself pointing out solar panels on a residential or commercial structure with exclamations of “Oh look!”? We sure do!
Solar energy is becoming more accessible for everyday people, but you may have reservations. Today, we’re busting solar myths and misconceptions to ease your anxieties.
1: Solar Panels Are Too Expensive
FALSE. It is true that solar panels come with an up front investment, but the costs over the past two decades have significantly dropped. With that said, there are avenues available to offset your upfront expenses related to this home improvement.
Many solar companies have bank relationships that provide you the ability to purchase solar at zero money down. Also, recognize that most people can take advantage of federal tax incentives and state tax rebates for installing solar at their residence. Take note that with each passing year, the tax credit has continued to decrease. Consider this a catch twenty-two: as the technology improves and the equipment becomes more efficient, there is less tax rebate to utilize.
2: Solar Panels Are Inefficient
FALSE. This argument often hinges on a prospective area having more inclement weather or less sunlight than say, Florida or California. In reality, this is a solar panel quality issue.
From a mathematical standpoint, Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels have both improved in efficiency (how much sunlight they use) over the last decade. Monocrystalline panels provide over 20% efficiency and polycrystalline clocks in around 13-17%. While the amount of sunlight they receive can depend somewhat on the weather, high quality solar panels should consistently provide you with the same level of efficiency for well over 20 years.
As reported by www.energy.gov “the sunlight that shines on the earth in just one and a half hours has more power than the world consumes in an entire year. With this huge energy supply, commercially available solar panels provide plenty of power to meet your home’s needs, at a cost at or below electricity provided by the grid in most parts of the country.”
In short, each solar array that ties into the grid provides us one more opportunity to harness the power of the sun. This is how we will sustain and eventually lower energy costs for all. One set of solar panels won’t solve the world’s problems, but it starts the chain reaction that becomes the solution. Ever hear of “keeping up with the Jones”?
3: Going Solar is Unreliable
FALSE. Too often, the argument is made that solar will not work during inclement weather. This is not true. There is a misconception that solar power only derives from harsh, direct, blinding sunlight. Solar energy comes from the absorption of light. Some light conditions are better than others, but small amounts of solar is better than none. This is especially the case if you’re using solar as a backup system for a vehicle.
Often through certain snowy conditions or overcast days, your equipment will continue to generate the solar power it has stored. Even when the weather is so severe that you cannot generate electricity, the weather will pass! Snow will melt and clouds will clear for another day of solar energy production.
4: Solar Panels Will Damage My Roof
MISCONCEPTION. Most frequently, a damaged roof is the result of a roof in poor condition that should not have been subjected to a solar array.
Most solar panels are affixed to a metal grid system, so they can easily be removed for roof or panel repairs. In reality, the solar system often extends the lifespan of the roof that is shielded from the sun and other harsh elements (i.e. sleet, hail). In most instances, the metal rack frame that supports the solar panels will be anchored to the roof and protected with flashing and sealant.
Although roof damage from faulty installation is incredibly rare, this is one reason to work with an established solar company rather than DIY. A reputable solar company will be able to provide an engineering and structural review of your home to determine its viability to support the weight and pitch of a solar system and workmanship warranty in the event you had roof damage as a result of the installation.
5: Solar Panels Require a Lot of Maintenance
FALSE. Once installed, solar equipment operates without any assistance. The most maintenance you can look forward to is clearing years of built-up debris from the panels with a garden hose. You may also need to shovel stubborn snow off from time to time. The equipment doesn’t have complicated or moving parts that are subject to breaking. Solar panels have an expected useful life of 25+ years, so you’ll get your money’s worth.
6: Solar Panels Are Bad For the Environment
MISCONCEPTION. Questioning how equipment is made, what resources go into making it and what happens at the end of its useful life are signs of an educated consumer. These are valid concerns for the renewable energy sector.
Not all solar equipment is created the same, which makes researching the company you are partnering with imperative. Note that most solar panels are built to function for 25 years with the intent to recycle as many parts as possible, but most of these products in use today have yet to exceed their working lifetime. We encourage asking these questions directly with your solar company to help shape your decision to work with them.
Those questions are only some of the factors that figure into Sunhub’s decision to partner with the most environmentally responsible vendors in the world.
Now that we have busted some common myths, what other questions can we answer for you about going solar?