While solar panels are being used around the world, there are still a lot of misconceptions about solar energy. Most people don’t know how solar energy works and how truly beneficial it is to society. Since solar misconceptions are so prevalent we had to write an article on the 15 most common solar myths.
We recommend reading each of the myths down below as they might be something you currently think right now.
15 Common Solar Myths
Myth 1: Solar panels do not work well in cold climates.
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels convert more energy when in cold-sunny conditions. This type of environment increases conductivity in the solar panels (meaning the electricity flows more efficiently). Hot temperatures on the other hand reduce a solar panels efficiency and ultimately makes it produce less energy.
Myth 2: Solar panels require constant repair and maintenance.
Since solar panels don’t have moving parts, they rarely need to be repaired and require very minimal maintenance. The most important solar maintenance is to simply wash them every 6 months. By keeping them clean the solar panels produce the most amount of energy possible, which thus saves you money.
While cleaning solar panels might seem like a pain, it only needs to be done once every half a year. If you cannot physically do this yourself then its recommended to hire professionals to do it for you.
Myth 3: Solar panels require large battery packs for night-time.
While battery packs can be used in a home solar system, it’s not the most popular route. Most home solar systems are connected to the grid via net metering. This connected allows the home to draw energy from the grid at night and adds excess energy into the grid during the day.
If you live off-the-grid or are just adamant about adding batteries to your solar system then it can be done. Products like the Tesla Powerwall are make storing and using batteries much easier. Just keep in mind that adding batteries to your solar system will increase the cost of materials, installation, and maintenance.
Myth 4: Solar panels don’t work in cloudy conditions.
The truth is solar panels do work in cloudy conditions. Even though it may look like no light is coming from sky, a lot of light is able to reach the earth on cloudy days. This limited light is then converted into usable energy from the solar panels.
Since the clouds do block some light its estimated that solar panels work 40% as efficient when in cloudy conditions.
Myth 5: Solar panels are extremely expensive.
It’s a fact that solar panels are much cheaper in price then they were a few decades ago. The price per Watt continues to drop as the technology advances and the industry becomes more competitive. Because of these factors we are seeing solar panels selling for as low $2.00 per Watt.
In addition to lower prices, government tax credits can pay for up to 30 percent of your solar system. In some states you can even sell your excess energy back into the grid. Allowing you to save more money while generating eco-friendly energy.
Myth 6: Solar panels are simply too intrusive and look bad on roofs.
The aesthetic appeal of solar panels is completely subjective. Some people think they look bad while others think they look good and modern. One thing that’s for certain is that solar technology is evolving to make them less intrusive. Technology like the Tesla Solar Roof allows you to utilize solar energy without physically seeing the solar cells.
In addition to this professionals can install solar panels in areas that minimize the visual impact of the solar system. In some cases you can even use ground mounted solar panels if you don’t want the panels on your roof at all.
Myth 7: You can only install solar panels on your roof.
While installing solar panels on a roof is a popular option, they don’t have to be installed there. In fact, there are multiple places you can install solar panels. You can install them on the ground, on a shed/garage, and on fences. These many options give you a lot of flexibility when trying to go solar.
Out of all of those options, ground mounted solar panels are the most popular. With this avenue you need a rack system to install them properly. You can purchase theses racks online or build them yourself if you’re very handy.
Myth 8: Solar technology is not advanced yet.
Some believe solar technology isn’t advanced and is not a sufficient avenue of generating electricity. The truth is far from this as solar technology is more advanced than ever. Solar companies are starting to create panels with efficiency ratings as high as 25%.
In some instances engineers and scientists have been able to reach efficiency rates as high as 35%. While these results are only accomplished in the lab, they show the potential of solar energy and just how advanced it can be.
Myth 9: Manufacturing solar panels uses more energy than the solar panels ever produce.
While it does take some energy to produce solar panels, it’s not as much as you think. In fact, the NREL conducted a study which found it takes only 2 years of energy generation to pay back the energy used to make a solar panel. Since solar panels typically last up to 25 years, you can expect them to generate a lot more energy then what is needed to create them.
Myth 10: Solar panels don’t last very long.
There are many different types of solar panels with different life spans. Quality mono-crystalline panels typically have 25 – 30 year warranties. Meaning they tend to work for decades without failing or having any issues at all. If a panel does fail then the warranty will protect you and get you another working panel.
These rare failures are typically caused by bad manufacturing processes rather than the solar cells themselves. Sometimes solar companies don’t quality check their panels before shipping it to you. So find a high quality solar brand and you wont have an issue.
Myth 11: I won’t live the house long enough to repay my investment.
The amount of time your solar system takes to pay itself is determined by the system itself and the location. On average most solar systems pay for themselves within 12 years. With combines state and federal tax credits, you could start seeing a return on your investment within as little as 2 years.
In addition solar panels have been shown to increase a homes value by an average of $15,000. So if don’t plan on living in your home for the next 15 years, you will still see a significant ROI when selling the home.
Myth 12: Solar panels aren’t powerful enough to charge everyday devices.
It’s a popular myth that solar panels aren’t efficient and that they don’t produce a lot of power. The truth is solar panels are more efficient than they have ever been. You can now see solar panels on the market with energy conversion rates up to 25%. This high-efficiency has made solar panels decrease in size while increasing in power.
Small solar panels are now being used to power small devices. Items such as phones, speakers, chargers, lights, and etc. are now using solar energy run. This growth is solar-powered gadgets will continue to rise and as solar efficiency increases.
Myth 13. Solar panels are only meant for large houses.
Solar panels can be used to power all types of homes no matter their size. In most cases the larger the home the more solar panels you will need. So if you’re powering a mansion then you will need a solar system that cost over $50K.
With that being said if you have a small home then you will need less solar panels. There are even tiny homes using solar energy to generate their power. This allows them to go off-the-grid and be completely energy independent.
In addition to homes solar panels can be used to power RVs, boats, and campers. These awesome devices allow you to take your vehicle any place that you like while still having energy.
Myth 14: Only a few states offer incentives for solar panels.
While not every state offers incentives for solar energy, majority of them do. The federal government on the other hand offers a 30% tax credit if installed before the end of 2019. So if you’re state doesn’t offer solar incentives then you can rely on the federal government to help you out (just make sure you install them before the end of 2019).
Myth 15: DIY solar kits don’t work properly.
DIY solar panel kits have become very popular over the last few years due to their cheap price and multiple applications. With that being said its a common misconception that DIY solar kits are not quality or reliable. While some cheap brands do produce panels that don’t work properly, most create high quality panels that will last you decades.
If you do plan on buying DIY solar kits then be sure to pick the right brand. One of the easiest ways to do this is by going to Amazon and finding solar kits with the best reviews. If a kit has a ton of great responses then you should be fine. Just check the warranty on the kit before purchasing.