Interest in renewable energy has skyrocketed recently as global leaders look to the looming infrastructure crisis. Poised to wreak havoc on communities for years to come if not addressed immediately, most power grids around the world, including ours here in the great U.S.A. are outstretched and over utilized. With a plethora of renewable energy solutions on the rise, the most notable, accessible and cost effective is solar power. Even though this is fact, there is still much skepticism surrounding the benefits of solar. Here are 10 solar myths busted by science provided by the folks over at GreenMatch.
Myth 1: Solar panels do not work in cold snowy weather or when it is cloudy.
Fact: Solar panels work in sunny, cold, and even cloudy environments. The technologies of solar panels allow them to work effectively and efficiently and are even more effective in cooler temperatures than warmer ones. In addition, cloudy weather does not inhibit the efficiency of solar panels; they can be a viable source of electricity as they can still produce enough power. Even cold, sunny winter days generate a comparable level of electricity to what you would get from hot summer days. Examples of countries where such systems are efficient are Germany (world leader of solar panels), the UK, China and Italy.
Myth 2: Solar energy can still power my home when the power goes out.
Fact: Of course if you are living on the grid when the power goes out, the grid system also goes out as it is dangerous to run electricity to wires that electricity workers are trying to fix. As a result, your inverter knows that the grid has been shut off and shuts off the electricity generation that is driven from solar panels. However you can have a system designed to automatically transfer your system for off grid capabilities in the event the grid does go down, you will still be able to produce and use power right on site.
Myth 3: Solar energy is too costly and is not economically viable.
Fact: Actually, if we look at figures from 2009 to 2015, investments in solar panels have generally been on the rise as they are becoming more affordable. Their average costs have fallen by about 30% percent. Globally, it is actually cheaper to produce electricity from solar energy than it is from coal.
Myth 4: Installing solar is quite complicated and requires a lot of maintenance.
Fact: Actually, solar panel installation is relatively straightforward as long as you are using a reliable manufacturer. Ideally, if your system is connected to your utility grid, which is common among electricity systems, then it makes solar panels easier to maintain. The solar panels would just need to be cleaned with water to remove any accumulated dust or debris or snow that has been trapped on them. Solar panels are constructed in a way that allows them to withstand harsh weather, including hail, sleet, etc. If you have a battery based system, it will need more cleaning than one without, but systems without batteries are more common and are cheaper than those that have battery systems.
Myth 5: Solar panels will cause damage to your roof.
Fact: Solar panels actually benefit the portion of the roof they cover by protecting and preserving it. In the unlikely event that the roof the panels are sitting on is damaged and needs to be repaired, the panel can be easily removed since they aren’t directly attached to the roof; They are just mounted on top of it. Usually, if there are any gaps between the rooftop and the panels, sealant is used to fill in the gaps. In addition, the mounts are protected using a metal “flashing” or coverings for an extra barrier for protection. Always remember to make sure your roof is damage-free before mounting a new roof top.
Myth 6: Excess energy can be stored in battery systems.
Fact: If you are living on the grid, your system is connected to the electricity grid, thus you would benefit from a net metering system. Additionally, if you are connected to the grid, you are still able to keep your current local utility company, so if you produce more electricity on some days, you end up having more electricity credited to your own account. Therefore, if you need more electricity at night when the system isn’t running, you end up using the extra electricity produced to power your home directly from the grid. This is done automatically so you won’t notice any changes when the switch occurs whilst still have a low electricity bill.
Myth 7: Reselling your home will be harder with solar panels.
Fact: Actually, solar panels would enhance the property value of your home. Many studies have found that homes with solar panels actually sell faster than homes without solar panels. Although the cost of solar panels ranges from $20,000-40,000, you end up saving on a long term basis as they enhance your home’s value by as much as 4.1%, but this is completely dependent on how much it will be worth.
Myth 8: Solar panel prices are based on the size of your home.
Fact: Solar panels are designed to fit the specific needs of each homeowner. When determining the cost of installing solar panels, special attention is paid to the orientation and slope of your home’s roof. In addition, the surrounding area of the roof is considered when building to make sure it is positioned in an area that has easy access to sunlight and is not obstructed by surrounding trees or buildings. Your system size is calculated based on your utility usage. Example: a home with 8,212kWh annual usage would need a 6.840kW Solar PV system producing 8,300kWh to offset 100% of their power from the utility company.
Myth 9: If we can use clean coal, why invest in solar energy?
Fact:Solar power is a cleaner form of energy than “clean coal” because coal isn’t really clean. Coal is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels. Coal mining is responsible for a number of health problems due to the blasting of mountaintops and leaving a pond of black slurry in its path. The more coal we burn, the more damage we do to the environment as it increases the levels of mercury and smog and additionally increases carbon pollution, leading to more damaging effects in the environment.
Myth 10: Solar panels are bad for the environment after their lifetime is used up.
Fact: Actually, solar panels are built to reach a maximum lifetime use of 25 years, after which they can be recycled. This all depends on the manufacturer you use to install your solar panels, but knowing whether they will be recycled is a bit tricky as most solar panels are still working optimally. Additionally, some manufacturers will even recycle them for you free of charge.
It’s no secret, solar power is here for the long term. In most cases, it just makes sense for a homeowner to take advantage of government tax credits and incentives to be part of the solution. Perhaps the biggest myth of all is “Solar power will be cheaper in the future.” While it is true, we have seen the cost of solar come down drastically over the years, the current global economic landscape suggest we could see a real problem with inflation in the coming years. If this happens we could see the cost of solar potentially go up as purchasing power for components and materials diminish and government incentives are phased out. On top of this, there is also the harsh reality of the “net metering cap” which limits the amount of net metering allowed by the utility company. The fact of the matter is, going solar right now actually helps them reduce their cost overall, and in doing so, they reward you with credits for your clean energy production (net metering), over time, however, they will no longer allow people into the net metering program as they would then stand to lose money. We are no where near that threshold yet, but don’t let yourself miss the opportunity, contact us today for a free estimate 804-452-7699 or email a power bill to Service@SunlightSolarVirginia.com