While residential solar power is growing by leaps and bounds in many states across America, there are still quite a few myths that are slowing its adoption rates. The following 10 solar power myths are some of the most common misconceptions regarding the use of residential solar panels.
Myth #1: Solar doesn’t work in cloudy or cool climates.
Cloudier climates are just as viable as sunnier ones for the use of solar power. The fact is that there is a very small percentage, often only 1 percent, in energy not captured in cloudy climates as opposed to sunny ones. Solar cells actually work more efficiently when the temperature is not too hot.
Myth #2: Solar cell efficiency is still too low. People should wait until it improves.
This is definitely one of the biggest myths out there. While a 20 percent efficiency may not sound like much, it is in fact plenty good enough to allow a homeowner to go completely solar. If the efficiency of solar cells were to double or triple, it would not change things that much. This is because solar panels only account for 25-30 percent of the total cost of going solar. So if far fewer panels are needed, this would amount to a savings of $2,000 or so. A $20,000 install would then become closer to $18,000. Decent savings, but nothing too dramatic.
Myth #3: Solar is still too expensive.
This is another big, persisting myth. The fact is that solar power is now cheaper than grid energy in just about every state in America. A homeowner who gets connected with an affordable solar installer can expect to pay about 8 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy over the life of a solar panel system. A very high percentage of Americans currently pay much more for their utility provided power. The payback period for solar is just a few short years in many states. The savings amount to many thousands of dollars compared to conventional energy.
Myth #4: Solar panels need ongoing maintenance.
This myth has most likely prevented quite a few people from going solar. The fact of the matter is that there is virtually no maintenance involved with keeping a solar panel system in good working order. An occasional cleaning or snow removal might be needed. Homeowners that do not want to bother with this can easily hire someone to do this simple job. In general, they are cleaned naturally by rain and snow usually melts off before long.
Myth #5: Solar hurts curb appeal or will look ugly on a roof.
Since when does a homeowner get complimented by how pretty their roof looks? If anything, solar panels add some high tech charm to an otherwise boring looking top of a home. There’s is often an initial aversion to anything new. Solar has simply fallen victim to this idea. However, this mindset is changing about solar. As more homeowners install solar panels, it will become a familiar and accepted sight.
Myth #6: Solar panels will do damage to my roof.
Actually, a solar panel system can help protect the part of the roof that it covers. Solar panels are relatively light weight. Roofs can easily support the weight of the panels. They’re also not attached to the roof itself, but to a railing system. Panels can easily be removed if there is a part of the roof that needs fixing.
Myth #7: Excess energy is stored in batteries. Off grid is the only way to go solar.
A very high percentage of people taking advantage of solar power are still connected to the grid. This is primarily because solar is still much more affordable when grid tied. Instead of the extra expense of adding battery storage, homeowners can sell their extra solar energy back to the utility. This set up is what allows homeowners to achieve a much quicker return on investment.
Myth #8: Solar panels require a tracking system.
A high majority of homes have a roof that is suitable for solar by having at least one side facing south, east, or west. A tracking system that moves panels to follow the path of the sun does not capture a significant amount of energy in comparison to the extra cost that is involved. Most situations do not call for this added expense.
Myth #9: Solar still works when there is a blackout.
When the power goes out in a blackout, a solar panel system will automatically shut off. This is to protect workers who may be working on lines nearby to restore power. The inverter is the device that prevents solar energy from going back on to the grid. Generators are available for those who wish to have back up power.
Myth #10: Solar panels will increase property taxes.
Many states actually have laws that state that solar panel systems are exempt from increasing property taxes. A solar system can, therefore, add value to your home without you being penalized for it.
Well, there you have it. Those are some of the more common residential solar power myths that somehow still persist halfway through 2015.
The truth about solar will eventually shine through these myths as more and more people adopt solar power.