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Common Solar Energy Myths

Jessica PirroJanuary 24, 20208120

The solar power industry is thriving, and even though they are growing more and more popular, there are still some myths about solar panel installations that are still out there.

Debunking Solar Energy Myths

Myth #1: You Need to Live in an Area That Has a Warm Climate

One of the most common myths about solar energy is you need to be located in a warm and sunny climate if you want to get solar panels. The truth: solar panels are going to harness solar energy, not the temperature. The solar panels are going to work just as well, if not better, in colder climates as opposed to areas that have higher year-round temperatures.

The cold climates will typically have higher energy costs for lighting and heating, in particular during the winter months. Solar energy can help offset these energy costs in regions where conventional electricity rates are higher. A lot of homeowners who are living in colder climates are also going to be concerned about their solar panels being covered in snow and it hinders their ability to work properly. Solar panels in cold climates can be installed at an angle this way they don’t collect snow.

In regards to the amount of sunlight, cloudy climates can still have a lot of success with solar energy. Residents in Germany experience a lot of cloudy weather regularly, but when it comes to solar power, Germany is a world leader. The reason being, the excess solar energy that is generated by your solar power system during the summer months is going to be available in the form of credits that can be used when your solar power system isn’t producing solar power.

Myth #2: You Should Wait Until the Cost of Solar Falls Before Investing in Solar Panels

Since the late 1970s, the cost of solar panels has decreased from around $76/watt to averaging around $3/watt. The significant decrease in the cost of solar thanks to a combination of improved technology, increased consumer demand and greater availability of solar energy tax credits and rebates for solar. In a lot of states, you can get a solar panel installation for less than $10,000.

Because the cost of solar has fallen so immensely, and because of all of the solar incentives surrounding solar panel installations, it’s not going to be a better strategy to continue to wait for better economies of scale. The notion of waiting to save money is going to be a mere policy that people are falling for. The truth of the matter is, the cost of solar panels might continue to fall, but it isn’t going to be so drastically to what we have seen in recent years.

There are going to be many solar energy tax credits and solar incentives that are going to expire, therefore waiting could mean a loss of funding for your solar panel installation.

Myth #3: The Government is Going to Give You Free Solar Panels

When researching solar panels you might come across advertising for free solar panels from the government. This isn’t going to be true: you can get solar panels for $0 down with lease or loan for solar, but both federal and state governments don’t provide free solar panel installations.

The government isn’t going to cover the cost of solar panels, they do subsidize the upfront cost of a solar power system through various solar incentives. The federal investment tax credit (ITC) allows you to claim 26 percent of the cost of your solar panel installation as a credit towards what you own in federal taxes. Depending on where you live, your state or local government may also provide additional solar incentives like solar energy tax credits and rebates for solar, or performance-based solar incentives (PBIs).

Myth #4: You Won’t Have Solar Energy at Night

Solar panels can only produce solar energy when there’s sunlight. While solar energy can’t be produced at night, most solar power systems produce enough solar energy during the day it will create a surplus. This surplus is going to be due to the solar power system producing more energy than what the household will use.

For grid-tied solar power systems, this surplus of solar energy is going to be sent back to the gird for homes to draw on this as a credit when needed, like at night. The energy surplus is also going the ease the demand that other households have for conventional energy.  

Myth #5: Solar Power Systems Will Keep Working When the Power Goes Out

Unless a home’s solar power system is going to be fully independent of the grid, a home with a solar panel installation is still going to lose power in an outage. When a home’s solar power production is tied to the grid, it is going to be impacted by everything that happens to the grid, including power outages.

When the power goes out, the grid shuts down as a safety precaution to protect the workers who are fixing the lines from being harmed by any electrical push back.

For households are buildings that require 100% uptime, backup solar batteries are an option on grid-tied solar power systems. By installing backup solar batteries, you can be certain that you are still going to have power, including during an outage.

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