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Is Solar Energy Too Good To Be True? Most Common Myths Debunked

You’ve heard the saying time and time again—if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. However, one concept that is proving to give this old adage a run for its money is solar energy. When speaking with prospective customers, we are often asked at the end of the conversation, “This seems too good to be true…is there a catch?”

And we don’t blame them. After learning about the short and long-term financial savings, environmental benefits, and additional perks that solar energy can offer your household or business, it’s natural to be skeptical of hidden risks or costs. Today on the blog, we debunk the most common myths associated with solar energy that we often encounter so you’re able to detect fact from fiction to finally uncover the answer to the question, “Is solar energy too good to be true?”

Myth #1: “Installing a solar energy system is expensive.”

The most common myth we hear is that solar energy is too costly compared to traditional power sources. However, this is far from the truth as solar and traditional energy sources are becoming more and more competitive in price. In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports the cost of owning a solar panel system has decreased more than 70% since 2009. Moreover, across the globe it is actually cheaper to produce energy from solar sources than it is coal. A 2019 study further found that three quarters of the United States’s coal production is now more expensive than renewable sources such as solar and wind in terms of providing electricity to American households.

Additionally, let’s consider the various solar incentives and rebates available on the federal, state, and local levels to decrease the cost of your investment even further. For example, the federal government offers a solar tax credit (AKA the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit or ITC). This allows you to take a fixed percentage of your system’s cost off your federal taxes. Beginning in 2021, the percentage will be 22% for homes and businesses. In 2022, homes will no longer be eligible and the rate will drop to 10% for businesses for good (making 2021 a compelling time to make the switch to solar).

Myth #2: “Solar panels only work when it’s sunny and warm.”

While it goes without saying that solar panels require sun in order to produce energy, it’s false to claim they don’t work effectively when it’s cloudy or cold. Let’s start with the well-known fact that sunlight penetrates clouds (just think back to that wicked sunburn you received on an overcast day at the beach). Solar panels operate the same way and will generate electricity on cloudy days. While they may produce less, there are ways you can power your home if you need an additional boost. For example, net metering allows you to store the excess power your panels produce with your utility company to use at another time of your choosing. However, since Missouri has approximately 206 days of sun each year (above the national average), homeowners and businesses are prime candidates for solar energy within the state.

In terms of the myth that solar panels only work when it’s hot, this one is untrue. Solar panels run off the sun’s light, not its heat. Research proves solar panels begin losing their efficiency at 77 °F, meaning they work best in cooler environments as it speeds up the transmission of the current. Let’s take Germany as an example. Germany is the global leader in renewable energy and accounts for 25 percent of the world’s solar energy output. However, at the same time, the country features cold winters with the lowest recorded sunshine hours. The bottom line is that solar energy can operate quite efficiently and effectively in cool, cloudy environments.

Myth #3: “A solar energy system doesn’t last long.”

Studies prove that solar energy systems typically last about 25 to 30 years—sometimes even longer. However, that doesn’t mean that after 30 years they will stop producing electricity altogether. It only suggests energy production will naturally decrease by what manufacturers would consider peak performance for most U.S. families.

At the same time, the rate of solar panel degradation continues to steadily drop as technology becomes more and more advanced. Over the years, solar panels have increased in durability (for example, with the protection of tough industrial-grade materials) to stand up to inclement weather such as ice, wind, and hail.

Myth #4: “Solar panels will negatively impact my property’s resale value.”

This myth is quite the opposite. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports homes with solar panels sell 20 percent quicker than homes without them. The cherry on top? Homes with a solar energy system also sold 17 percent higher than its counterparts. While the specific numbers vary according to the property and installation type, studies show it can raise resale value between $4,020 and $5,911 per kilowatt. Let’s consider a 5 kilowatt installation at $4,020 per kilowatt for a typical U.S. home. That would be a resale value of approximately $20,100.

The reason for this spiked resale value is that many homeowners are increasingly interested in the long-term financial benefits of an already-installed solar energy system. Many will also pay a premium for the associated environmental advantages. Additionally, the sleek design of a solar energy system is appealing to many consumers as the modern aesthetic grows in popularity.

Myth #5: “Solar panels will ruin my roof.”

While we’re on the topic, let’s debunk another common myth that installing solar energy panels will damage your roof (for example, if a future buyer wanted to remove the panels). This is also false. Solar panels actually protect and can even extend your roof’s lifespan because they are installed directly on top of it (they’re mounted and not directly attached).

However, it is vital to partner with a reputable company to install your solar energy panels to ensure it is completed with the proper techniques, materials, and tools to avoid damages. Additionally, an inspection should be completed to ensure the structural integrity of your current roof can maintain the weight of the panels before installation. With more than 100,000 installations under our belt, the experts at Sun Solar are qualified to complete the job quickly and correctly.

Myth #6: “Solar panels require extensive maintenance.”

You guessed it—this another solar power misconception. As we previously mentioned, solar panels are constructed to be extremely durable with the ability to face a variety of harsh weather conditions and require little maintenance. If you connect your system to the utility grid versus a battery system (more on this later), they are even easier to maintain.

In many cases, solar panel cleaning is not needed. Rain will often clear away any smog or dirt that may impact the panel’s exposure to the sun. If you do live in an area with heavy dust, you may have minimal maintenance of cleaning your panels with water every so often to remove trapped particles. All in all, if you are using a reliable product with a trusted installer the maintenance required is very minimal to none at all.

Myth #7: “Installing solar panels means I’m going off the grid.”

While it’s certainly possible to install a solar energy system that allows you to go completely off the grid, the majority are grid-tied. This means that when your solar panels aren’t producing enough energy to power your home (say, in the evenings once the sun goes down), your home relies on power from the grid to run smoothly. Remember the handy term of net metering? This makes it possible to use the excess energy you’re storing up in these scenarios.

Why do most choose a grid-tied system? Many decide on this option versus going off the grid because it can allow you to generate more savings. By staying connected to the grid, you can take advantage of financial perks like net metering and utility rebates. Further, it can be costly to purchase batteries as back-up and there is the risk you could be without power. Because of this, many tie their solar energy systems to the grid. However, the decision is ultimately based on individual preferences and needs.

Are You Ready to Learn More?

Now that we’ve debunked the leading myths surrounding solar energy, we’ve shown you that it is not too good to be true. If you are interested in learning more about how solar energy can benefit your home or business, contact Sun Solar by clicking here, calling 417-413-1786, or emailing info@ussunsolar.com.

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