11 Common Solar Misconceptions: Myths About Solar Power

When solar panels first became available to homeowners, many people posted online articles and opinion pieces with misinformation about the disadvantages of solar energy. With all of these renewable energy myths, some people became dissuaded from investing in solar energy. Many of these myths began when solar energy was relatively new to consumers, and the cost of solar panels was out of reach for most homeowners.

As solar energy has made advancements over the years, these solar power myths have been busted, but false advertising and misinformation still exist. We want you to have all the correct information so you can decide whether solar is right for you and your home.

The Most Common Misconceptions About Solar Energy

With all of the myths and solar misconceptions, it's no surprise that some people are hesitant about investing in solar energy. Below, we'll set the record straight and explain the truth behind some of the most common solar myths.

1. Solar Doesn't Work in the Shade or Inclement Weather

The idea that solar panels don't work in the shade or during inclement weather is probably one of the most common myths about solar panels that can be debunked. This belief exists because some people think that the shade or clouds completely block out the sun's UV rays. However, the sun isn't completely blocked, even on cloudy or rainy days.

In fact, with a thin layer of cloud cover, the sunlight can scatter, slightly increasing solar generation, particularly in the early morning or later in the evening.

The truth is that solar panels can work in various climates, even those with consistently cold weather.

Solar generation in the shade or on cloudy days is between 10%-25%. On a dark, cloudy day or during a storm, the electricity grid will provide the power you need when your solar energy system isn't operating at peak efficiency.

Solar power solutions also come with a solar battery. They'll store energy from sunny days so you can use it when heavy clouds block the majority of the sun's light.

2. Solar Power Is Inefficient

Some people believe that because solar panels are only 15%-20% efficient, they're not an efficient renewable energy source. While solar panels convert UV rays into electricity, some rays will be reflected off the panels or turned into heat instead.

Solar panels can't absorb all the sun's light, such as infrared light, but the truth is that the sun produces an excessive amount of sunlight.

With this amount of sunlight, the right amount of solar panels could power the world for an entire year within just a few hours. Solar panels are more than capable of providing your home with a sustainable power source while cutting your monthly utility costs.

As solar technology continues to make more advancements, the efficiency of solar panels improves each year. Solar panels can quickly become a more reliable and efficient form of energy for homeowners and businesses with these constant improvements.

3. Solar Power Is Too Expensive

There's a common misconception that clean energy is more expensive than traditional electricity sourced from fossil fuels. While installing solar panels is an investment, you don't have to worry about covering the cost all at once. Many solar panel installers offer solar financing options so you can afford the costs of the solar power system and installation over time.

Additionally, federal and state governments offer tax incentives, such as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). With this tax credit enacted by the United States government in 2006, businesses or homeowners can get a 26% tax credit if they install solar energy systems by the end of 2022. In 2023, the tax credit will decrease to 22%, and by 2024, only commercial businesses will be able to benefit from a 10% tax credit.

Different states offer their own incentives, as well. For example, Texas offers the TXU Energy Renewable Buyback Plan, which bills credits back to the business or homeowner for the excess power that their solar panels create. Texas residents can also benefit from the Solar Energy System Property Tax Exemption, which exempts homeowners from the additional home value created by solar panel installation.

Solar power is a worthwhile investment for your home or business with financing options and incentives from federal and state governments. You'll also be spending less on monthly electric costs with a solar energy system. As all of these savings add up, the cost of your solar solution will be paid back, and you'll quickly see a return on your investment.  

4. Solar Power Always Works During a Power Outage

Many people think that because solar panels run UV light from the sun, they'll be able to keep their property powered in an outage. But if your solar energy system is connected to the electrical grid, it will go down during a grid outage or a blackout. The reason your on-grid solar power system will shut down during an outage is for the safety of workers who are fixing damaged lines. If the power to your solar panels isn't shut off, it can put emergency and service workers at risk for injury.

You can potentially maintain power when the power goes out with solar batteries. These batteries will disconnect from the grid, so emergency workers are protected. The energy from these batteries can only provide you with some power for lights or small appliances. During a blackout, solar power systems won't be able to provide you with the electrical power you're used to, but they can do enough to keep the lights on while emergency personnel works to restore full power.

If you have an advanced solar energy system with multi-mode inverters, you can potentially power most of your household appliances, but this will depend on how much excess energy is stored in your solar batteries.

5. Solar Panels Are Challenging to Install and Difficult to Maintain

From an outsider's perspective, solar power systems can seem complex and challenging to install. Many people think that solar panels have to be taken care of constantly to maintain peak efficiency. If you're installing solar panels on your own, this might be the case.

The truth is that utilizing a professional solar installer makes the process simple, and you'll only need to perform annual maintenance. A solar provider will help you handle the entire process, from design to installation, and many providers offer maintenance packages as part of their services.

If dust, snow or other debris accumulates on your solar panels, you can simply clear it away with water. Solar panels can withstand harsh weather and are made to last for years, meaning they're highly durable, reducing the need for repair.

6. Solar Panels Will Make Selling My Property Difficult

Some people think that having solar panels will make selling their homes more difficult, but the reality is that a solar energy solution can increase your property value. Installing solar panels can boost your home's value by an average of 4.1%. As more buyers are looking for energy-efficient homes to save them money on monthly expenses, solar panels are one of the most popular choices.

Electricity bills are often the most expensive utility cost for many homeowners, and solar panels are an easy way to reduce the expense. Buyers are more willing to buy homes that already have solar power systems installed since they don't have to install these systems themselves. With an increased property value, you can see a further return on your solar investment.

7. Solar Panels Will Damage My Roof

Another common misconception people have about solar panels is that the installation will damage their roof. However, when a professional solar provider installs solar panels, they can protect your roof and extend its life span. If your roof becomes damaged from the weather, a tree falling or another circumstance, a section of the panels can be removed by a professional to repair the roof.

Sometimes, a gap may exist between the rooftop and the panels when solar panels are installed. The roof is further protected by a sealant, and the mounting system is additionally protected by metal flashing or a covering. If you're worried about the state of your roof, ensure that it's free from damage before installing a new solar energy system.

8. Solar Panels Are Bad For the Environment Once They're Used Up

While some people believe that solar panels contribute to waste in landfills once they've reached the end of their 25- to 30-year life span, the truth is that you can recycle many of the materials in solar panels. This myth comes from older solar panels that used to be made with a thin film that included cadmium. These panels were less efficient and have quickly become obsolete as solar power systems continue to advance technologically.

The only toxic material used in modern solar panels is a trace amount of lead, but manufacturers are quickly phasing out the material. Homeowners don't have to worry about whether their solar panels will contribute to electronic waste, as most of the components can be recycled. Some manufacturers will even provide you with the recycling information or handle recycling to ensure all parts are properly disposed of.

9. Solar Panel Prices Are Based on the Size of the Property

Some people believe that the bigger their property is, the more expensive it will be to invest in solar panels. But solar panels are specifically designed to suit the needs of individual homeowners. When you work with a solar installer, they'll determine the size of your solar panels by looking at the orientation and slope of your roof and the surrounding area to ensure your panels get the most access to sunlight.

If your landscaping blocks out most of the light, professionals may recommend trimming or cutting down trees or large hedges for improved solar panel efficiency, which can influence installation costs. Just because you have a bigger home doesn't mean you'll pay more for solar energy. There are various factors at play when it comes to the price of your solar panels, such as the amount of solar power you want for your property.

10. Installing Solar Panels Means Others Without Solar Will Pay More

Some believe that by installing solar panels, they're forcing their neighbors to pay more for traditional electric costs, but the opposite is true. As more people flock to cities, the greater electricity demand would require more infrastructure, the costs for which would be passed on to consumers. With more homeowners and businesses turning to solar panels, the demand on the electric grid is going down. Additional energy created from solar panels and sold to electric companies also helps reduce the strain on the grid.

All of this means that fewer people will have to pay a large sum on their monthly utility bills, with more people switching to solar energy. If everyone who moved to the city didn't utilize solar, the electricity price would increase due to the demand on the grid. If you're considering installing solar panels, you don't have to worry about increasing the electricity bill of your neighbors. In fact, installing solar panels can help them.

11. Solar Panels Require More Energy to Make Than They Produce

Solar is a clean energy source that doesn't produce any emissions, but the manufacturing process will require various resources and energy.

While it does take energy to produce solar panels, a solar power system can repay these energy costs. In 2012, photovoltaic systems took from six months to two years to pay back energy used in production. As solar panels become more efficient each year, researchers believe that solar energy systems will be able to repay energy costs even sooner.

Once you install and start utilizing your solar panels, you'll quickly make up the energy costs it took to manufacture your solar panels. Since solar panels can last up to 30 years with the proper care and maintenance, the few months to years it takes to make up the costs will seem like a blip compared to the long-term savings and energy a solar solution can provide.

Choose S&H Solar For All Your Solar Needs

With the most common solar power myths busted, you should be able to make an informed decision about solar panels for your property. If you're ready to invest in renewable energy, S&H Solar is here to help. We originated in the country, and we're dedicated to bringing solar power to rural towns so our consumers can own their electricity instead of renting it. Our comprehensive solar services cover you from initial installation to annual maintenance and repairs.

S&H Solar can help you save money on clean energy while doing your part to help clean up the world. If you're ready to get started, get in touch with us today for a free quote and learn how solar can change your life.

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