Solar energy continues to make waves in the renewable energy sector as more and more homeowners in California and beyond are embracing this clean, sustainable power source. With its growing popularity, there are several myths and misconceptions about solar energy that persist. Here are the top 10 solar energy myths we’re going to debunk:
Myth #1: Solar Panels Lower Your Home’s Resale Value
Contrary to this myth, solar panels can actually increase your home’s resale value. A 2019 study from Zillow found that homes with solar energy systems sold for nearly $10,000 more than traditionally powered homes. This is because solar panels are seen as upgrades, similar to a renovated kitchen or a finished basement. Additionally, potential buyers recognize the value of lower utility bills and the environmental benefits of solar energy.
Moreover, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without. This is because the modern homebuyer is more environmentally conscious and values the long-term savings that solar panels offer.
Myth #2: Solar Panels Only Generate Power in Sunny Conditions
While solar panels do perform best under direct sunlight, they can still generate power on cloudy days. Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells translate sunlight particles into electrical currents, which allows energy production even under overcast skies. In fact, Germany, a country known for its cloudy weather, has one of the highest solar power capacities in the world.
Additionally, solar panels can still produce a considerable amount of power even on rainy days. This is because solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to generate electricity; they just need light. Even the diffused light on a rainy day can be converted into electricity. So, regardless of the weather, solar panels can still be a reliable source of energy to power your home.
Myth #3: Solar Panels Don’t Generate Energy When It’s Cold
In reality, solar panels can produce more energy in colder weather. The photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar panels convert light into electricity, not heat. Therefore, even in chilly conditions, as long as there’s bright, direct sunlight, your solar panels can generate energy efficiently. This is why solar panels are a common sight in cold, sunny climates.
It’s also worth noting that solar panels are tested in laboratory conditions at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). When the temperature rises above this, the efficiency of solar panels can decrease slightly. This means solar panels can actually perform better in cooler temperatures, as long as there’s plenty of sunlight.
Myth #4: Solar Panels Aren’t Eco-Friendly in the Long-Run
While it’s true that solar panels have a lifespan—typically up to 25 years—efforts are being made to ensure that used panels don’t end up in landfills. Organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are implementing programs to recycle solar PV panels and turn them into resources for new panels. This makes solar panels a sustainable choice for the long term.
Furthermore, the energy payback time (EPBT) for solar panels is typically 1 to 4 years, depending on the type of panel and the location. This means that a solar panel will generate the same amount of energy that was used to produce it within the first 1 to 4 years of its lifespan. Considering solar panels can last up to 25 years or more, the majority of the energy they produce is carbon-free.
Myth #5: Solar-Powered Homes Don’t Have Electric Bills
While solar panels can significantly reduce your electric bills, they don’t completely eliminate them. Most solar-powered homes are still connected to the main power grid and use energy supplied by utility companies when the panels aren’t producing enough power, such as at night or during extended periods of cloudy weather. However, the energy savings from solar panels can still make a substantial difference in your monthly bills.
Myth #6: Solar Panels Power Homes During Outages
Solar panels alone can’t supply all the energy a home needs, especially during power outages. Most solar panel systems are designed to shut off during a power outage to prevent electricity from being sent back to the grid and potentially harming utility workers who are fixing the power lines.
However, installing a solar battery storage system can store excess energy for use when the grid is down, providing a reliable backup power source. This is especially useful in areas prone to power outages due to storms or other natural disasters.
Myth #7: Solar Is Unaffordable For Most Homeowners
Solar panel installation has become more affordable over the years, thanks to the growing demand for clean energy. Many solar companies offer financing options that allow homeowners to pay for their panels through monthly payments similar to an electricity bill. Additionally, federal, state, and local incentives, including the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can further reduce the cost of going solar.
Furthermore, the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically over the past decade due to technological advancements and economies of scale. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost of installing solar panels has dropped by more than 50% over the last decade. This trend is expected to continue, which will make solar energy even more accessible to homeowners.
Myth #8: Solar Power Isn’t Viable For Widespread Usage
Sunlight is a universal energy source, making solar power a viable and valuable solution for reducing carbon emissions and slowing climate change. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts that solar will make up 45% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2050. With advancements in technology and battery storage solutions, solar power can indeed be a widespread solution for our energy needs.
Solar power is also a scalable solution. Whether it’s a small rooftop system for a single home or a large solar farm that powers thousands of homes, solar can be adapted to a variety of scales and needs. With the right infrastructure and policies in place, solar power can play a significant role in our energy mix.
Myth #9: Solar Panel Maintenance Is a Hassle For Homeowners
Solar panels require some maintenance, but it’s not as daunting as it may seem. The main task is keeping the solar panels clean to ensure maximum efficiency and energy production. Dust, debris, and other elements can accumulate on the surface of the panels over time and reduce their ability to generate power.
Studies have shown that solar power panels can lose up to 15-25% of their efficiency if not cleaned regularly. This results in your solar system generating less electricity, which means you’ll have to purchase more energy from the utility company at their peak rates. Therefore, regular cleaning is a small task that can lead to significant savings.
Myth #10: Solar Panels Will Damage Your Roof
When installed correctly, solar panels won’t damage your roof. It’s important to hire a professional for the installation to ensure the panels are securely fastened and properly sealed to prevent potential water damage. In fact, solar panels can actually protect the portion of the roof they cover by shielding it from weather elements.
Moreover, solar panels can help extend the life of your roof by protecting it from the elements. The panels shield the roof from harmful UV rays, rain, and snow, which can reduce wear and tear. However, it’s important to ensure that your roof is in good condition before installing solar panels. If your roof needs to be replaced in the near future, it’s best to do so before or during the solar panel installation.
Now that we’ve debunked these common solar energy myths, we hope you have a clearer understanding of the benefits and realities of solar energy. Solar power isn’t just a trend—it’s a sustainable, efficient, and increasingly affordable solution for California homeowners.
Ready to learn more about solar energy and how it can benefit you and your home? Schedule an online appointment today with our Energy Consultants to learn more.