Today’s energy crisis continues to be a hot topic with everyone looking at alternative energy as part of the solution. At the top of this mix is solar energy, which can certainly provide clean energy and save you money.
However, jumping into solar isn’t a blink-of-an-eye decision for most, and it shouldn’t be. If you’re in the market for solar energy, it’s essential that you gather as much information as possible. More importantly, don’t get caught up in many of the solar myths floating around that can leave you confused and muddle up your decision about the technology.
This is why we’re clearing up some of the most common solar myths so it can get you on the right path to deciding whether solar energy is a wise choice for you and your family.
Myth #1: Solar is more expensive in the long run than what I spend monthly – Many think that solar is too expensive but they don’t realize that paying for today’s conventional electricity bills over the same period of time is actually way more expensive in an apple-to-apple comparison. In addition, the payments made for electricity consumed are gone once they’re sent to the utility company. But with the purchase of a solar power system, those same payments go towards ownership of a product that will continue to produce energy years after the payment plan ends, if the system is financed.
It is difficult for many homeowners to see beyond the initial price of solar, but if looked at over time, they’re simply paying for electricity ahead. If they’re financing for purchase, they will quickly benefit after their break-even period which is usually around seven to eight years. Please note that we’re only talking about a purchase, not a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA).
For example, if your solar investment is $14,000 and it saves you $2,000 a year, then it will take seven years to get to your break-even point. If your average monthly electric bill is $200, then you end up paying a total of $2,400 for a year’s worth of electricity, then it’s forever gone. If you use that same $200 payment for the purchase of a solar system, that $2,400 goes towards your payoff and total ownership. When you get a quote for solar, you’ll see a steady payment graph against the normal rising cost of electricity, and you’ll definitely see that solar will save you in the tens of thousands for the life of the solar power system which is rated to last for a minimum of 25 years or more.
What makes a solar investment even more attractive is today’s available 26% Federal Residential Solar Energy Credit of the purchase price which includes roof repairs, electrical upgrades, and backup batteries. Unfortunately, this incentive will only last until this year and will drop to 22% in the year 2023. After that, the credit incentive may be completely gone.
Myth #2: Homes with solar panels are difficult to sell – This can be a bit confusing because there is a big difference between the purchase of solar versus a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA) for solar. Homes with solar that have been purchased are extremely easy to sell because it’s part of the property like a shed or a remodeled kitchen. In fact, homes with a purchased solar power system sell for up to 4% more since the home will essentially include an energy producing system that lowers or virtually eliminates future electric bills.
Unfortunately, a home with a solar lease or PPA option may be more difficult to sell because the agreement is with the current owner of the home and must be transferred to the potential home buyer. That is where the complication occurs, and buyers would rather not take on an extra energy system payment that was not designed for their needs. As an example, the home seller may have a family of six with a large demand for electricity, and the potential home buyer may only have two people who don’t have that same electricity demand. And, if they have to take on an expensive solar lease or PPA agreement, they may opt out of purchasing the home.
This is why Solar Power Supply only offers solar for purchase.
Myth #3: When I have solar, I have a limitless amount of power – This is one myth that needs to be properly addressed. It is also what gets solar owners in a heap of trouble. The amount of energy a solar power system generates is limited to its size. It is often mistaken that once solar is installed, owners have the mentality that they have a limitless amount of power. At the beginning of any solar inquiry, every company will size a system based on average annual usage (100% offset) using their last 12-months of electricity bills. They often also provide different size options to choose from with increased offsets for times when usage is above average or are expecting a higher demand for electricity in the future.
It is EXTREMELY important to understand that a solar power system will only produce the amount of electricity based on their size. If the owner continually strays away from their average electricity usage, beyond the system’s production capabilities, then the additional power consumption is pulled from the grid resulting in a large utility bill at the end of their “true up” cycle.
Solar owners should pay attention to their electricity usage especially when lifestyle changes are made such as a purchase of a new electric vehicle, addition of a swimming pool, or as simple as setting the air conditioner at a much lower temperature for long periods of time. Monitoring a solar system’s energy production and household consumption is quite easy with a smart device app associated with a solar system. Checking to make sure a solar power system is working properly and knowing consumption levels will make a solar investment worth its price!
Myth #4: Solar doesn’t work during cloudy or cold weather – Today’s solar panels are quite advanced and will still generate a good amount of electricity even on cloudy days or when they’re obstructed by shade. Advancements in solar panels allow them to still generate electricity as long as there are photons that hit the panels. These photons (solar radiation) are what come from the sun and what make the cells on solar panels create electricity. On cloudy days, the direct solar radiation is diffused by the particles in our atmosphere. The amount of electricity solar panels will produce is dependent on the density of the clouds blocking direct sunlight.
Solar panels generate electricity based on the amount of sunlight they absorb, not the temperature. In fact, on cold days solar panels work more efficiently.
Myth #5: Solar produces the most power on super-hot days – There is a huge misconception that on super-hot sunny days, solar panels produce more electricity. The truth is, solar panels are actually more efficient in cooler weather. Solar panels work with the amount of sunlight they receive, not the sun’s heat. Solar panels have a temperature range where they work optimally, and they actually start to reduce their power output at extreme temperatures. This doesn’t imply product failure, but the expectation of more power production from a solar power system in extreme conditions is definitely false. All solar panels have an efficiency and temperature coefficient rating that will tell you how much wattage they’ll generate at given temperatures. Read our blog, All Solar Panels Are the Same. Not!, for more details on this subject.
Myth #6: Solar works to power my home when there is a power outage – When the sun is out, solar panels generate a great deal of electricity for your home or business. However, when a power outage occurs, a solar power system is automatically disabled for safety reasons. Whether the power outage was intentional or not, someone working on repairs or improvements can be seriously electrocuted by the flowing electricity coming from homes with solar panels. Remember, all excess power a system produces is diverted into the grid, and if someone is working on the power lines, they will be on the receiving end of that excess power. However, if a backup battery is part of a solar energy system, electricity will maintain flow into the home without interruption, and the solar panels will continue to charge the connected battery while the sun is out.
Myth #7: Solar panels damage rooftops – Solar panels do not damage rooftops; in fact, they actually protect the area where they are installed. Solar panels act as an umbrella for the area where they are installed, essentially minimizing the wear caused by long exposure to the sun. It also lowers the temperature of the area of the rooftop since the panels provide a great amount of shade.
Myth #8: Solar causes more harm to the environment than other types of energy – Like everything produced in this world, there are certain amounts of resources that are needed to produce solar panels. The key advantage of solar is the ability to generate clean energy from the sun for a very long period of time, in general 25 years or more. There are no moving parts or maintenance involved with solar panels so there are no additional effects on the environment. Once they are installed, they simply absorb sunlight which is then converted into the electricity that you use in your home.
With conventional means of obtaining electricity through the local utility company, power is generated by different ways including burning fossil fuels and coal or the use of nuclear energy. The natural resources used for energy not only deplete those resources quickly, but they also contribute to today’s green-house effects and other hazardous emissions that go up into the atmosphere. These issues are why the U.S. administration and other world leaders are looking for clean energy solutions that are readily available such as solar power.
Which of these two means for energy have a more harmful effect on the environment can be greatly debated for some. For us the assessment between a solar panel that produces clean power from the sun for 25+ years versus 25+ years of continual burning of natural resources is a very easy one.
Call us today to discuss the reality of getting solar energy for your home without experiencing any doubts.