5 Solar Myths Your Utility Company Wants You To Belive

By Matt Price | Uncategorized

Aug 26

If you’re like most people, you’ve fallen subject to a few myths about solar power.

And hey, this is understandable! After all, not everyone has solar power in their homes or offices, so figuring out how it works and where it applies to “the real world” can be tough.

What’s more, solar technology has changed drastically in recent years, and some of the things that used to be true for the panel industry aren’t true any longer.

Today, we’re here to dispel five of the top lingering solar myths and help you understand why they’re not true any longer, or never were.

Whether you’re just looking to learn more about solar power or you’re interested in getting a system for your home or business, knowledge is power, and doing away with the top silly myths of the industry will help you make more informed solar decisions.

Myth #1: Only Rich People Have Solar Panels

“Solar panels cost like a million dollars, right?”

“They’re a form of energy reserved for the ultra-wealthy and nobody else.”

“Solar panels are way too expensive for the average Joe.”

Wrong!

While there’s a common perception that solar panels are expensive, they’re not that bad.

Today, solar panels cost half as much as they did back in 2008 and — wait for it — one hundred times less than they did in 1977! Most homeowners can get solar for a monthly payment that’s similar to their existing electric bill.

Beyond the low cost of the solar panels themselves, you’ll also want to consider the cost savings they’ll create throughout their lifetime. Most experts estimate that the average homeowner who installs solar panels will save $30,000-70,000 on energy expenses in the first 25 years after the panels are installed.

These numbers just go to show that, while there is a startup cost associated with solar panels, it’s relatively small, and is easily outweighed by the ongoing savings the panels offer.

What’s more, the federal tax credit and utility rebates typically cover a significant portion of solar panel installation and can serve to offset the cost even more.

Beyond that, a solar panel system offers price predictability throughout its lifetime, and current financing options have made even the largest systems accessible to virtually all households.

So, tell me again solar panels are too expensive, or that you need to be a millionaire to afford them…?

Myth #2: We Don’t Get Enough Sun in Missouri For Solar Panels

This is a common misconception about solar in Missouri. What most people don’t know is that solar panels use the energy from daylight, rather than from sunlight.

This means they don’t need direct sunlight to operate and instead rely on the photons created by natural daylight.

Beyond that, though, few places in the world don’t have enough sunlight for solar panels.

Think about it: extremely remote survey stations in places like the Arctic use solar panels religiously, and there are hundreds of homes here in Missouri that rely on solar panels to provide most of their energy!

While it’s true that solar panels in direct sunlight will be better prepared to produce the maximum solar output, they can absorb solar energy even in cloudy weather or in low-sunlight areas.

All you need to do to maximize the output of your panels is arrange them so they face south.

They should also be placed in an area where their view of the sky isn’t obscured by trees, buildings, or other large objects, at least for most the eight daylight hours.

If you’re still in doubt about whether we get enough sunlight here in Missouri to justify solar panels, plot a sun chart or rent a solar pathfinder to check out how much sun a group would receive over the course of the day.

Chances are, you’d be surprised.

Myth #3: Panels Don’t Work When It’s Snowy or Cloudy

Again, solar panels don’t require direct sunlight.

While they offer maximum solar output in sunny, warm weather, they’ll still produce power at roughly 25-40% of their peak capacity rate on snowy or cloudy days. In fact, some experts even estimate that solar panels are approximately as effective on cloudy days as they are on sunny ones.

Again, the reason for this is that solar panels rely on ambient light. Beyond this simple fact, technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years, and today’s solar panels are more sensitive and efficient than ever before. On cold days, solar will actually work more efficiently than when the panels are hot. That helps offset the reduced sunlight hours during the winter months.

This allows them to perform beautifully in foggy or overcast climates and means that they’re still a great option for people who live in these areas.

Still need some proof? Think of it this way: Germany is currently the world’s leader in residential and commercial solar power systems, even though it doesn’t have a hot, sunny climate.

This just goes to show that, thanks to advances in the industry and a widespread, global demand, solar panels are now ideal even for people who don’t enjoy eight full hours of sun each day.

Not only will you not lose output in an area like this, but you’ll not spend your precious time stressing out about whether your panel will work in a cold or snowy climate.

The answer is always “yes,” and you can take that to the bank!

Myth #4: Solar Panels Will Get Damaged by Hail

Solar panels seem delicate, don’t they? So, it makes sense that a good hail storm or a driving rain would just destroy them.

The fact is, though, that solar panels are much more durable than they might seem at first glance.

Because solar panels are designed to live outside in highly exposed environments, they’re designed with the elements in mind and are capable of withstanding even inclement weather.

For example, the solar cells within a solar panel are housed in protective glass, acrylic, or laminate material that’s reinforced to withstand impact. The frame is sturdy enough to provide stability for the cells and prevent shifting or loosening.

What’s more, solar panel hail tests have shown that most residential systems can withstand winds reaching or exceeding 150 miles per hour and delivering quarter-sized hail. This means that, for the grand majority of storms, your solar panels will hold up just fine.

If the hail in a storm is larger than that, though, there is some risk that the hail will damage your panels. Once the hail pieces start getting larger than 1 inch in diameter, everything from your roof to your solar panels to your home’s window and your car are at risk.

If a storm like this is expected, you’ll want to invest in a solar panel protective cover that can be applied during particularly harsh weather.

You can also add your solar system to your home’s insurance policy for added protection.

At the end of the day, it’s true that an epic storm could damage your solar panels. But the likelihood of storms like this are low, and if such a storm were to occur, you’d have to worry about much more than just your panels!

Myth #5: Solar Panels Require Too Much Maintenance

Worried that if you invest in solar panels, you’ll spend the rest of your life up there on your roof, caring for them like a delicate orchid?

Don’t be.

Because solar panels have no moving parts, they don’t require regular maintenance. Once you install them, they’re pretty much good to operate up there on their own.

While most solar installation experts do recommend giving your panels a quick spray-down with a garden hose once a year, most panel owners never clean their own panels and, instead, rely on the rain to do it for them. In fact, Missouri gets enough rain throughout the year, that you should never have to wash the panels off.

The Biggest Solar Myths — Busted!

If you’ve been living in a world of solar myths, we invite you to come out and see the light (no pun intended).

While it’s true that solar panel systems are a little foreign to most people, they’re not nearly as expensive, fragile, time-consuming, or inefficient as most people think.

In fact, modern solar panels are accessible for people from virtually all budgets, backgrounds, and specialties.

If you have additional questions about solar installation, or whether solar panels are right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact the team here at Simple Solar.

Our friendly staff will answer any questions you might have and help you bust any solar myths that might still be hanging around.

Want to see how much you can save? Click for a free, no obligation quote!

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About the Author

Matt is the director of marketing at Simple Solar and is passionate about helping his fellow SW Missourians go solar! Check out more articles and content on the blog or by visiting the Simple Solar Facebook Page!