Solar Myths Debunked

As solar spreads, so does solar misinformation. Let’s clear up some of the solar myths floating around.

Myth 1: Solar will get more efficient, so I should wait.

Today’s solar technology is extremely similar to what was being used back in the 1960s. Solar has only had moderate efficiency gains since then. With its technological stability and the 30 percent federal tax credit (in addition to state-specific incentive programs), solar makes sense right now. Even if the cost of installation drops in the next few years, the difference in returns over time will be negligible.

Myth 2: Solar is still so expensive that it will never be able to pay for itself.

Perhaps one of the most long-lasting solar myths is that it’s only for wealthy people and/or environmentalists. In reality, many home and business owners choose to go solar simply because it eliminates their big monthly power bill. In fact, solar can help people save a couple hundred bucks a month that they’re currently paying in power bills. Solar financing options have all but eliminated the big upfront costs associated with solar energy systems, so many home and business owners can now switch to solar for little to no money down. Studies show that, on average, solar panels return two to four times their cost in saved electricity bills and typically pay for themselves completely within 7-15 years. If you live in a state with additional solar incentives, the payback period can be as short as 2-4 years.

Myth 3: Solar doesn’t work in cool, cloudy, or foggy climates.

Have you ever been sunburned on an overcast day? That’s because energy from the sun still breaks through clouds and fog, so your panels still produce significant energy even when the sun isn’t shining directly on them. In fact, solar panels are actually more efficient at cooler temperatures because when temperatures are too hot, the chemical reactions in solar panels occur less efficiently.

Myth 4: When the power goes out, my home is still powered.

When the power goes out, grid-tied systems go out, too. It isn’t safe to push electricity back out onto the wires while workers may be trying to fix the problem, so your inverters recognize that the grid is out and shut off your system. Don’t worry about it too much; the power doesn’t go out that often, and when it does, it’s typically only out for short periods of time.