A solar solution or system of solar panels can be an excellent choice for any residential home, reducing your reliance on city-supplied power and shrinking your “carbon footprint.” However, many homeowners often believe certain unfortunate and untrue myths about solar energy solutions, sometimes even forgoing the use of solar energy because of not understanding how those panels work!
Top myths about solar power include the belief that you run out of this power at night or during wintertime, that solar panels are likely to break in a storm, and that the energy provided by solar is somehow too weak to power household appliances. Many homeowners also assume that solar systems are too expensive and that they won’t see a return on their investment for decades to come.
To ensure you make the most affordable yet eco-friendly choice possible when it comes to powering your home, note a few popular myths about residential solar panels, as well as some other factors to consider when deciding if these systems are right for you.
Myth: Solar Systems Stop Working at Night
One pervasive myth about solar systems is that your home will run out of power as soon as the sun goes down. This is not the case, and understanding how solar panels work can assure you of their ability to power your home no matter the time of day or weather:
- The solar energy collected by a home’s panel travels through its wiring and, in some cases, is then stored in a battery.
- The wiring in your home draws power out of the battery as needed; just like household batteries, as long as there is power in that battery pack, your house won’t run out of electricity.
- In other cases, solar panel wiring is directly connected to the city’s electrical grid and is tracked by what is called net metering. Your meter records the amount of solar power sent back to the city, and you are given credit for that amount on your monthly electric bill.
Even if your solar system uses a battery pack, your house is still connected to the city’s electrical system. If the battery pack is empty, your home’s electrical system will automatically begin to draw power from the city.
Myth: Solar Panels Are Likely to Break in Storms
Solar panel glass is very dense and durable and is meant to resist scratching, cracking, and other damage. Solar panels are not likely to break in heavy storms and will maintain their durability even if hit by a tree branch and other such debris.
Solar panels also typically need nothing more than an occasional sweep with an outdoor broom, to clear away debris on their surface and keep them clean. There is no need to use any specialty glass cleaner on solar panels, and no need to fill in cracks and chips or other such damage.
Myth: Solar Energy is Weak
Solar energy is not somehow weak or insufficient so that your home’s appliances might struggle to function or suffer through constant brownouts. If the system you choose uses a battery pack, as long as that pack has power, your home will have a continuous flow of electricity.
Note, too, that solar batteries are being recharged constantly, as long as your home’s solar panels are collecting and converting sunlight. A control panel attached to the solar solution can also tell you how much energy is available from that system, and how much electricity your home is using at any given time.
Myth: Solar Panels Take Decades to Pay for Themselves
There are many different types of solar energy solutions available to homeowners, all with varying costs and all of which will hold different amounts of power. How soon you’ll see a return on your investment for your new panels will depend on the system you choose for your home and the amount of power you use throughout the month and year.
Rebates and other such incentives offered by your particular state will also affect your solar panel installation cost and, in turn, the amount of time it takes to see a return on that investment. When figuring “how much does it cost to install solar panels” and your potential savings, remember that city-supplied rates for electricity often go up over the years, whereas the power you get from your solar panels will never increase in price!
Myth: Solar Solutions Are Always Improving
There is nothing more frustrating than investing in a new Smartphone or computer, only to see a faster, more efficient model with lots more features released not long after! However, this shouldn’t be a concern when it comes to solar panels, as the technology used to collect and convert solar power is not necessarily improving as time goes on; the wiring and conversion systems that allow solar panels to harvest and convert energy have actually been in use for many decades, with very few tweaks.
In many cases, the control panels attached to residential solar panels are the only components ever changed. Upgraded panels might better track how much solar power is being used by your house versus city-supplied electric, and even calculate your cost savings for you. However, these types of upgrades are typically insignificant, so that a homeowner shouldn’t put off investing in solar power merely because they assume a better system will be available in a few years.
Myth: Sloped Roofs or Small Houses Can’t Accommodate Solar Panels
Solar panels are securely bolted to a home, so they aren’t going to slide off a sloped roof. While a solar panel installation should be angled to collect the most amount of sunlight possible, these panels are installed by highly trained technicians who will determine the best location for their installation no matter the angle, size, or pitch of a roof.
In some cases, solar panels can also be installed along a home’s exterior walls, although these types of panels may not collect as much sunlight as roof panels. Smaller solar panels might also be an option for tiny homes or roofs with lots of dormers and other obstructions; solar shingles, for example, are not much larger than standard roofing tiles. Whatever the needs for your home, there is probably a solar solution available to you, and a technician can explain how to install solar panels for maximum efficiency!
Myth: Solar Panels Decrease a Home’s Value
It’s a common myth that solar panels decrease a home’s value, due to their appearance or because potential homebuyers might assume they’re complicated to use. However, while residential property values fluctuate based on a number of factors, note that solar panels often increase a home’s value rather than decrease it.
A real estate agent or appraiser can assist with determining how solar panels might affect your property values. He or she can note nearby homes with solar panels and how those systems have changed the value of those houses, and if solar is something that homebuyers in your area appreciate when shopping for a new home.
Myth: Solar Solution Do Very Little to Protect the Environment
It might be true that one homeowner using solar panels for their home might not have much of an impact on environmental issues, but consider why this shouldn’t discourage you from investing in a solar system:
- Investing in solar for your home might not save the environment, but using city-supplied electricity will only make environmental concerns worse! Power plants typically create tons of fumes and emissions as they operate, so relying solely on this type of electricity will only result in even more pollution and damage to the environment.
- One homeowner choosing solar energy for their home can encourage other homeowners to do the same. Neighbors may see that solar panels don’t detract from a home’s appearance, and an increase in your property values may also encourage neighbors to choose solar for their home.
- The higher the demand for solar panels, the more likely it is that businesspersons will invest in solar companies, and the less likely it is that solar providers will close shop due to lack of interest! More customers for solar companies also mean more money for marketing and advertising, which might then encourage more homeowners and even business owners to invest in solar.
It’s also worth noting that making a change to “go green” can encourage you, your family, and your neighbors to make even more changes out of concern for the environment. For example, after having solar panels installed, you might consider investing in a rainwater collection system so you can reduce how much fresh water you use for watering your lawn or garden.
Your entire family might even make a project out of coming up with ways to reduce their own “carbon footprint,” including riding bikes more often rather than driving, and repairing or recycling items they already own before they buy anything new! Your solar solution is then only part of what you do to help preserve the environment and reduce the pollution for which you’re responsible.