Solar power technology has been around for decades now, but adoption is still low per capita. Part of the reason is because of the pervasive myths about solar power. People tend to think that solar technology is out of their budget, that it doesn’t work in cloudy areas, and that it’s impossible to use in winter. They couldn’t be more wrong. Here are five of the worst myths debunked.
Myth 1: Solar Panels Require Constant Sunlight
Solar cells require UV radiation more than direct sunlight. UV penetrates clouds and charges solar cells just as easily in cloudy weather as in clear. In fact, cool solar panels conduct electricity more easily than hot ones. Consider this – Germany is the residential solar capital of the world and has more overcast days than clear.
Myth 2: Solar Panels Can’t Withstand Winter Climates
An example – University of Vermont, which as the name indicates is in the northeastern state of Vermont, has had a solar installation for some time. It’s been virtually maintenance-free even in the winter. South-facing panels of a dark color help melt snow and keep it off, allowing the solar panels to gather sunlight.
Myth 3: Excess Solar Energy Needs to be Stored in Batteries
While batteries are available, they’re bulky and need to be replaced frequently. Most solar systems are instead tied to the power grid. 1Bog.com cites that when you generate more energy than you use with a solar system, you actually sell the power back to the utility company, building up credit that you spend on power for when you use more than you generate.
Myth 4: Solar Panels Look Ugly and Can Damage Rooftops
Solar panels can look quite elegant if they’re installed correctly. Some variations even come in small solar shingles, which look like a sleek black roof. As for damage, solar panels can actually protect the roof they’re placed over. Some have even survived a hurricane. More, solar panels raise a home’s property value and can receive tax exemptions, according to 1Bog.com.
Myth 5: Solar Panels are Hard to Maintain
This couldn’t be further from the truth. If a solar panel can withstand a hurricane, what is normal weather going to do to it? Even if that one surviving was a fluke, solar panels have to be rated to withstand typical weather, normal snow and hail, and other minor damage. They’re easy to clean, too. All you need to do is hose off the panels periodically. Many people never clean their solar panels, and the accumulated dirt only reduces efficiency by 5 percent, according to PlanetSave.com.
All of these are major reasons people avoid buying solar panels, and yet all of them are false. Solar energy is efficient, free, and can lead to a lifetime of savings. The initial investment may be high, but it more than pays for itself between increased property values, decreased utility bills and power bill credit. Technology may be improving, but solar is still largely the same technology that was used in the 1960s. Waiting for it to improve is wasting years of potential savings.