10 common solar energy misconceptions
“ Solar panels don’t work when it’s snowing.” “Going solar is too costly.” “Solar installations require a lot of upkeep and care.” If the topic of going solar comes up in conversation, these statements are likely to come up. In reality, many of these ideas are from the truth. What’s fact from fiction? Let’s break it down.
1. Solar panels cost too much. Many people have a perception that solar installations are cost prohibitive. The truth is that solar technology continues to drop in price. Additionally, thanks to the availability of solar panel kits, it’s never been easier and cheaper to go solar.
Solar panels can also be an investment that can bring generous returns. So you’ll want to take into consideration the upfront and lifetime costs and savings of solar installations. When you install solar panels on the roof of your home, it actually increases the property value.
2. Solar panels are an eyesore. As technology improves, so does the physical appearance of solar panels. Highly efficient monocrystalline panels, which are dark grey in color, often blend in seamlessly with the existing roof materials. Additional flexible solar panels can be mounted to a roof and because they are only .08 inches thick, they can remain out of sight from passersby. They are also lightweight, flexible, and ideal for mounting on surfaces that are not flat.
3. I have to mount solar panels on my roof. There are plenty of portable solar panel options that do not require you to drill holes into your roof. Instead of mounting to the roof, portable solar panels are most often available in the form of folding suitcase panel kits that can be set up on the ground. Portable solar panels are lightweight, easy-to-handle, and affordable. If you can’t justify installing roof mounted solar panels, portable solar power systems are a great option.
4. Solar panels will continue to work when the power goes out. Not all solar installations are created equally, and just because you have solar panels doesn’t mean you’ll be able to access power during a blackout. As a general rule of thumb, if you have battery storage, you’ll be able to power your home’s devices and appliances with your solar installation.
If you have a grid-tied system,then you most likely will not be able to access power during a blackout. This is because it would be dangerous for your system to be running and pushing energy into the grid while utility workers are out trying to repair the system.
If you have an off-grid or hybrid system with battery storage, then you typically will be able to keep the lights on during a grid outage.
5. Solar doesn’t work in certain climates. Solar panels do in fact work in a variety of weather conditions. Think solar panels don’t work in the winter or when it’s too cold? Although the shorter days will lead to lower energy collection levels, solar panels actually operate best in cold conditions.
6. Solar panels won’t work when it’s cloudy. Think the UK is too cloudy, grey, and rainy for solar to be feasible? A cloudy day will still provide energy for your panels. Solar panels work by collecting visible light and clouds still reflect visible light from the sun. So just because the sun may be hidden by clouds, you’ll still be able to collect energy.
7. Solar requires lots of maintenance. In reality, solar requires very little maintenance. We recommend cleaning off your panels once a year or so. In many cases, rain throughout the year is enough to keep them clean. You’ll also want to check for any debris that may have collected near or on the panels, and take note of any wear and tear on the panels themselves or any wiring.
Don’t forget about maintaining your batteries. Flooded lead acid batteries do require you to monitor the water levels and add water to the battery on a regular basis. On the other hand, sealed lead acid batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries require little to no maintenance.
8. Solar panels use more energy to manufacture than they actually produce. This is a common argument solar critics like to use. Yes, solar panels are made of different materials including glass, aluminum, silicon, and some plastics. Each of them require different levels of resources and energy to manufacture. But unlike relying on coal, solar panels do not emit any greenhouse gases while operating.
9. Installing solar is too difficult and complicated to do on your own. Going solar has never been easier. In fact, more and more people are choosing to go the DIY route when it comes to installing solar on their home, caravan, or boat. Installing a small-scale, off-grid solar system can easily be done on your own with a Renogy solar panel kit, which includes most of the necessary components you’ll need to go solar, including solar panels, a charge controller, mounting hardware, combiner boxes, and circuit breakers. You’ll just need to purchase batteries and an inverter to complete your kit.
10. Solar panels will damage my roof. It’s true that mounting solar panels does require the right mounting hardware in order to safely and securely attach the panels to your roof. However, if done correctly, solar panel installation should not damage your roof or the surrounding structure. Additionally technology has continued to improve where mounting solar panels has never been easier. In some cases, solar panels can actually protect your roof instead of inflicting any sort of damage.