Solar Energy Myths

When it comes to solar energy, do you know what's true and what isn't? Let's debunk a few solar energy myths.

#1: Solar panels will not work if it's cloudy

There's a common misconception that in order for solar panels to work, it needs to be warm and sunny all of the time. The fact is that all that panels need is UV light, which is available even during cold and cloudy days. As a result, your solar panels will collect energy as long as it isn't completely dark outside. Except for Alaska, America gets consistent sunlight.

#2: Few states provide a tax credit

Residential solar systems may not yet be available in all 50 states, but tax credits, rebates and/or policies do exist. These state incentives can be added on top of the current Federal 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

#3: Solar panels cause roof problems

While photos of solar panels on a rooftop look like they have been attached directly, they are actually mounted as part of a railing system. Solar panels do the opposite of damage - they actually protect. If there are any problems with your roof, panels can be easily removed for maintenance.

#4: I'll need a battery system for unused energy storage

When your solar energy system is creating more power than is being used, the unused power is added to the power grid that your home is still connected to. Power sent to the grid is credited to your utility account. No battery system is needed.

#5: Solar panels will make my home more difficult to sell

It is quite the opposite. Residents who install solar panels on their home are actually increasing the value of their home in the market, with buyers willing to pay up to a $15,000 premium on home with a solar system installed. With energy prices rising, buyers want to find ways to keep costs down.

#6: It will take too long to get a return on my solar investment

For one, you don't have to purchase a solar energy system outright. Many residential solar companies such as SolarCity allow customers to lease the solar equipment, allowing them to reap the benefits of residential solar power. For those who purchase, it's only a matter of time before the value of your home goes up thanks to your solar system.

#7: Solar panels are huge & ugly

Like any other technology, design improvements happen overtime. Solar energy systems are customized to to not only fit your home, but also work with the overall aesthetics as well. Panels used to be bulky, but new developments have consolidated the design.

#8: I'll need a solar tracking system, which will cost me more

In short, no you don't. Tracking systems do exist, but they do little to increase the efficiency of your solar energy system. Tracking systems are more applicable toward large-scale solar energy farms that produce more power - not for a residential home. As long as there is light of any kind - whether through sun or clouds - you'll get the energy you need.

#9: Solar energy systems require lots of maintenance

Like anything else, maintenance is required, but not the level that many people expect. Photovoltaic cells are easy to remove for maintenance, and are also easy to clean. If you choose to lease your system, your installer will maintain your equipment. This is often backed by a warranty that can outlast the life of the cells themselves.

#10: More energy goes into manufacturing solar cells than the energy that they produce

In 2004, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory studied this exact relation, and found that it took anywhere from one to four years for a solar energy system to produce the equivalent amount of energy that it takes to manufacture. That was more than a decade ago, and solar energy systems have become even more efficient since then.