Even in 2022, there’s so many people who are missing out on free electricity from sunlight. So many people either aren’t informed on how solar power can level up your life or they downright believe myths.
But don't worry – BLUETTI USA is all about the facts. In this article, we will examine and debunk the most common solar myths.
Some of these misconceptions stem from beliefs such as it's too cold for solar energy in my area. On the other hand, some of these myths stem from truths that have been misinterpreted by placing too much emphasis on unimportant factors, such as solar power being highly inefficient.
Myth #1 – Solar Energy is Very Costly
Even though solar energy was quite costly 10 to 15 years ago, this is no longer true. The cost of installing solar panels has dropped significantly in the past few decades, making it affordable for several homeowners. Depending on the location, most residential solar energy systems offer a payback of 5 to 10 years from electricity bill savings. However, the life of a solar system is around three decades. This means that homeowners who invest in solar energy can enjoy several years of electricity without really paying anything.
In areas with relatively higher electricity costs, solar energy systems pay for themselves more quickly in the form of savings. On the other hand, in areas with lower electricity costs, savings are usually smaller. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California have some of the highest electricity rates, whereas Louisiana, Washington, and Idaho have some of the lowest.
In addition, the US government presently offers a 26% tax credit for solar PV, solar thermal, and wind systems. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes owed to the federal government. Thus, a $10,000 solar system would have a tax credit of $2,600. You can speak to a tax specialist to see if you can benefit from this incentive. Moreover, there are rebates available in certain areas, but the specifics depend on the location.
Myth #2 – Solar Panels Only Work When Its Sunny
A common idea in solar mythology is that solar energy systems only work when the sun is out. However, the truth is that the sun's ultraviolet rays are all that solar panels need to produce energy. Solar panels can capture a lot of sunlight, even on overcast and foggy days, as the UV rays still manage to shine through.
You might be surprised by it, but solar panels are actually more efficient at relatively lower temperatures than higher ones. For instance, Germany isn't a popular destination for sun-lovers. However, back in June 2014, more than half of the country's electricity requirements were met by 23.1 gigawatts of solar energy – which was 50% of the whole world's population at the time.
Myth #3 – Solar Panels Have a Low Efficiency
Another solar misconception believes in is that solar panels work with an efficiency of around 20%, and you might wonder why it isn't 100%. Well, the truth is that solar panels will reflect some sunlight or convert it into heat energy rather than electricity. Solar cell materials also cannot absorb all the rays that are present in sunlight, like infrared light. The highest efficiency for a solar cell at room temperature is 39%. However, these solar cells are too costly to be cost-efficient in generating solar power for homes.
The truth is that the sun generates a lot of energy. In fact, the sunlight the Earth receives in just 90 minutes has more energy than the entire world uses in a whole year. Thanks to this massive supply of energy, commercially available solar panels offer sufficient power to meet your home's requirements at a rate that's equal to or below the electricity supplied by the grid in most parts of the US.
Myth #4 – Solar Panels are Difficult to Install and Maintain
Installing solar panels is fairly straightforward as long as you're using a dependable manufacturer. Moreover, solar panels don't require a lot of maintenance. All you have to do is clean them with water to get rid of any snow, debris, or dust that has accumulated on them.
Solar panels are built in a manner that enables them to withstand harsh weather, including sleet, hail, etc.
Note – Battery-based solar energy systems require more cleaning than non-battery-based systems. However, solar energy systems without batteries are more common and cheaper than those with batteries.
Myth #5 – Solar Energy Systems Are Going to Store Excess Energy on Sunny Days
Solar systems without batteries cannot store energy. Fortunately, utility customers in most areas can benefit from net metering. This means that the utility company is going to credit an account for excess power that they supply to the grid.
For instance, on sunny days, solar energy systems will usually generate surplus energy. The solar panels will first power the house, and then any excess is going to go to the utility grid. If you need power from the grid after the sun sets, you can use the solar credits to offset the cost of the power.
Myth #6 – You Cannot Use Solar Energy If You Don't Own a House
If you live in a rented house or an apartment, you can sign up for a solar community program to benefit from solar power. These programs allow residents to benefit from a shared, single solar array. You can install these arrays off-site or in your building.
Purchasing and installation costs of the solar power system are then split amongst all the residents. Then all the residents can purchase from the shared system at a level that best meets their budget.
Portable solar panels and solar generator is another great option for people who don't own a house or live in an RV. These solar energy systems are easy to carry around and provide power for several hours. At BLUETTI USA, we have a range of portable solar generator kits to help you access solar energy in a simple and convenient manner.
Myth #7 – Batteries Are Extremely Costly to Make Solar a Feasible Option
This is another common solar myth that generally comes from people who don't know that a vast majority of solar photovoltaic systems don't require batteries. Unless you really need or want backup energy, batteries aren't recommended or required for grid-connected solar arrays.
In some cases where you do need batteries, such as for RV or off-grid solar-powered homes, then incurring the cost of batteries is much better than not having any power.
If you don't wish to invest in a battery system, you can opt for a solar generator to supply electricity to your home or RV.
Myth #8 – Price of Solar Panels Depends on the Size of Your Home
Solar panels are designed to meet the particular needs of every homeowner. When calculating the cost of installing solar panels, you need to pay special attention to the slope and orientation of your house's roof. Additionally, you need to also look at the surrounding area of the roof to ensure that it's positioned in an area that offers sufficient access to sunlight and isn't obstructed by surrounding buildings or trees.
Myth #9 – Solar Panels Can Damage Your Roof
Solar panels don't damage your roof. Rather, they actually benefit the part of the roof they cover by preserving and protecting it. In the unlikely event that the roof beneath the solar panel gets damaged and requires repair, you can easily remove the panels as they aren't directly attached to the roof. Typically, if there are any gaps between the rooftop and the panels, you can use sealant to fill them in. Additionally, the mounts are secured using a metal covering to create an extra layer of protection.
Note – Always make sure your roof is free of damage before mounting solar panels on it.
Myth #10 – You Need a Special Insurance Policy to Cover Your Solar Energy System
Fortunately, most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for solar energy systems. This is because it's usually seen as a permanent improvement on a house, just like a porch. However, it's important to make sure that coverage on the policy is high enough to cover the cost of the solar system. If the coverage limits are too low, it won't adequately cover the installation.
Moreover, it's important for you to confirm that a solar system is protected in your particular policy by reviewing the terms of the insurance policy or speaking to an insurance agent.
Myth #11 – Solar Panels Will Supply Power During a Grid Outage
Sadly, a lot of solar-powered homes don't have power during a grid outage unless they have batteries to store energy. By design, solar systems automatically turn off production during a power outage to protect utility company workers. Nevertheless, if you have a battery bank, your house is still going to have power.
A lot of grid-connected solar systems with batteries have a critical load panel. This enables homeowners to select which circuits have power during a power outage. Generally, homeowners prioritize loads that prevent incurring loss first.
Myth #12 – Solar Panels Can Cut Down the Cost of Electricity
You will definitely enjoy major savings when you invest in solar panels. However, the amount of money you actually save depends on your power consumption. If you don't have a battery system and are running a lot of heavy appliances at night, your solar power won't power those appliances.
You can make some small habit changes to get the maximum benefit from your solar panels. For instance –
- Do your laundry during the day when your solar panels are getting the highest amount of sunlight.
- Use a slow cooker for cooking dinner during the day.
- Use minimum energy after sunset.
- Charge your laptops, phones, and other devices during the day.
Last Few Words
If the wrong information has held you back from the incredible benefits of solar power – we hope this article showed you the light. And now you can make a real educated decision on getting the solar power products that’ll serve you best. Feel free to contact our customer care team at Bluetti to get answers to your questions. We’re happy to hear from you.