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Top 4 Solar Myths De-Bunked

Sep 30, 2015

MYTH #1: Solar panels require more energy to manufacture than they produce in their lifetime.

FACT: A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory determined that the manufacturing energy cost of panels can be paid off in less than 4 years of energy production, and solar modules can produce clean energy for 30 years or more.

MYTH #2: Solar energy is too expensive.

FACT: The price of PV systems has decreased every year for the last 20 years by an average of 5 percent. Solar PV is becoming more affordable, as opposed to oil, gas and coal, which are becoming more expensive and less available since they are non-renewable sources of energy. Solar PV panels also operate well at peak demand for electricity, when fossil fuel sources of electricity are in greatest demand and are at their most expensive.

A well designed and installed solar PV system can provide a rate of return of 12 to 15% per year. As electricity costs rise, so does this investment value. Furthermore, solar energy systems add property value.

MYTH #3: My solar panels are useless in winter.

FACT:  Solar panels produce power based on the amount of sunlight the panels are exposed to, regardless of the season. In fact, you might be surprised to know that solar PV panels are more effective in cooler temperatures as opposed to hot temperatures. Panels are less effective if they are covered in snow of course, and should be swept if build up occurs.

Rooftop solar panels in mild and foggy San Francisco produce only one percent less electricity than rooftop solar panels in sunny and hot Sacramento.

Photo Credit: Nautilis: Science Connected

MYTH #4: Solar panels require too much maintenance.

FACT: Solar panels have no moving parts, so they do not need constant maintenance. A common recommendation is to hose off the panels about once per year, but many panel owners take advantage of the rain to wash the panels. Furthermore, build-up on the panels will usually only result in approximately 5 percent reduction in efficiency. However, if any large debris falls onto the panels, this should be removed. Many solar systems have monitoring software that will pinpoint any reductions in power generation right away.