The U.S solar industry continues to break records, posting 70 percent growth year-over-year in the residential sector, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
In the first quarter of 2017, 2,044 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) were installed, enough to power 8.7 million average American homes. Yet myths about solar energy still persist.
We separate fact from fiction below…
Myth #1: Solar Panels Don’t Work When It’s Cloudy or Snowy
It’s true that solar panels work most efficiently when they receive direct sunlight. However, they still produce power on cloudy, rainy, and overcast days. Research suggests that on a cloudy day, the amount of power produced can drop by around 75 percent, depending on the thickness of the clouds and type of panel.
Solar panels will not produce power if they’re covered by snow, but since panels are angled, snow easily slides off, so this is unlikely to be a problem most of the time. Solar panels are also positioned to draw the most sun, so after heavy snowfalls, any snow covering your panels will melt quickly so you can start producing power again.
While clouds and snow can hamper solar panels’ power-generating potential, they don’t need to stop their operation completely. You should also remember that cloudy and snowy days come and go, so their overall impact on your solar panels’ performance is likely to be small.
Myth #2: Getting Solar Panels is Very Expensive
Installing solar panels on your home is probably more affordable than you think. A few years ago, solar panels cost five times as much as they do today. Installation costs are also cheaper, as new methods have slashed installation time from a couple of days to just hours.
Many solar energy companies will install your solar panels without any upfront costs at all. A report from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center has found that paying off a fully-financed solar PV system is more affordable than paying traditional energy bills in 42 of America’s 50 largest cities.
Generous federal and state incentives make installing solar even more affordable.
Myth #3: Switching to Solar Energy is Complicated
Switching to solar energy is actually a very simple process. After you request a quote on solar energy, most solar companies will give you a free in-person consultation. During this no-obligation chat you’ll learn more about the solar panels, the installation process, and financing options. The solar consultant will also happily answer any questions about solar energy you might have.
Your solar company won’t just take care of the installation; they’ll also usually manage the permits, inspections, and any other paperwork you need. Once your utility company gives its approval, you only need to flip the switch to begin generating your own clean, green solar energy.
Myth #4: Solar Panels Will Make it Harder to Resell My Home
Numerous reports show the opposite is true. A study from Berkeley Lab found that buyers across America will pay an average of $15,000 more for the average home with solar power. In California, a home with a new 5-kilowatt system can expect to fetch almost $40,000 more than a comparable home without solar power. The Department of Energy has also found that homes with solar panels sell faster, at twice the rate of conventional homes. Clearly, energy-efficient measures are on the minds of property purchasers, and solar panels can make your home more attractive to them, not less.
Myth #5: Solar Energy is a Fad
While solar energy is still fairly new to the residential market, key organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States military, and leading telecommunications and oil firms have relied on solar power for decades. These important groups use solar because it’s so dependable and inexpensive in the long term. While American homeowners have been slow to understand solar energy’s potential, rapid long-term growth in the residential sector means it’s unlikely to be a short-term craze.
Myths about solar energy abound, but when you do your research you’ll see that installing solar power is an excellent option for nearly any home in the United States.