We searched the internet high and low for the myths and misinformation about solar panels so that we could debunk them for you. And without further ado, we present… the top 15 solar panel myths, debunked.
- Solar panels won’t work in high temperatures
- Solar panels will work during a blackout
- Solar energy will increase the cost of electricity for others
- Solar panels will not pay for themselves
- Solar panels are bad for the environment
- Solar doesn’t work in certain climates
- Going solar is too expensive
- Solar panels require a lot of maintenance
- Solar panels can harm your roof
- Adding solar panels to my home will affect its resale or rental value
- Only some states offer solar incentives
- You won’t have energy at night with solar panels
- Solar panels are unsightly
- Solar panels are loud
- Solar power will get more efficient, so I should wait to buy or install
Let’s dive right in.
#1. Solar panels won’t work in high temperature
This is absolutely a myth.
Solar panels will work in any temperature and any climate. However, the truth is that solar panel efficiency could be reduced in very high temperatures. Solar panels are tested at a temperature of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so heat can reduce output efficiency by 10-25%!
This is why it’s extremely important to consider the brand of solar panels you’re using for your home energy needs. When you make the investment of solar energy, you want to make sure to get the most out of it, which means being able to produce the most amount of power during those peak hours of sunlight. Consider a brand that has solar panels designed to perform in hot weather. We chose our solar panel providers based on the efficiency of the panels in hotter climates.
#2. Solar panels will work during a blackout
Having only solar panels means you will not have power during a total blackout. This is because your panels need to be connected to your power utility grid.
However… you will have power during a blackout if you have solar panels plus a solar battery backup.
So then, why do I need to be connected to the grid?
Being connected to the grid means that your utility company will provide power to your home during the night, for those customers without a solar battery backup. For customers who have a solar battery, being connected to the grid has its advantages. One of those advantages includes net metering, a program in which your utility company will actually pay you (in the form of credits to your bill) for extra energy your panels produce. How great is that! Read more about net metering here.
Therefore, when a blackout happens in your neighborhood, having solar panels alone will not protect you from the dark. Your solar energy system is required to turn off due to the safety of the linemen working on the downed power lines.
There’s only one thing that will protect you from blackouts, and that is: a solar battery backup, like the Enphase Encharge or Tesla Powerwall!
Not only will your lights stay on, but your battery will also be notified when the National Weather Service announces an upcoming storm. This allows your solar system to prioritize backup power, so you’ll be sure to have power no matter what.
#3. Solar energy will increase the cost of electricity for others
This is a myth.
Those concerned about solar energy increasing the cost of electricity for others are afraid that the increased use of alternative energy will make fossil fuel energy (the kind that is currently being used the most) in less demand, and therefore, more expensive.
First of all, fossil fuel energy is set to skyrocket in price no matter what. This is because the resources of fossil fuel energy are becoming scarce, because they are non-renewable. Using renewable sources, like solar energy, are the only way to keep our power affordable in the future, as well as keeping the lights turned on when old fossil fuel energy starts to disappear completely.
Alternative energy is the future of power: it is not the cause of electricity prices rising as they’ve done for the past 10 years. In fact, residential electricity costs are projected to rise between 1.2% and 2.8% in 2021; continuing a decade-long streak in climbing prices for electricity.
And make sure you jump on the alternative energy train soon, while the federal incentive as well as an abundance of state incentives are available.
#4. Solar panels will not pay for themselves
While how long it takes for solar panels to pay for themselves, the average payback period for solar panels is 3-6 years. The average life of solar panels is 20+ years. A typical homeowner will see a reduction on their electricity bill within a month after their panels are turned on. The math on when your panels will pay for themselves is different for everyone, depending on how much your electric bills are, how much energy your home consumes, and how many panels you have installed, among other factors. A trained solar energy specialist will help you calculate your potential savings and the time period for when your panels will pay for themselves.
In addition, we have an internal power production guarantee for 25 years. That means you’re covered for 25 years, most likely well after your panels have already paid for themselves.
#5. Solar panels are bad for the environment
There’s a few frequently asked questions surrounding this idea. Including: “can solar panels be recycled?” and “are solar panels toxic?”
Let’s start off with: no, solar panels are not bad for the environment.
They are also not toxic. And what’s even better, is they can be recycled after their very long lifespan. Let’s take a deeper look at this.
First rumor: solar panels are toxic. This is completely untrue. Solar panels will not leak and they will not do damage to you or your home. They will also not emit any radiation harmful to humans or the environment. Not like that fossil fuel energy you’ve been using.
In fact, solar panels are the only form of electricity generation that has no moving parts.
Solar panels are made from silicon, metal, and glass which takes the sun’s energy and creates a reaction to create photons (light energy particles) which then sends it to be converted to electricity for your home. That’s it.
But what about the pollution they cause after their lifespan is over?
The good thing is that solar panels are built to last for 25 years or more. In fact, we’re so confident about that, we have a 25 year power production guarantee. And when your panels eventually stop working, they can be recycled with around 80-100% efficiency since the silicon, metal and glass can be processed and re-purposed. There are already dozens of solar panel recycling facilities out there!
The last piece to this myth is that the solar panel manufacturing process is environmentally unfriendly. This is not just a rumor. Solar panels are complex and large, which means it takes a substantial amount of energy to produce them. However, we would like to counter this argument with this piece of data: NREL, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, has estimated the “energy payback” of rooftop solar systems to be 1-4 years. Therefore, solar panels will generate up to 25 times of the energy that was lost in their manufacturing process.
This is in comparison to traditional coal sources which emits around 800g of CO2 in its lifetime, while solar is just 5g, including the hefty manufacturing process.
#6. Solar doesn’t work in certain climates
Again, there are a few rumors to address with this one. This includes: “solar panels don’t work in the winter” and “solar panels won’t work on a cloudy day“.
You might be surprised to know that solar panels actually do work on cloudy days, as well as in the winter. In fact, solar panels work better in cooler temperatures than in hotter temperatures, so as long as the panels can capture some sunlight (even through clouds!), they’ll be generating power for your home. The efficiency for your particular solar panels may be reduced during cloudy days, but you might not even see a difference, depending on how much energy your home uses during the day. To accurately predict this, it’s best to consult with a professional to consider all the factors including weather patterns for your particular area. Another important thing to consider is the brand of solar panels you’re purchasing. High quality solar panels are made for high efficiency in all weather and are made to withstand the elements.
This also means that solar does work in all climates, but it depends on what your home energy needs and goals are.
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#7. Going solar is too expensive
And the even better rumor of: “solar is only for rich people“. Both of these are false.
Solar is not just for rich people! Going solar can be affordable, especially when you consider how much you’re paying for your electric bill, each month, every month, well… forever. Your solar panels will give you a return on your investment, even if you paid with a loan. This is because at some point, you’ll have no more payments on your system and the solar energy you produce for your home will be completely free. How freeing is that? Say so long to your electric company! (Well, not really, because when you’re connected to the grid with solar panels, your electric company becomes your “customer” and buys the energy you produced from you!)
#8. Solar panels require a lot of maintenance
In fact, solar panels require zero maintenance. Every once in a while some homeowners like to hose them down from debris or squeegee them, but because solar panels are installed at an angle, when the rain comes, they will naturally be cleaned off. When it snows, solar panels will give off heat when active. This helps melt the snow from the bottom up.
Because most solar panels are installed at an angle, when the bottom layer of snow melts, the panels get slippery and the snow slides or “sluffs” off.
#9. Solar panels can harm your roof
Solar panels will not ruin your roof, unless you have a bad installation process. This is why it is vitally important to get your panels installed by professionals, as well as professionals that understand roofs. The first thing to look at when choosing an installer is to check out reviews of the installation process. You can check out our reviews here… or by going to Google reviews. The next thing to look for is a solar panel company that also knows about roofs. In other words, they have been adept at handling roofs for years, like ADT Solar and our sister company, Buildpro.
#10. Adding solar panels to my home will affect its resale or rental value
Another rumor related to this is: “solar will lower the value of your home“.
Adding solar panels to your home will definitely affect its resale value because any home upgrade will increase its value. Therefore, the idea that solar will actually lower the value of your home is a myth.
The amount that your home’s resale value differs depending on the type of home you have, the size of your system installed, and what area you live in.
Homes that have solar panels installed are a great selling point when it comes to putting your house on the market. Here’s some of the research to back up this claim.
In 2015 the Department of Energy and Berkeley Laboratory conducted a study and their findings were pretty amazing.
They analyzed nearly 4,000 homes with solar panels.The study was conducted in 8 different states. They found that buyers are willing to pay an extra $12,000 to $15,000 for a home with just an average sized solar array. If you had a larger array, you may even be able to get more than that.
On average, solar panels add $20 of value for every $1 you save on your electric bill. So if you saved $200 a month on your electric bill with solar panels, you’d have an additional $4,000 of value added to your home.
According to a comprehensive report done by the US Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), they found that:
Each additional $1 in utility bill savings from your solar installation can add a whopping $20 to your home value. Homes with solar arrays sold 20% faster, and for 17% more.
And yet another rumor related to this is: “I won’t live in my home long enough to make my investment in solar back“. Whether you should get solar panels installed on your home, even if you’re about to move, is dependent on many factors that should be discussed with a Solar Sales Specialist. Together, you will be able to determine whether it makes sense to go solar for your situation and home energy needs.
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#11. Only some states offer solar incentives
Not a myth! There are many solar incentives out there, from the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) to state tax breaks, to sales tax breaks, rebates and more. This all depends on where you live, though. Only the Federal incentive is available in every state. It’s best to speak with a professional Solar Sales Specialist to find out all the incentives available to you for going solar.
#12. You won’t have energy at night
Well.. this is only partly a myth. Without a solar panel battery, you will not be able to power your home with just solar panels. You will still be connected to the grid; however, so you will definitely have power at night.
While you won’t be able to power your home at night with just your solar panels, adding a solar battery backup, like the Enphase Encharge, will allow you to power your home through the night with solar panels. It will also help during grid failures, power outages and natural disasters.
#13. Solar panels are unsightly
This used to be true, but not anymore! Some people don’t like the look of solar panels on their home. The old style, that is. Solar panel technology has gotten sleeker, and now we have options, like the Silfab Prime solar panels. They are designed with aesthetics in mind, using thinner wires that appear all black at a distance.
#14. Solar panels are loud
Myth: solar panels are not loud at all! They make zero noise while they’re producing solar energy and transfer it quietly throughout your home. Even with a solar battery backup, like the Enphase Encharge, the switch to battery backup power is seamless during an outage and is whisper quiet. This is in stark contrast to those noisy generators your neighbor is using during an outage.
#15. Solar power will get more efficient, so I should wait to buy or install
Solar panel technology is so much more advanced than it used to be, and it will continue to improve. However, if you wait, you’ll miss out on all the great incentives that are out there right now for going solar, and will not last! Especially the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC), which is offered through the federal government and provides a 30% tax credit.*
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*Tax and credits or incentives including those provided by federal, state, or local governments may change or end. This can impact the amount of money you might save. Consult a tax professional to understand any tax liability or eligibility for any tax credits that may result from the purchase of your solar system.
**If you have taxable income and own the system, you may qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC). It is your responsibility to determine your eligibility and to apply. Consult a qualified tax professional for assistance and details.