Top 10 Solar Myths, Debunked

by Anna Gretz
January 29, 2016

Here’s it is, folks: every myth you’ve heard about solar, debunked in one blog post.

Solar gets a bad rap, mostly because people haven’t taken the time to get to know it. Well, we’ve got you covered. Readers, this is solar, your new best friend.

Here’s the truth about all the solar gossip you’ve heard. Get ready for your mind to be blown.

1 . Solar is always too expensive. False.

We’re not saying installing solar panels is cheap, but there’s a lot of money available for households looking to install solar panels. You heard us right: free money. One big incentive just got extended: the solar investment tax credit, or ITC. The ITC refunds up to 30% of the upfront costs of installing solar in your home. Depending on where you live, there could be other funds you can take advantage of, if you know where to look.

Solar can also save you some major cash after installation, particularly if you have an energy storage system, like a home battery. But wait, won’t that cost even more? Not as much as you might think, especially if you live in California. The Self Generation Incentive Program (or SGIP) in California pays homeowners to deck out their house with energy storage systems. We’re not talking about a few extra pennies, either. The SGIP pays energy storage users over a dollar per watt. That’s right: battery owners get blackout protection, low utility bills… and they get paid. What’s not to love?

2 . Solar is ugly. False.

Hey, that’s offensive! Though you may have seen some solar panels in the past that walk the line between unattractive and eyesore, solar panels are becoming more and more aesthetically pleasing, and some installations on flat roofs can’t even be seen from the ground. As solar grows in popularity, and clean, renewable energy becomes more attractive, the appearance of solar panels are changing in the eye of the beholder. Many people are drawn to structures with solar because of what they represent: a forward-thinking, clean-energy using lifestyle… and reliable, free energy.

On top of that, home battery designs are even sleeker than ever. The latest releases in home batteries are beautiful, wall-mounted, indoor/outdoor systems that can give any home an air of power smart tech-saviness, all while storing the energy generated from solar panels. Solar and home batteries are the new it couple.

3 . Solar panels have to be installed on a roof facing south. False.

Sure, you can install solar panels on your roof, and they can be facing south, but that’s not your only option. Solar installations panel can be spotted on the sides of buildings, on the ground, or even as a canopy with convenient shade-provision capabilities. Though the southern-facing solar panel is in an optimal position for solar absorption when you’re living north of the equator, there’s more than one way to soak up the sun. Some solar panels are set up to track sunlight from east to west as it moves across the sky during the day. Everything depends on what you need as a solar customer.

Home batteries? They’re even more flexible. Your energy storage system is happy to hang out in the garage, so it can work hard out of sight, but be accessible for you if you ever need to check in on it. Or have coffee with it. Home batteries are great company.

4 . Solar only works in warm, sunny places. False.

Not even close! Solar owners in the northern United States have had great success generating electricity with solar panels clouds and cold. Solar power doesn’t discriminate: it cranks out electricity in the cold upstate New York, and sunny southern California. Some solar panels even up their performance in cooler climates, like polycrystalline designs. Monocrystalline solar panels prefer the warmer weather.

As for clouds, think back to that time you forgot to put on sunscreen on a cloudy day. You got burned, right? That’s because UV rays are still hitting your skin, even when it’s cloudy. They’re still hitting solar panels, too, and solar panels are turning this sunlight right into electricity. Some solar panels have really impressive efficiency in ambient sunlight, like cloudy days.

Thanks to new lithium-ion battery technology, energy storage systems like home batteries are killing it through the cold, too. Though older, lead acid batteries had a hard time in cold weather, lithium-ion batteries are hardly affected.

5 . Solar isn’t for renters. False.

Welcome to the age of community solar. Let’s say you’re a renter, or the owner of a home without a solar-friendly roof. You’re probably feeling left out of the solar panel boom that’s sweeping across the globe. That’s why people are finding ways to collaborate with their communities to launch collaborative solar panel projects that can benefit more than just one individual housing unit. Many are predicting that 2016 will be a big year for “community solar,” and that we’ll be seeing a huge increase of people getting together with their neighbors, and getting into renewable energy.

Community solar is great, but community energy storage is even better. By using energy storage, like home batteries, those who are in on community solar projects can minimize their dependence on the power grid, or cut ties and break free from the grid entirely.

6 . Solar hurts the economy. False.

That’s crazy talk. No, literally. The solar industry is employing over 100,000 Americans, and it’s one of the fastest growing industries in the country. A few years ago, the number of solar industry employees surpassed the number of actors in California. The energy storage industry is going the same route. As both of these industries grow, they are giving the US economy a huge boost. By installing solar panels and a home battery, you are supporting an industry that is growing the economy in a huge way.

7 . Solar will make it hard to sell your house. False.

We don’t know where you heard this one, but it’s dead wrong. In fact, the National Lawrence Berkeley Lab took a long, eight-year look at this, and found that having solar panels actually helps you sell your house. The study showed that solar-powered homes sold for a premium over homes with exclusively grid-connected power sources. Prospective homebuyers say that energy costs are a big priority in their decision to buy a home. Not only that, but people are always looking for well-maintained roofs. If you have solar panels installed, your roof is protected from a lot of wear-and-tear.

Home battery systems just sweeten the deal. Anyone looking for an efficient home with reliable power should keep their eyes out for an energy storage system. Home batteries provide clean, cheap energy whenever you need it, even when the grid goes out.

8 . Solar doesn’t work in bad weather. False.

We already covered the whole cloudy-day debacle above, but do solar panels work through the rain and snow? What about fog? Yes and yes and yes. Though solar panels are a bit less efficient during rainy or foggy conditions, as to be expected, wherever there’s sunlight, even if it’s not direct, solar panels are soaking it up. Solar panels also retain heat really well, so snow melts off of solar panels faster than you might think. When it comes to bad weather, your solar panels are probably tougher than you are.

When it comes to bad weather, home batteries can’t be bothered, either, especially because most of them are installed inside. During bad weather, both you and your home battery can hunker down inside (remember that cup of coffee we were talking about?)

9 . Solar will get cheaper, so it’s better to wait. False.

The time to install solar panels is now. Even though the price of installing solar may decline over the years, it’s not a good idea to wait. Every month you go without installing solar, you miss out on huge savings on your electricity bill. If you weigh the costs of the initial cost of installation, and factor in the current incentives available, waiting could mean that you miss out on a lot of free money.

The same goes for home batteries. Programs like the SGIP mentioned above are not going to be around forever. If you’re thinking about going solar and getting the huge advantages of energy storage, the time is definitely now.

10 . Solar technology will keep improving, so it’s better to wait. False.

Listen, folks: solar technology is already really, really awesome. And though solar’s popularity has recently seen a huge boom, it’s not new technology. Solar has already been around for more than 100 years -- more than enough time to work out a the kinks. Big advances in the efficiency of solar panels have happened in the past few years, so there’s really never been a better time to invest in solar.

Home batteries? Same story. If you’re installing solar, a home battery is a must. Without energy storage, solar customers are missing out on cheap night-time power, blackout protection, and more.

And there you have it.

Hopefully, we’ve cleared away all the dirt you’ve heard on solar, but if you have more questions, feel free to hit us up. We’ve got a thing for home batteries, and there’s nothing we love more than talking up the awesome advantages of solar energy storage.