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Top 10 Myths About Solar Energy

Friday, October 14, 2016 ENERGY EFFICIENCYENERGY TIPS

Here are some of the top myths about solar energy that we put in the spotlight for you:

1. Solar panels cannot work in cloudy or foggy areas.

Since UV light is all that is needed, solar panels actually work just fine with only ambient light. Foggy, cloudy and overcast days can work just as well as direct sunlight. In fact, Germany ranks low in the amount of sunny days per year, but yet they are the solar energy capital of the world!

2. Solar panels are too expensive.

Solar systems have become greatly more affordable in recent years, and may even be subsidized on top of it with government incentives and rebates. As an added bonus, if your solar system is grid tied, through net metering, your excess energy will be fed into the grid, and the utility company will actually credit you for the energy. If you ever do need to use the grid energy, it is virtually free due to the credit.

3. Solar panels require constant maintenance.

Since there are no moving parts, your solar panels rarely require maintenance or cleaning, and actually have an average warranty of 25 years! It is generally recommended that you hose down your panels about once a year, but the rain typically cleans them for you. There are also monitors for solar panels so you can know right away if there are any dips in your efficiency, or any other issues that may warrant maintenance.

4. Solar panels are ugly, large and bulky.

Haven’t you heard? Solar is the new black! In many areas people proudly display their solar panels, but you like a more discrete look, there are now solar shingles, which are nearly seamless. The solar cells can be combined with slate, metal, fibre-cement and asphalt roofing. With the solar shingles, you can keep the traditional rooftop look while still harnessing the sun’s energy.

5. Few areas offer incentives and rebates.

In America, 48 states have a solar/renewable energy incentive on top of the 30% federal tax credit. In Canada, there are many incentives offered at various levels in the government, as well as from non-profit agencies and many other associations.

6. Solar panels cannot withstand harsh climates, such as snow.

Solar panels are actually more efficient and better conduct electricity when they are cold. The University of Vermont, who receives considerable snowfall, has proved their solar system to be effective and virtually maintenance-free, even in the snow! The dark colour of the solar panels aid in melting the snow, and the usual south-facing position quickens the process.

7. Solar energy is unreliable and inconsistent.

On the contrary, solar energy can be more reliable than the utility companies since there are no moving parts and is not subject to power outages. Solar energy is even used to power many vital systems, such as aircraft warning lights, railroad crossings and navigational buoys.

8. Solar panels require southern roof exposure.

If you do not have a South-facing roof, East and West are also effective for photovoltaic systems. Another option would be to use a ground-mounted system. For this you only need a relatively flat and unshaded area. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you could always incorporate this onto your shed or dog house!

9. Solar panels are inefficient.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, solar panel efficiency has more than quadrupled since the 1970s. Solar energy sits in the 15-19% efficiency range, which is about the same as the gas in your car. However, unlike gas, technology is continuously improving, and therefore efficiency along with it.

10. I will not be living in this house long enough to make my investment back.

On average, solar panels return 2-4 times their cost in saved electricity bills, if not more! If you’re planning on eventually moving, not only will you be saving immediately on your monthly electricity bill, but your solar system will actually increase the value of your home as well. According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, for every $1000 that has been saved in annual electric costs, your home’s value rises $20 000.

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