Debunking 11 Common Solar Myths
July 6, 2023
Misinformation (even disinformation) is everywhere. Whether you’ve run across your cousin’s questionable Facebook post or a dubious “news” article, you’ve probably spotted solar myths.
They might come from excitement about alternative energy’s many possibilities. Maybe they spring from the fear of green technologies. Or your standard solar myth could be the result of old-fashioned stubbornness.
Regardless, myths about solar panels and myths about solar energy abound.
To clear up the confusion, let’s look at — and debunk — 11 widespread solar myths.
[Related: Tips To Save on Energy Costs]
Clearing the Air: Myths About Solar Panels and Solar Energy
Some solar myths might seem credible on the surface, while others are clearly hogwash. In our time as professional solar panel installers, here are common myths about solar energy we’ve heard (and beg customers to ignore).
1. Solar Panels Are Too Expensive for Most People
This solar myth might be a relic of the ’70s, when photovoltaic (PV) tech was fairly new on the residential market. As a matter of fact, the cost of solar panels has been — and continues to — decline drastically. Nowadays, solar panels are both affordable and provide short- and long-term financial benefits.
Currently, the average cost of a home solar installation in the U.S. is $20,000. When you factor in financing, rebates and incentives, your solar cost-saving goals are well within reach! Additionally, the right solar installation company will help its customers find the best financing options.
2. You Can’t Recycle Solar Panels
Solar panel myths wouldn’t be complete without this old chestnut. You absolutely can recycle solar panels. However, doing so isn’t quite as easy as recycling conventional materials because of panels’ multiple components.
Sending out-of-commission panels to organizations like First Solar, Recycle PV and We Recycle Solar is a simple solution. They ensure panels undergo safe, environmentally sound recycling. Even better, you can repurpose old solar panels for other uses, like powering camping gear and small electronics!
As an aside, you shouldn’t have to worry about recycling solar panels often. They’re both highly durable and long-lasting, with an average life span of 25 to 30 years.
Note: If you’d like further proof, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a comprehensive breakdown of solar panel recycling. So, yes — you can definitely recycle solar panels. Additionally, SunPower solar panels, which Freedom Solar offers, follow the strictest of quality standards for recycling.
3. Solar Installations Emit Harmful Electromagnetic Radiation
You might want to don your tinfoil hat for this solar myth.
It’s true that solar panel installations emit low-level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and electromagnetic fields (EMF). Then again, so do your TV, your smartphone and any other device that uses electricity. The World Health Organization states exposure to weak EMR/EMF does not cause cancer or other illnesses.
In fact, solar installations offset harmful pollutants from other power sources (like fossil fuels) by generating clean, alternative energy. Going solar is thus more likely to decrease the population’s risk of developing diseases, such as lung cancer.
4. Solar Panels Don’t Work When It’s Cloudy, Rainy or Cold
Of all solar myths, this one is incredibly widespread — and incredibly false. However, it’s true that solar PV cells absorb and produce more energy when the sun’s bright.
But as long as the sun is shining, solar panels soak up some UV light and convert it to energy. That goes for when it’s cloudy, rainy and/or cold. And the more efficient your solar panels are, the more energy they’ll produce.
[Related: Solar Panel Placement: A Handy Guide]
5. The Government Will Give You Free Solar Panels
This solar myth sounds enticing, but it’s exactly that: a myth. The government doesn’t hand out free solar panels, period.
However, the government does offer incredibly valuable rebates and incentives. For example, the federal solar investment tax credit lets you subsidize panel and installation costs with a 30% credit. That’s no paltry percentage for homeowners and business owners!
[Related: Are Solar Panels Worth It?]
6. Solar Panel Installations Hurt Your Roof
Really, this solar myth boils down to misunderstanding the process. It’s true that roof-mounted solar installations require professional solar installers to drill holes for lag bolts before they add flashings and sealant.
However, these measures prevent damage rather than cause it — unless you consider the drill holes themselves permanent harm (but realistically, they’re not). When professionals take care of a solar installation, the panel mount wards off roof damage.
The key word is “professionals.” If you try to install solar panels solo (that is, DIY solar), you may very well end up damaging your roof. But if you work with an experienced solar installation company, you’ll have no worries — and a warranty.
Note: Freedom Solar offers a 25-year lifetime warranty that covers solar products, performance and workmanship to ensure you’re covered.
[Related: How Solar Panels Affect Home Insurance]
7. Solar Panels Decrease Your Property’s Resale Value
It makes sense that many solar panel myths touch on finances, considering they’re (understandably) foremost in folks’ minds.
But solar panels definitely don’t decrease your property’s resale value — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Solar panels increase your home’s resale value. According to Zillow, homes and businesses with solar panel installations sell for 4.1% more than those without. That’s nearly $9,300 on average!
8. Solar Panels Can’t Meet Your Property’s Full Electricity Needs
Of these solar myths, this one may be another leftover from when solar tech was expensive and still evolving. Modern solar panel technology is incredibly efficient and fully capable of powering your home or business.
For example, a professional home installation with 21-34 SunPower solar panels can easily cover your total electricity needs. And with a home battery backup, like a SunPower SunVault or a Tesla Powerwall, you can keep the electricity running after sundown!
You may even produce extra energy, which goes to the grid and gives you the option of net metering in some states.
[Related: Where To Install Solar Panels]
9. Your HOA Won’t Allow You To Install Solar Panels
With about 53% of U.S. households belonging to homeowners associations (HOAs), it’s inevitable that this solar myth would arise.
But here are the facts: Your HOA cannot legally stop you from installing solar panels. However, it can place regulations on the installation’s placement and appearance beforehand. You also have to get your HOA’s approval, and HOA regulations differ by state.
The process may be frustrating — depending on your association — but you can install solar panels when you belong to an HOA.
[Related: What To Know Before Installing Solar Panels]
10. Having Solar Panels Means You Aren’t Connected to the Electric Grid
This is one of the most common and misleading solar myths.
Technically, you can go wholly off-grid with solar panels and batteries. Please be forewarned that it’s a rare and risky move that works best at highly remote sites. Using hybrid solar panels alongside batteries is far more reliable, and solar installers default to this combination.
With hybrid solar panels, you don’t rely totally on your panels or totally on the grid. (Of course, you garner the vast majority of your power from solar panels.)
It’s just a matter of practicality. Going solar doesn’t mean you’re immediately free of utility ties. But that’s not a bad thing, either — net metering perks are fantastic!
Note: At Freedom Solar, we do not install off-grid solar panel systems for homes or businesses. We want you to enjoy both energy independence as well as uninterrupted electricity. And you can have both when your hybrid panels and storage solution(s) work together.
11. It Doesn’t Matter Who Installs Your Solar Panels
Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
It seems like common sense that you’d want to enlist an experienced solar installation company. Still, some folks think any old installer — or heaven forbid, DIY solar — will do. But you certainly need a trusted, licensed solar installation company if you want quality work!
Plus, you’re likely to see all sorts of troubles when a company without mileage under its belt installs your panels. These gremlins could include faulty wiring, fire risk and roof damage. And if a solar installer claims to be the cheapest around, that’s a big red flag.
You know what they say. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (a recurring theme in solar myths).
Research solar installation companies in your area and check out their reviews. A premier company can save you tons of long-term headaches that turn into pricey migraines.
Note: Freedom Solar’s extensive experience, guaranteed quality and maintenance and repair services ensure your installation remains efficient. In case you’re curious, here’s our installation timeline so you know how meticulous we keep our process!
Don’t Fall for Solar Myths: Get the Facts With Freedom Solar
Our professional home solar installation and commercial installations, save you money, time and hassle. Concerned about your budget? We’ll find a payment plan that helps solar power meet your bottom line.
Plus, with our flexible pricing, most customers finance their installation with no money down and very low interest. You can also rest easy with our exceptional customer service and 25-year lifetime warranty.
Featured image via Pexels