8 Solar Myths: Debunked

by Shelley Frost
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The power of the sun is evident in everything, from that sunburn you got last summer to the fading on your patio furniture. Solar power lets you use that energy to your advantage and say goodbye to high utility bills.

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But solar energy also comes with a lot of myths and confusion. Check out these solar panel myths to get over your hesitation.

1. Solar Power Only Works in Particularly Sunny Regions

Optimal conditions for solar power are sunny and cool, but you can harness the power of the sun in virtually any type of weather. Even when it's cloudy, rainy or snowing, the sunlight can still reach your solar panels.

You can also use backup options for times when the sunlight isn't so bright. Conventional generators are an option, as is the grid if your home is connected to it. Special batteries can also store any excess energy the panels create during sunnier times.

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2. Solar Panels Don't Work During the Winter

Your panels can still collect energy during the winter months, especially on sunny days. Solar panels don't collect heat. They turn the light into energy, and heat can make that process less effective. That means a solar panel is more efficient in colder weather, so your panels might actually work better in the winter. Days are shorter in the winter, though, so you have fewer hours of sunlight to generate power. Having a battery system or backup from the grid or a generator can help you make up for that.

3. Solar Panels Are Prohibitively Expensive to Install

Solar panel installation is expensive — it averages $20,650 (CAD 28,057), with a typical range between $17,430 and $23,870 (CAD 23,682 and CAD 32,432), according to data from This Old House. However, a variety of financing options make it more affordable by spreading the cost over several years. Leasing is also an option. You'll also save money on power bills, potentially eliminating them completely if your panels can handle your entire energy demand. Plus, according to Zillow, solar panels increase home value by an average of 4.1%, so you could get more out of your home when you sell.

4. Solar Panels Will Damage Your Roof or Are Too Heavy for Your Roof

Reputable solar companies do a thorough inspection of your roof to ensure the structure can safely support the panels. If it's not up to the task, reinforcing the roof could be an option. The actual installation results in holes in the roof, but the installer should seal the holes, so they don't leak. Once installed, the panels create a bit of a barrier for the roof, potentially protecting it from weather elements.

Research your installer thoroughly before hiring them. Only work with reputable, licensed companies with extensive experience. Read through the workmanship warranty to ensure the installation is covered if something goes wrong.

5. Solar Panels Are Large, Ugly or Unsightly to Have on Your Property

It's often easy to spot solar panels from a distance, but you can choose colors and designs that blend with your roof. Over the years, solar panels have become less bulky and more attractive in appearance. There are different types of panels available with varying looks, so you can find one that appeals to you. Many of them are thinner than traditional panels, making them a little less noticeable.

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6. Switching to Solar Panels Means Going Off-Grid

Some people choose solar installations to go completely off the grid, but most people stay connected to traditional power sources. If your solar panels can't meet all your electrical needs, the grid is there to back them up, so you never have to worry about power outages. Staying connected to the grid lets you have the best of both worlds.

7. The Electric Company Will Pay You for Excess Power Generated

If you're planning to install a much larger system than you need in hopes of getting paid for the extra power, you'll likely be disappointed. Most utility companies don't cut homeowners a check for excess power that goes back into the grid, and some utility companies have restrictions to prevent homeowners from installing oversized systems.

Your best bet is net metering. If you generate more power than you use from the grid during a given month, you'll earn a credit that goes toward future bills. You might not get a fat check, but you can offset future costs to save money overall.

8. Only Homeowners Can Use Solar Power

You can't install a solar panel on a rental home or apartment building, but you still have some options. Some appliances, chargers and other electrical devices are available in solar-powered models. You can also get portable solar panels.

Another option is a community solar program. It uses a single off-site solar array. Subscribers then receive a credit on their utility bills based on the power generated.

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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