With solar becoming more popular, there is still a lot of misinformation circulating about it. Some of these myths are based in information from 10-20 years ago. After being in the solar installation business for 10 years now, we are going to talk about some of the most common solar myths we continue to hear from customers.
1.solar is unaffordable or only for the rich
Solar has become much more affordable over the last 10 years. Luckily for us, we live in Oregon. Politically, Oregon has historically been more open to solar and utility companies and groups have offered incentives for people to install solar. For instance, both the Energy Trust of Oregon and The City of Ashland offer incentive programs from $2000-$8400 off of the total price of your system. Solar Within Reach is a program targeted specifically for those below specific income levels. And, just announced- the Federal Tax Credit is staying at 26% for the year 2021 and 2022! If you are a non-profit business, there may even be more incentives available.
For example, an average residential system could cost $25,000. But after incentives and a tax credit, the cost could be as little as $11,520(less than half the price.) If you are unable to pay this expense out of pocket, there are also financing options available for solar systems. Some pay for themselves within a few years, and the life of our solar system could last up to 40 years. Think about how much money you can save over that time when you have a really small power bill or no power bill at all!
2. Solar Provides Electricity During a Blackout
Most solar systems in the US are grid-tied meaning that they have electric service from a utility company and that electricity is stored in the utility companies grid. Unless you install a battery backup system, along with solar, this energy has nowhere to be stored when the grid goes down. True South Solar does install Tesla Powerwall battery systems, so if your power goes out, you can continue to use electricity in your home. When using power from a battery supply, you do need to be more aware of your electric use because it tends to go faster than most people realize.
3. solar doesn’t work well in our weather
Yes, in order for PV panels to generate electricity, they require sunlight. Fortunately for us here in Southern Oregon, we get plenty of sunshine most of the year. But, what about rainy, cloudy, and cold days????? It’s a misconception that solar panels don’t work on bad weather days. While SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) does acknowledge that solar panels work best in direct sunlight, they point out that “Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power.” They also point out that rain can actually help solar panels operate more efficiently because rain washes away dust and dirt. And, colder weather actually makes PV panels more efficient.
What about those really short winter days and nite time, when there is absolutely no sunlight? Well, that’s where net metering comes in. When your system is producing more electricity than you are using, you get credited by the electric company and are using those credits towards energy consumption at nite or during poor weather. Here’s how it works-
Let’s say your solar panels provide 200 kWh of energy in a particular month. Here are three scenarios showing how energy is measured at the net meter:
- If you consumed 200 kWh in the month, the net meter would read 0 kWh.
- If you consumed 100 kWh in the month, the net meter would read -100 kWh (a credit to your account).
- If you consumed 500 kWh in the month, the net meter would read 300 kWh usage from your utility.
4. Solar panels wear out before they can be paid for
This myth is still believed because of where the solar industry was 5 or even 10 years ago. It is typical for a solar system to last at least 25 years now. The SunPower panels we use have a 25-year warranty, and can even last up to 40-years! Solar panels weather-resistant, and there is very little maintenance required to keep them running efficiently. It is now typical for a Solar PV system to be paid for within 10 years of installation. This means that after 10 years are up, you still have another 15 years of warranty and free electric power. Make a site survey visit with one of our knowledgeable solar advisors to see how investing in a solar system can work for you!