Though solar power has been around for almost 200 years ago, commercially viable solar panels only emerged in the last decade.
So, it’s not surprising to see a lot of misconceptions still floating around.
A recent survey by one of the world's top solar software developers, Aurora Solar, identified four pervasive myths about solar power in desperate need of busting.
34% falsely believe that solar panels are less efficient in the winter
Believe it or not, the opposite is true.
Solar panels are basically just giant semiconductors. And just like your computer and other electronic devices, their efficiency actually increases as the temperature drops.
Most manufacturers also test their panels to ensure that they'll function properly when subjected to severe weather like hail or heavy snow.
21% falsely believed that solar panels require a lot of maintenance
Once again, reality is the exact opposite. In fact, it'd be hard to find a more maintenance-free way of generating energy than solar
Unlike more conventional methods like burning fossil fuels, the processes that create solar energy occur entirely at the subatomic level. That means no moving parts to create the kind of wear and tear that's the primary culprit when more conventional technology fails.
Even after a heavy snowstorm, any snow that accumulates on a solar panel generally melts quickly enough to not impede power production. The panel's dark-colored surface will heat up when exposed to sunlight. So, since solar panels sit at an angle, the heat generated at any exposed surface quickly causes snow that's accumulated elsewhere to melt and slide off.
That means that, rather than impeding power production, snow actually serves as a natural mechanism for cleaning solar panels.
17% falsely believed that installing solar panels will make it more difficult to sell their home.
Once again, the myth is getting it exactly backward.
A 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that buyers are willing to pay around 3% to 4% more on average for homes powered by solar energy.
Moreover, the NBER also found that the increased value solar power brings actually exceeds the amount of money buyers will save by generating free electricity!
As their report notes:
Similar to other home investments such as a new kitchen, solar installation bundles both investment value and consumption value. Some households may take pride in knowing that they are producers of “green” electricity and “warm glow” may triumph over present discounted value calculations in determining a household’s install choice.
27% falsely believed that the process of installing solar is lengthy and difficult.
Of course, the amount of time it takes to install your solar system will vary depending on how big it is—more panels mean longer installation time.
Still, the reality here is 180 degrees away from the myth.
Installation of a solar system can usually be completed in a few days, with three days being the absolute upper limit for most jobs performed by an experienced installer.