Renewable Energy Roundup: 5 Myths About Solar Energy

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Myth 2: Solar power is very expensive

Although this was a true statement just a decades ago, the cost of solar panels and equipment has plummeted. As solar technology advances, solar energy production is also increasing significantly, allowing the system to produce more of the overall household electricity. Now that solar electricity has grown nearly exponentially in popularity, solar equipment is mass produced, allowing prices to fall significantly.

A similar phenomenon happened with digital cameras, DVD players, and laptops. Although these gadgets were very costly when they first hit the market, prices have since declined dramatically, making them more affordable for many people. Likewise, solar technology is advancing and becoming more efficient as well.

“There are higher efficiency solar panels available on the market now, which come at a slightly lower price [per watt],” says Nir Maimon, CEO of Sol Reliable, a solar installation and green energy solutions company headquartered in Los Angeles. “Average panel efficiency is now 17%-21%, while previously, it was closer to 16%-17% efficiency.”

At the same time, residential electricity rates have also increased over the last decade, especially in certain areas of the country. The financial performance of a solar system is largely dependent on the cost of electricity that a homeowner would otherwise pay. Today, solar energy systems have never been as affordable, or a better investment, especially in certain markets.

Myth 3: Solar panels don’t generate much electricity during the winter

Unless you live on the North or South Pole, solar energy systems typically generate a lot of electricity during colder weather, unless they are covered by snow or ice. Despite the angle of the sun being lower in the sky and the days being shorter, solar energy systems can generate significant amounts of electricity throughout the winter months.

This is because solar panels use light, not heat, to generate electricity. When the temperature of the solar panels is cooler, they can generate more renewable energy. Once they reach temperatures around 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit, solar panel output starts to decline. Since panel temperatures are roughly 20 degrees Celsius warmer than ambient temperatures, these temperatures are commonly reached in most climates. 

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