Renewable Energy Roundup: 5 Myths About Solar Energy

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Myth 4: Solar technology is not reliable

Solar PV systems are very reliable and durable throughout its 25 to 30 year design life, requiring few if any repairs. Of course some of this depends on the components by specific companies, as some solar panel and equipment companies offer higher quality products than others.

Solar panels are manufactured to handle extreme weather, including medium-sized hail and falling branches. In fact, the EU Energy Institute found that 90% of solar panels last for 30 years or longer. Because solar electricity is so reliable, it is frequently used to power vital systems, including railroad crossing signals, construction safety signs, aircraft warning lights, and navigational buoys.

Myth 5: I will be off grid and store solar energy in batteries

Most solar homes are still connected to the power grid, for financial and environmental reasons. Most solar systems produce more electricity than is needed during the day. Being connected to the power grid allows homeowners to feed excess daytime electricity to the grid under a program called net metering. Studies show that an average of 20% to 40% of a solar system’s output is fed to the power grid, where it helps to power neighboring houses. Credits appear on the electric bill for energy sold back to the power grid. During overcast weather and at night, solar homes draw power from the grid.

If a home is located in a remote area away from the power grid, a standalone solar system with batteries may be the most practical solution. There is typically a charge for extending the power grid, which can be thousands or even tens of thousands, depending on the distance and other factors. Sometimes stand alone solar systems are more cost-effective to install than extending the power grid, even when taking the costs and upkeep of batteries into account.

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