Solar energy is a dynamic and continuous energy source that many believe will one day provide most of our energy needs. Unfortunately, conventional energy industries like big oil have giant backers with deep pockets and have successfully leveraged their money to smear renewable technologies.
Their main target seems to be solar. It’s important to know and understand all of the myths that are being spread by these renewable energy opponents so that green energy proponents can combat the nonsense. Here is a list of some of the most prominent myths
Myth: It’s going to cost too much to set up.
Reality: Originally, setting up solar panels was not exactly cheap. However, with investment and global interest, the price has dropped significantly, and continues to drop. It will take further investment and advancement by governments and business to bring the price down even more, however, solar equipment is becoming more affordable and practical for personal use. There is also a cost savings with regards to the energy being displaced by free energy from the sun.
Myth: Solar power is great for small applications, but there is no way it can generate enough power for large scale energy production
Reality: Solar panels are able to create a lot of power. In fact, most people who have solar panels installed on their homes actually send power back into the grid. This means that their panels have created an excess of electricity, which is sold back to the power company for credit. Further advancements are occurring that magnify the intensity of the sun 2,000 fold, capturing the energy with water cooled cells. Not only is the solar energy collected, but the cooling of the hardware captures lost energy, allowing it to be used for other purposes like geothermal or desalination applications. Massive Solar grids are being erected worldwide and are providing a majority of the power to countries like Germany.
Myth: There are not really any true savings with solar panels.
Reality: While it’s true that solar energy equipment has a long way to go before it becomes something incredibly affordable, the same is true for any technological advancement. The personal computer is a great example, early models costing upwards of $5,000–in the 80’s I might add. But those who saw the immense potential of these devices paved the way for an innovative industry that made them cheaper, better and more efficient. The same can be done in the world of solar energy, and is already occurring. There are even companies that will set up all of the solar panels on your home free of charge and then charge you a fee for the energy used–sending the rest to be sold back to the local energy provider. Someone wanting to do it themselves can also save significantly with local, state and federal credits and grants.
Myth: There’s no way you’ll ever produce enough energy for this to pay off.
Reality: Adding solar panels to one’s home increases the value of the home. In fact, according to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, every $1000 that is saved in electric costs because of solar panels, a home’s value raises nearly $20,000. Home energy production could eventually be unnecessary with massive solar utilities providing clean, solar energy via Smart Grids.
Myth: You won’t have the time or energy for the upkeep that is required for solar panels.
Reality: This simply isn’t true. These panels require very little upkeep. Both maintenance and cleaning are minimal, and many solar panels come with great warranties. It is suggested that you hose off the panels once a year, but beyond that, they won’t require upkeep. Commercial solar operations must deal with dust, but on a massive scale it takes no more work than the countless refining processes involved with coal, oil, etc.
Myth: Solar panels won’t work where I live – it’s too cloudy.
Reality: Solar panels work well, even when the sun isn’t out. Since they work off of UV rays, they can still get power on dark days. You may end up pulling some of your power from the grid on cloudy days, but even in very cloudy areas, such as Germany, solar panels have proven themselves many times over.
Myth: My area gets too much snow for solar energy to work effectively.
Reality: Even in very snowy areas, solar energy is much more efficient than nearly any other type of energy. You can get dark panels, which will help in melting snow. If you want to put in a little extra effort, you can clean your panels of snow to keep up the output of energy.
Myth: Solar panels will ruin my roof. It will leak or even collapse due to these panels.
Reality: Solar panels can actually protect the integrity of your roof. Of course, they can only protect where they are, but areas of a roof with solar panels have actually been known to survive a hurricane better than the rest of the roof. They are not too heavy for the roof, and will not cause damage to the structure.
Myth: Solar panels are big and bulky. They will look tacky on your roof.
Reality: Solar panels are all the rage. They look great; neighbors will notice, but in a good way. On top of that, they are fairly slim. They won’t look like something weird is hanging off your roof. When you add solar panels to the roof, you will quickly see that they are just as stylish as they are effective. Regardless, this myth doesn’t have anything to do with the potential of solar energy as a utility.
Myth: Solar panels don’t do that much for the environment. How much will it really change if I install them?
Reality: Each kilowatt of solar energy can offset a significant amount of greenhouse gasses. In fact, up to 16 kilograms of nitrogen oxides, 2,300 kilograms of carbon dioxide, and 9 kilograms of sulfur oxides are negated with each kilowatt of solar energy. The more people who switch to solar, the better it will be for the planet.
Myth: There are no other benefits of solar energy.
Reality: Most states, as well as the federal government, offer incentives to homeowners that upgrade their home with solar panels. You can get a significant tax break due to adding solar panels to your home. This can help offset the original cost of the installation. Green Energy advocates are fighting for greater subsidization of solar energy providers in tune or greater than what is provided for Oil and Gas.
Myth: Solar panels will need to be replaced every few years – they aren’t good for the long haul.
Reality: Early adopters of solar energy may have had to replace their panels every five to ten years. Today, it is much different. Now most solar panels come with a 25 year warranty. These panels are tough and are made for longevity. You shouldn’t need to replace your solar panels often, if at all.
As you can see, Solar Energy is up against some significant opposition willing to do whatever it takes to keep Americans addicted to fossil fuels and continue to rake in massive profits. It will take the entire Alternative Energy community to combat these myths and to restore the truth about solar energy potential. Are there any myths I missed? Please share them in the comments.