There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding solar power; some innocent, some not so innocent. There are political, social and emotional angles to the broad subject of the environment, so there is more to consider than just scientific arguments. To help clear up some of that misinformation, here are the Top 5 myths regarding solar energy.
No. 1 – You have to sacrifice convenience to go solar.
Solar power can either be used in addition to the power supplied by a local utility, or can supply all of a home’s needs. Homes that use solar power have all the comforts of those using traditional power. Solar power customers have high definition televisions, dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. that feature the latest in technology. Solar power doesn’t mean living in prehistoric times, which is the picture solar opponents try and paint.
No. 2 – Solar power necessitates storage.
There is a persistent perception out there that a solar power system has to consume the energy that it generates or that energy will be lost if not stored. According to this myth, if a system is not equipped with often very pricey storage batteries, it will not be able to provide power at night.
However, net metering systems allow utility providers to, in effect, absorb energy created by your solar power system, then that provider credits you for that energy. The power grid supplies energy at any time of the day or night. After you use up the credits, you then only pay for excess usage.
No. 3 – Solar power isn’t ready for widespread use.
Science is continually advancing, so no technology is ever truly “perfected.” Solar power, while a fairly mature technology, is evolving with continued research and development. But solar has already shown that, with incentives and rebates, it can provide payback within seven to 10 years. As technology becomes more advanced, that amount of time for payback will become substantially reduced.
No. 4 – The power generated from solar is costly.
If you are more than about 500 yards from a utility company connection, you will find that it costs less to install a solar power system than connect only to the power grid.
No. 5 – You have to have a fossil-fuel backup to a solar power system.
A home with a solar power system that is tied to the grid will be supplied with all the energy it needs, even on cloudy days and at night. As long as the neighborhood has power, so will your home. The main difference will be that your bills will be lower than your non-solar powered neighbors because your home is contributing to the energy grid. You may find a fossil-fuel backup generator when your home cannot be tied to the grid, such as a cabin in the woods. Here, however, you may find that a battery-powered generator is sufficient.