The 7 Biggest Solar Myths 1

1.  Solar energy is too expensive.

According to SunRun, 97% of Americans overestimate the upfront cost of going solar.  Since the price of PV has been declining, solar energy is more affordable than ever.
There are federal and state incentives in place today that give the technology the chance to grow, while making solar energy more affordable for homeowners.  State and regionalincentives vary along with the “soft costs” associated with permitting- much of this is going to be specific to the location where you’re installing your system.

To learn more about incentives that are specific to your area, visit

Solar systems in the U.S. qualify for a 30% federal tax credit.  If you have tax liability, you can use your solar system to claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for their solar system that’s located in the United States.

See the Solar Energy Savings Calculator to figure out how much you can save by switching to solar.

2.  Solar panels only work on hot, sunny days.

Solar panels actually work best on clear, cool days.   Contrary to the common misconception that solar only works on sunny days, solar panels will continue to generate at about 30% of their normal output when it’s cloudy or foggy.

Germany, which doesn’t have a reputation for being the sunniest place, had about 21.6 times more solar power installations per capita than the United States by the end of 2011.

Another interesting fact is that solar panels can handle climates that experience intense weather conditions like hail.  Solar panels often tested by shooting them with projectiles the size of golf balls to ensure that they can handle environmental pressure from snow and hail.  Quality solar panels are protected with tempered glass and rated for hail impact.

3. I can size a solar system based on the square footage of my home.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to get an accurate idea of how many kW of solar you should install without doing some homework first.   This number is going to depend a several factors, and the first step for you is determining your load.

The amount of kWh used by your home is the most important factor in determining a solar system for your home.   Dig out your electric bills for the past year to get an idea of how much you use on a monthly and yearly basis.  You can also use this Load Calculator to figure out how much electricity you use.

From here, you can use Solar Power Calculator to get a rough idea of the size of system you’re looking at.

4.  Solar requires constant maintenance.

Solar has no moving parts, so consequently, there is almost zero maintenance required to care for a solar system.

The main thing to consider is cleaning your solar array every now and then to maximize the output.   Use Powerboost Solar Panel Cleaner to prevent build-up, also known as “soiling” of your solar panels.

The only time a solar system would require more regular maintenance is if you’re using batteries.  This bleeds into the next myth about solar energy.

5.  Solar energy requires batteries.

The majority of solar electric systems out there are grid-tied, so instead of storing the electricity, they send it back into the utility grid.  Basically, installing a grid-tie solar system means you’ll be drawing less energy from the grid than if you relied solely on your utility company for electricity.

Off-grid solar systems, commonly called stand-alone or autonomous solar systems, are ideal for homes that don’t have access to a grid electricity.

6.  When the grid goes down, my solar panels will power my home.

Most solar systems are tied to the grid, so if the power goes out in your neighborhood, your home will lose power as well.

This feature prevents your system from sending electricity into the grid while workers might be working on the utility power lines.  Sending electricity into the grid during a power outage is a safety hazard.

7.   You can only install a solar system if you have a South-facing roof.

Though it’s ideal to install your solar array on a South-facing roof that’s clear of shading, solar systems can be put on West and East-facing roofs and still effectively produce energy.

Solar systems can also be mounted on flat stretch of land with a ground mount or pole mounting solution.

Have you heard any other claims about solar energy and want some clarification?  Leave a question in the comments or send an email to

Tom Jackson

Original Article on Go Green Solar

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