5 Myths About Solar Panels

Solar energy remains one of the most talked about ways to green your home and save energy. Solar panels have come a long way in recent years. Increasingly both homeowners and businesses have adopted solar energy. Google installed solar panels on the buildings for their Mountain View campus and many other companies have used solar to augment their existing utility programs.

Myth 1: You have to live in a very sunny climate to get any results. Modern solar panels are designed to work in a wide variety of climates and get great results. Germany – a country not known for blazing sunlight – is currently the leading country in solar power, adding a record number of panels last year.

Myth 2: They are heavy, bulky and ugly. Today’s panels are less obtrusive and can integrate with existing home systems. There have been great improvements in the last few years in the size, shape, thinness and overall appeal of solar panels. Today’s panels are designed to work better with modern rooflines. They also have real appeal for potential buyers who think solar is a great feature.

Myth 3: They are hard to install. Increasingly installing solar panels is becoming a home improvement project that can be done easily. Kits are available at major home improvement stores in a wide variety of sizes from one or two panels to a full roof-wide system. Sharp has a system called SunSnap, which has a flexible and scalable design that allows homeowners to start saving with solar immediately and expand their system over time.

Myth 4: They are expensive. Solar isn’t necessarily an all or nothing proposition. You can start with just a few panels. Many homeowners use them for selected home electricity needs such as heating a pool or spa. A solar generator with a solar panel can also be a way test out solar on your home,  installing a system that can provide back-up or stand-alone household power for emergency outages or off-grid outbuildings. Many solar panels and systems are also eligible for tax credits, rebates, and other savings programs.

Myth 5: Solar doesn’t yield much in the way of savings. As traditional sources of electricity such as fossil fuels continue to rise in price the need for solar energy will only grow.  Solar installations generally pay for themselves over time. Solar panels are also increasingly important to home buyers and installing panels and being able to demonstrate savings can contribute to resale value down the line. Melisa Camp, a Realtor who specializes in green properties has solar panels on her home office. “My electricity bill is about a quarter to a third of what it was previously. We are still hooked into the grid and our lowest energy bill was $25 within the last year. Which is pretty low for a 2800 sq. ft. home with 4 occupants living and working from home all week”

Melisa indicated that solar panels can pay off in the long run. “My anticipated ROI is approximately 8 years. This made sense for our family since we would like to retire in the home we bought and plan to live here for many years to come. For those not able to afford the upfront cost which for us was over $30K, (but only about $9K after utility rebates and tax incentives) leasing is becoming more and more popular. Not only can you reduce your monthly energy bill with leased panels but you can get away with putting down much less cash- sometimes even none at all and still save month after month. It is a no-brainer for your pocketbook and good for the environment.”

Posted by Deidre Woollard