Before we get to the myths, let’s learn a couple solar power facts.
If nothing else, remember to keep these two points in mind:
- Solar power is more affordable than ever thanks to lower solar panel prices and the availability of government incentives
- Going solar is also good for the environment and energy independence
With so much going for it, what could keep solar power from exploding into the mainstream?
Well, unfortunately there are some persistent myths about solar power that continue to unfairly tarnish its reputation. Today we’re going to squash these myths and tell nothing but the solar power facts.
Myth #1 – Solar Panels Are An Unproven Technology
Many people still think of solar panels as a new technology. In fact, the silicon solar cell was developed at Bell Laboratories back in the early 1950’s. This means that solar panel technology has been around since before Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
That’s right, solar panel technology is older than rock and roll. Would you call rock and roll an unproven music style? I didn’t think so.
Myth #2 – Building A Solar Panel Consumes More Energy Than The Panel Produces
You may have heard this one from a know-it-all at your last cocktail party. In reality, many independent studies put the ‘energy payback time’ of crystalline solar panels at anywhere from 1.5 to 4 years.
In other words, a solar panel produces the amount of energy used to build it in a few years. Since most solar panels have a 25 year warranty, a solar panel will produce many times it’s ’embodied energy’ over the life of the panel.
Myth #3 – I Can’t Get Solar Panels Because I Don’t Have A South Facing Roof
A south facing roof is ideal for solar panels but roof orientation is actually much less important than most people realize. According to the Department of Energy, solar panel orientation can be up to 45º east or west of true south without significantly decreasing performance.
Myth #4 – Solar Power Will Be Cheaper In A Few Years
The price of solar panels may continue to drop over the next few years but so will government incentives. Doesn’t seem fair? Just remember that the incentive programs are meant to boost demand and kickstart the industry.
As the solar industry matures and learns to stand on its own two feet, the incentives are no longer considered necessary. On that note we come to…
Myth #5 – If Solar Power Really Worked It Wouldn’t Need Government Incentives
Let’s take a look at some energy history:
- By 1916 the federal government provided incentives to encourage oil drilling
- In the 1930’s federal money built dams to produce hydroelectric power
- Since the 1950’s government money has financed research into nuclear power
In fact, it is estimated that fossil fuels and nuclear power receive ten times the government money that renewable energy sources do. So before you pick on solar power for receiving government incentives, just remember that other energy sources are getting even more of your tax dollars.
Well, that’s it. Hopefully this little bout of myth busting gives you the solar power facts you need to keep from getting fooled by these solar power falsehoods.
People might even realize that the solar energy facts are more exciting than the myths.