8 Solar Energy Myths

Q&A from our 'Learn about Solar' series.

#1. Solar panels are only for the wealthy.

The reality is that the cost of solar panels has dropped 80 percent since 2008. The average 5-kW solar setup costs approximately $18,000 if you were to buy it. After you subtract the 30% federal credit and any possible state and local credits (there are lots of them!), you will be left with around $10,000 +/- that will be your responsibility to pay. You can also choose to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) which would simply give you a monthly loan amount that would more than likely be less than your previous electric bill. Many states also allow leasing, which requires no money up front.

#2. Solar don't work well in cold or cloudy states.

You don't need bright sunny days for solar to make complete sense. In fact, Germany - which gets less sun than every state in the continential US - is the world leader in solar power. Germany actually produces about five times as much solar power as the United States!

#3. Solar will hurt my home's value.

Wow, this one cannot be further from the truth. Who wouldn't want to buy a home that is not dependant on its local energy utility company? "Sorry, I don't like saving a couple hundred bucks a month..." said no one ever.

#4. I should wait for solar energy to be more efficient.

The truth is we are still using the same solar technology that was developed back in the 1960's. Yeah, we now have wireless monitoring or more effcient homes, but the solar technology has pretty much stayed the same. Once installed, your panels will continue to work for decades.

#5. I need bulky batteries to store all the excess energy I will create.

Batteries are expensive and not needed in most cases because you will be still connected to the electric grid for backup. Because of this and net metering (the ability to sell unused energy generated back to the elctric company) batteries as part of a solar panel installation is more-or-less obsolete.

#6. Installing solar panels will hurt my roof.

Solar panels actually protect and preserve the portion of the roof they cover. If you find the right contractor to install your panels, you will not have any issues with leaky roofs.

#7. I will never make my money back on a solar panel investment.

Actually, in most states - because of their additional tax credits and net metering - typical installations will fully pay for themselves anywhere between 6-15 years.

#8. My solar panels will require maintenance.

Solar panels do not have moving parts - so they actually require very little (if any) maintenance. Some people like to hose off their panels once in a while, but recent studies have shown that unwashed panels only lose about 5% of their generating power if left unwashes for long periods of time. Plus, isn't that what rain is for?!?!

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