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J Ferg Knowledge Base

Solar Energy Myths

Since the first solar panel was invented in 1954, solar energy has come a long way. Originally used to power a small toy Ferris wheel, a single solar panel now has the capability of producing about 2 kWh per day. A solar panel system can power subways, buses, planes, cars, and even railroads. It’s no surprise that solar energy’s sudden boom came with a lot of misinformation. Rumors and mistruths about solar power are everywhere, and it can be hard to decipher what’s real and what’s not. Here are some of the top myths about solar energy.

Solar panels require more energy than they produce in their lifetime

The term “energy payback” describes “how long a solar panel must operate to recover the energy that was used to make the system in the first place.” A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that energy paybacks can take only 1-4 years (depending on the PV system installed). Since solar panels have a life expectancy of around 30 years, the energy they produce will be way over the energy expended to make them!

Solar manufacturing results in more pollution than is saved by solar usage

In the same study, the NREL found that with energy paybacks of 1-4 years, “87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate will be free of pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources”. It’s also a fact that the amount of Co2 produced by solar panel manufacturing is about 20 times less than the carbon output of coal-powered electricity sources. Solar panel construction is ever-changing, and PV system designs in the future will be even more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Solar panels only work when the sun is shining

Although solar panels perform best in sunny climates, they can produce energy as long as there is some sunlight. Even rain and snow will not keep your solar panels from working, as they can absorb reflected light through clouds and water. For your electricity needs after sundown, there are battery storage technologies available where your solar panels can store energy for nighttime use.

Solar is too expensive for widespread usage

Solar energy will start paying for itself in just seven years, depending on your system’s size and startup costs. There are also many financial incentives to going solar, such as the federal Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners to deduct 26% of the price of their PV system from their federal income tax. Additionally, federal grant programs, such as the FHA PowerSaver Grant program, enable homeowners to borrow up to $25,000 over a 20-year period. Net metering can help you make the most of your energy by allowing you to sell the excess energy produced by your solar panel system back to your electric company. There are many ways to save and economically benefit from going solar, making it worth the expense.

Solar panels can’t withstand extreme weather conditions

Since solar panels are designed to be out in the elements, they can definitely endure extreme weather! Most solar panels are certified to withstand up to 140 mph winds and hail up to an inch in diameter. That’s sturdy enough to withstand a category four hurricane and a regular hailstorm. Solar panels’ productivity starts to slow after it reaches 79 F but can work in below-freezing weather.

Solar panels require regular maintenance

This one is just not true! There are no moving parts to solar panels, so it is unlikely they will need any maintenance unless damaged once they are installed. It is recommended that solar panels are hosed off once a year, but even if you don’t do this, the loss in efficiency will only be about 5% over the lifetime of the panel.

A solar electric system will raise my property taxes

Due to legislation preventing it, your property tax will not increase, but your property value will! According to a Zillow analysis of homes around the country, solar panels raise a home’s value by 4.1%.

Solar panels will cause my roof to leak, deteriorate, or collapse

Since solar panels can withstand extreme weather conditions like hail, they will actually shield your roof. Solar panels are tougher than the average roof, so installing solar panels on your home can provide an extra layer of protection. Panels are also usually installed on a mounted railing system, making panels easy to remove if the roof needs maintenance.

I can’t go solar if I don’t own my house

Community Solar programs allow multiple people to benefit from a shared PV system. So, if you rent or live in an apartment building, you can still use solar energy.

Solar electric systems are unreliable and produce substandard electricity

With developing technologies, solar energy is improving all the time. The truth is, that the reliability and lifespan of solar panels are tremendous. A recent study done by NREL, where they analyzed 54,500 panels over the course of 15 years, found that only 5 out of 10,000 solar panels failed each year. Today’s solar panels meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code, the local utility, and local building codes. Now is a better time than ever to go solar for reliable, cost-efficient energy. Did you know the price of electricity has doubled since 2000? It’s time for a better, cleaner, more economical energy to take the lead. The benefits of solar energy speak for themselves, and J Ferg Solar can provide you with the best solar energy system around. Qualify for net metering/financing today and get the first 12 months on us, with 0 upfront costs.

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