5 myths about Solar Energy

At Ecotricity, we’re out and about every day across New Zealand, talking to people about the awesome benefits of solar. Along the way, we get all sorts of questions and hear “interesting” stories about solar power. Everyone’s heard something from a friend-of-a-friend, and most of it isn’t true at all.

With that in mind, here are the 5 most common myths we hear about solar panels and solar energy.

Myth 1. Solar panels won’t work at my house because it’s too cold.

BUSTED. Many people equate solar energy with the heat of the sun, and assume that if it’s cold where they live than solar panels won’t be as effective. Actually, the opposite is true. The panels are better conductors when they’re cold, making them more efficient. If solar panels get too hot, they produce less power for the same amount of sunlight.

Myth 2. I need an expensive tracking system to follow the direction of the sun.

BUSTED. People see solar tracking in movies and assume it’s the norm. You’re right to assume that tracking is expensive – it can be. And it does improve efficiency. But solar panels will collect energy as long as the sun is shining. When they’re installed, we ensure they’re positioned to maximise sun exposure, and this is usually enough efficiency for an average household. Most of the time, a tracking system won’t be worth the expense.

Myth 3. Solar panels won’t work if it’s cloudy or snowing!

BUSTED. It’s true that inclement weather can reduce the efficiency of your panels, as they won’t be able to collect as much energy. But they don’t stop working. The panels still collect energy, even through the clouds. Snow will usually slide off panels due to the installation’s angle. Rain helps to clear debris from your panels, so they may actually work better following a storm.

Myth 4: I don’t want to have to deal with constant maintenance on my solar system!

BUSTED. Because solar panels don’t involve moving parts, they require very little maintenance. You might give them a wash down every now and then (just don’t use a product that applies a film), and most installers recommend a yearly maintenance check. Apart from that, you shouldn’t have to worry!

Myth 5. Solar panels will damage my roof!

BUSTED. We hear this one so often, and it’s just not true. Solar panels are installed a few inches above the roof itself to allow for airflow, and they weigh about as much as a second layer of shingles. If you choose a professional installation company, they will provide a high-quality finish that won’t damage any aspect of your roof. Installers are experienced in every imaginable roof type, size, angle, and pitch. In fact, the solar panels provide a layer of protection for the roof, which might increase its longevity.

There you have it – five common solar myths, busted by our expert team. What other solar energy myths have you heard?

And if you’re ready to power your home by solar, take a look at our solar directory to find the nearest solar installer in your area! Click HERE for the link to the Ecotricity Solar Directory.