Separating Fact from Fiction: Solar Panels
As solar grows more popular, there has been an increase in conflicting information and misconceptions about how solar works and whether it is worth the investment.
At Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar, we are passionate about solar energy and we love sharing that passion and helping our customers make an informed choice about going solar.
Keep reading as we dispel some common misconceptions about solar panels and solar energy in general.
Fiction: Solar Power Isn’t Reliable
Solar panels collect energy from the sun but this does not mean that your power goes down when the sun isn’t out. Not only do solar panels continue to absorb energy from the sun on cloudy days (albeit, not as robustly as on a sunny day), but with net metering and solar energy storage, you are never left in the dark.
Net Metering and Solar Storage
Solar systems continue to work when the sun isn’t out for a couple of reasons. Because most residential systems still maintain a link to the local power grid, it allows your home to continuing running even if you aren’t actively producing solar energy. By staying connected to the grid, you experience no interruption in power.
If you are still connected to the grid, you can also benefit from net metering. On sunny days, excess energy produced by your solar system can be sent back to your power grid. With net metering, you earn credit for the excess energy you send back to the grid. You can then use this credit to power your home at night or on cloudy days. If you don’t use up all of your earned credits, you may even make money!
To learn more about net metering eligibility in San Jose, review the San Jose Clean Energy page here.
In situations where you are not connected to the grid, you will likely have energy storage batteries as part of your solar system. If you plan to go completely off-grid, it is important that you discuss your energy storage options with our professional solar experts. We can help you design a system that meets your needs and will keep your home powered without interruption.
Fiction: Switching to Solar Doesn’t Actually Help the Environment
You may have heard that going solar does not measurably help the environment. Detractors have argued that the energy associated with manufacturing solar systems negates any positive impact they have on the environment. While it does take energy to make solar panels, solar panels produce no pollution, emit no greenhouse gases and use no finite fossil-fuel resources. Consequently, solar panels produce truly clean energy and they can do so for decades.
According to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the energy payback period (the time it takes for solar panels to recoup the energy used to manufacture them) is four years or less. Furthermore, NREL reports that 87% to 97% of the energy produced by solar systems isn’t burdened with pollution, greenhouse gases, or a depletion of natural resources. This makes switching to solar energy not only beneficial to you but incredibly beneficial to our environment.
To learn more about energy payback and solar systems, click here.
Fiction: Solar Panels Are So Expensive, You Won’t Ever Get Your Money Back
Another myth circulating about solar panels is that they are prohibitively expensive and that you will never get a return on your investment. While the initial investment in rooftop solar panels can be significant, you can expect to see a return on your investment in approximately 8 years or less. This means that in less than a decade, you will have made back the money you put into your solar system.
Because solar panel systems last for 30 years, you will enjoy fully free, clean energy for the majority of its lifespan. Furthermore, with net metering incentives, you may see a return on your investment even sooner. You may also start to make money through energy credits from your local utility company.
Fiction: Solar Panels Will Ruin Your Roof
It is not uncommon for people to be concerned that rooftop solar installations will somehow damage their roof systems. However, if your system is professionally installed by a licensed, insured company, like Valley, you don’t have to worry about this. Our solar installation specialists are highly trained and take great care to ensure that your solar panels are installed correctly and safely. Furthermore, if you need roof repairs or other work done on your roof, solar panels can be easily removed to allow access.
Fiction: Solar Panels Hurt Home Values
Solar panels do not hurt home values. In fact, solar systems generally add value to a home. When people talk about solar panels hurting home values or deterring potential buyers, they are likely talking about solar systems that have been leased. If you have leased a solar system and then decide to sell your home before the lease is up, you will have to find a buyer that is willing to take over the lease, or you will have to buy out the remainder of your lease. This can make selling your home more complicated and it is why it is generally recommended that you purchase your solar system outright or through financing.
Want to learn more about solar systems and find out if your home is a good candidate for solar? Reach out to Valley today to speak with one of our solar experts.