It was easy to dismiss solar power as science fiction in the early days. Not only was the technology spotty and inconsistent, but it was also incredibly expensive. But now that affordable residential models are available, people are finally taking this form of energy seriously. Not surprisingly, its critics have grown more desperate in recent years. Whether they’re trying to protect an established energy source, or they just don’t believe in solar panels, detractors have been spreading lies and half-truths at an unprecedented pace. Let us take a moment to debunk a few of our favorites.
Myth: Only the rich can afford them.
Fact: According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the price of installation has plummeted by more than 73 percent since 2006. Generous state and federal subsidies have made solar panels affordable for Americans of every economic strata.
Myth: They require a lot of upkeep.
Fact: Because they lack moving parts, residential systems require minimal maintenance. The only advice installers give is to inspect them for dirt and debris every few months. Other than that, these units are pretty much maintenance-free.
Myth: They won’t work in some areas.
Fact: While it is true that solar panels operate more efficiently in regions that get a lot of sun, they can still generate energy from ambient light on rainy or overcast days. As such, they will work just fine in any region of the country.
Myth: They damage roofs.
Fact: Actually, the complete opposite is true. Numerous studies have found that panels actually protect roof surfaces from inclement weather. We should also add that the equipment, when properly installed, will not harm your roof in any way. It can be put in or taken out without damaging shingles or the wood underneath them.
Myth: They hurt resale value.
Fact: Once again, this one isn’t even close! Several studies have found that a working residential system can add thousands of dollars in value to the average home. In fact, one recent report found that a host-owned system could add as much as $15,000 to a home’s resale value.
Myth: They aren’t built to last.
Fact: As with any new technology, there are bound to be a few users who had a bad experience. Critics have seized on sketchy reports of dissatisfied customers to question the structural integrity of residential systems. Are they really tough and durable enough to stand up to the elements? According to the companies that sell, they are! That’s why most providers offer 20- to 25-year warranties on their units. Not surprisingly, most are tested to last that long, or longer.
Myth: They aren’t user-friendly.
Fact: Once again, critics are trying to scare people away from using the new technology by telling half the story. Yes, there was a time when you had to be a techie to harness the power of the sun. But due to recent improvements, today’s solar panels are as easy to operate as a microwave, DVD player, or any other appliance in your home.
Now that you know the truth about solar power, you can make up your own mind about the fastest-growing form of alternative energy.