Many individuals are hesitant to invest in solar panels because of what they have heard or read on the internet. Unfortunately, we live in an era of misinformation, which, unless we properly check our sources, can stop us from living our best lives.
But don’t worry! At BLUETTI Australia, we are all about the facts. We’ll set the record straight so that false information and rumours don’t stop you from availing the massive benefits of solar power. Here’s a list of the most common myths and misconceptions.
Myth #1 – Solar Energy is Expensive
Verdict: False - the costs of solar energy are rapidly declining, and there are various incentives available, making solar an extremely cost-effective option.
The cost of solar energy has reduced significantly over the past twenty years, making it more affordable than ever. Due to the rise in electricity rates, the higher utility rates and reduced solar costs have improved the return on investment and payback.
The prices of solar energy are falling in Australia, and the trend is expected to continue. In fact, Australian residential solar photovoltaic systems now have some of the lowest costs globally, encouraging people to invest in solar energy at a time of increasing energy costs. For instance, in 2010, the total installation costs in Australia were almost 50 higher compared to Germany. However, after constant cost reductions, in 2020, Australian systems were found to cost around a quarter less compared to Germany. Owing to the experienced installers, well-established suppliers, and consistent demand in the Australian market, the costs of solar energy continue to fall.
The key to reducing solar energy costs is to carry out your research ahead of time – check out which tax incentives and credits apply to you in your state and city, calculate how much energy you are going to need to generate with your system and consider any pre-installation requirements or permits.
For instance, in New South Wales, homeowners can exchange their low-income household rebates for a completely installed 3kW solar energy system. Moreover, the state of Victoria has the Solar Homes Program that offers several rebates, including a solar panel rebate of up to $1,400, along with the option of an interest-free loan for rental properties. Additionally, there are point-of-sale discounts on solar batteries. Last but not least. The Northern Territory allows eligible home and business owners to access a grant of $450 per kWh of usable battery system capacity, up to a maximum of $6,000.
Myth #2 – Solar Panels Cannot Work Under Cloudy Conditions
Verdict: False – Solar panels can work in sunlight, although their efficiency will potentially drop.
Even on overcast days or in colder weather conditions, solar panels are still going to generate electricity. Keep in mind that clouds don’t block out sunlight entirely – if they did, we would be enveloped in darkness each time the clouds covered the sun. The extent to which the sunlight gets blocked out depends on which type of clouds cover the sky.
Your solar panels are still going to generate electricity on cloudy days; however, they might not work as efficiently as they would on a clear day. This is because the clouds filter the sunlight that reaches your solar panels. Wispy, thin, high clouds don’t block out sunlight entirely; however, thick, low storm clouds are going to create a much stronger barrier. They are not going to stop functioning entirely; nevertheless, solar generation can fall.
Myth #3 – Solar Panels Are Inefficient
Verdict: False – While solar panels don’t have an efficiency of 100%, they can produce 250 – 350 watts of electricity every hour.
Some people find out that the efficiency rating of solar panels is 22%, which makes them wonder why it’s not 100%. Well, that’s because some amount of sunlight is going to be reflected off the panel or get converted into heat rather than electricity. Moreover, solar cell materials also cannot absorb all the kinds of light that sunlight comprises, such as infrared light. The global record for a solar cell’s efficiency at room temperature under normal levels of sunlight is 39%. However, these cells are extremely expensive to be used in solar panels.
The reality is that the sun generates a massive amount of energy – the sunlight that reaches the earth in just 90 minutes has more than what the whole world uses in a year. With this massive supply of energy, commercially available solar energy systems offer sufficient power to meet the energy needs of your home.
Myth #4 – Investing in Solar Energy Systems Can Make Grid Electricity Cheaper
Verdict: True – The actual reduction in cost depends on how you consume the energy produced by your solar system, not only the act of installing solar panels.
The impact of a solar system on your electricity bills depends on how you consume the energy generated by your solar panels. If you are consuming most of the solar energy during the day, such as running dishwashers or washing machines, rather than in the evening, your electricity requirements at night will reduce, and your grid-connected electric bills will also decline.
Additionally, if you produce any surplus solar power that you do not consume during the day, you will get a credit on your electricity bill, known as a ‘feed-in tariff,’ that can also help lower your electric bill.
To make further savings on your electricity bills and reduce dependence on the national grid, you can even add a battery to your system.
Myth #5 – Manufacturing Solar Panels Consumes More Electricity than What They Can Generate
Verdict: False – Solar panels can generate significantly more electricity than they use when being constructed.
This is an extremely popular myth that has been circulating for several years. However, there is no truth to it. Thanks to advancements in technology and manufacturing processes, it has become incredibly efficient to produce solar panels.
According to an assessment of the solar panel lifecycle carried out by ReNew magazine in 2009, a solar system can pay itself back in terms of carbon cost within a span of 1.7 to 2.3 years. The assessment factored in a variety of things, including the mining of raw materials, the production of solar panels, the transportation of parts, along with product use.
A high-quality solar system should last between two to three decades before requiring replacement. This means even if you use the higher end of the payback scale of 2.3 years, your solar energy system is going to pay back its manufacturing energy costs nearly 11 times over during its lifetime.
Myth #6 – Solar Panels Don’t Work When They Are Dirty
Verdict: False – The dirt accumulated on solar panels has a minimal impact on the electricity generated.
Research indicates that dirty solar panels rarely make more than a 1% difference from the electricity generated. Rain can naturally clean your solar panels. However, if you place them on a flat roof, the dirt will accumulate and impact production slightly. Ideally, you should keep the panels at a slight tilt to prevent the build-up of debris and dirt.
If you do notice dirt or debris build-up on your solar panels, you can spray them with a hose in the evening or early morning when the panels are cool. Keep in mind that spraying cold water over hot panels can result in cracking.
Myth #7 – Solar Panels are Difficult to Maintain
Verdict: False – Solar panels are fairly easy to maintain.
Solar panels typically require minimal maintenance to function. Thus, you can just let them be. The only thing you will have to do is lightly clean them every once in a while to ensure leaves, dirt, and other debris are not obstructing the rays of the sun. The only time you might require more extensive maintenance is during bouts of heavy snowfall, as inches of snow can impact the performance of solar panels.
To maintain your solar panels, you should clean them between two to four times a year. While that might sound too much, the good news is that this does not require a lot of work. Simply use a leaf blower or a garden hose for a quick spray and your panels will be in pristine condition.
During winters, you might have to clean your solar panels if there is heavy snowfall. If you are using water to clear away the snow, make sure it’s lukewarm. You can even use a squeegee that has a long handle.
Myth #8 – Solar Panels Can Damage Your Roof
Verdict: False – Solar panels can actually protect your roof against damage.
The myth that solar panels can damage your roof is far from true. Your roof will actually be protected and preserved by solar panels, which prevent leaking and deterioration. You can also remove solar panels for cleaning purposes or if your roof requires any repair.
Moreover, these days, you can even get portable solar panels such as the ones offered by BLUETTI. When you invest in these panels, you don’t have to worry about running wires or drilling holes in your roof. Portable solar panels are easy to use – you can simply place them in a sunny area and make the required connections to use solar power.
Myth #9 – Solar Energy Systems Can Power a Home During Blackout
Verdict: False – Solar systems might cease working in case of a blackout.
Solar systems automatically stop working when there is a power blackout on the grid, basically to prevent electricity from flowing back into the grid and endangering the safety of electrical workers trying to resolve the problem.
If you wish to keep yourself powered in the event of a blackout, you should invest in a solar generator by BLUETTI. These special systems can capture the sun’s energy through integrated solar panels that then supply the energy to an internal storage system.
Switching to solar energy is a tough decision, especially because of all the misinformation floating around. Nevertheless, you can rest assured that we at BLUETTI provide only trustworthy information.
Ready to take the plunge and move to solar energy? Check out our vast range of portable solar energy products, including portable solar panels, solar generators, solar power stations, and a lot more.