Solar energy has a lot to offer, but the myths surroundings its installation, costs and benefits may plant a seed of doubt that dissuades people from considering it to be a viable energy source. It is time to weed out some of these rumors and give the truth about solar energy a chance to flourish. Check out these three common myths about solar and find out why they're so far off base.
Myth No. 1 – The savings won't cover the installation cost.
The primary financial perk of solar energy is that it saves you money on your utilities. Over time, the amount you're not spending on fossil fuels can add up to more than you invested in the system initially. Clean Technica reported that the average 20-year savings across the nation comes out to well over $20,000. Considering the national average cost of installation hovers just above $17,000, the odds are in your wallet's favor if you decide to invest in solar.
"New York residents can break even on solar installations in 6 1/2 years."
The numbers vary by state, so let's consider investing in solar in New York, where the average installation cost is just $9,856, according to Clean Technica. Solar power owners in the Empire State can save an average $130 each month, meaning they will break even on their investment within six and a half years. Connecticut solar power, which has an average installation cost closer to the national average – $15,010 – will see residents recouping their expenses in just over 10 years with an average monthly savings of $124.
Myth No. 2 – You can't afford solar without assistance.
There are so many different rebates, incentives and grants from both the federal and state levels to help cover the cost of installing solar energy systems. While the idea behind them is to offset the cost, it doesn't mean that the full cost is so high that it is unattainable. A recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study revealed that the median cost of installation dropped to $3.10 per watt in 2014, down from $6.30 per watt in 2009, an impressive 50 percent decline in pricing.
Eco Business pointed out that the cost of solar has decreased so dramatically in the past year that it is becoming one of the cheapest energy sources the world over, giving nonrenewable sources a run for their money. The technology itself is also transforming, leading to lower installation costs. The subsidies are mainly intended to create incentive to invest in solar by lowering costs that are already within reach.
Myth No. 3 – If the sun isn't shining, you're losing power.
Shorter days in winter, cloudy skies, shade from trees or tall buildings – all of these things can prevent the full power of the sun's rays from reaching your panels, resulting in less energy generation. This might seem bad if you're not able to generate the maximum amount of power every moment the sun is in the sky, but it doesn't necessarily spell disaster for clean energy usage. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that this variability can work both ways.
In many cases, solar panels generate more energy than the homeowners need or use. They can contribute the excess to the grid so it does not go to waste. With the proper storage device, the unused energy collected on particularly clear, sunny days can also be squirreled away for a rainy day. And on those rare occasions that the solar power does run dry, unless you are living off the grid, you can still access power the old-fashioned way.