Solar energy is a truly viable source for clean power and is already in use by over 1 million homeowners across America. This article is designed to clear up some common solar energy myths, misconceptions and misinformation you might’ve heard about collecting free energy from the sun and powering your home or business with solar panels, just in time for Earth Day!

Debunking The Top 5 Solar Energy Myths

Solar Energy Myth #1 The technology is not ‘there yet’

  • False! Here’s why:
    Solar technology began taking off during the late 1950’s, supported by NASA and their need for electricity in space. The Vanguard missions were the first solar powered spacecraft, but NASA didn’t stop there. Lots of other American-made spacecraft utilized solar panels to absorb sunlight in space, including the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, and four sets of solar arrays that still power the International Space Station.

    View from space. Did you know that solar panels power the International Space Station? Image credit: NASA
  • Panel wattage has increased along with efficiency from then until now, thanks largely in part to the rocket scientists and research & development departments in conjunction with NASA who worked tirelessly to find solutions to big problems related to producing electricity in space.
  • To put this into perspective, recognize that today we are installing solar panels on homes rated at 300-350 watts that take up the same roof space (square feet) as the solar panels we installed years ago that were rated at just 230-285 watts.
  • If solar technology is good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for your roof!
  • The other part of the ‘there yet’ equation relates to costs, but lucky for you solar costs are at all-time lows, and a key tax credit worth 30% of the cost of going solar was extended through the end of 2019!

Related: Stock Market Volatility Got You Looking For A Safer Investment? Check out why Solar Power Is A Low-Risk Retirement Investment With High Returns

Solar Energy Myth #2 It requires a battery

  • False! Here’s why:
  • The power grid you are using right now is essentially a virtual battery for people who produce their own power with solar panels.
  • During the day, when the sun is shining, solar panels absorb energy radiated from the sun and your solar energy system converts it into usable AC electricity that you can use inside your home to power whatever you need (TV, iPad, refrigerator, etc.).
  • If your solar panels produce more energy than you need, it goes back out to the power grid for someone else – like your neighbor – to use.

  • Alternatively, if your home requires more energy than your solar panels can provide, your system will pull the extra amount of power from the grid. It works seamlessly, you’ll never see lights flicker or anything crazy like that.
  • So you really don’t need a battery to store your solar energy for nighttime use (unless you live in an area where power outages are frequent because of natural disasters – but that’s a whole different conversation).

Solar Energy Myth #3 Its only used by hippies and environmentalists

  • False! Here’s why:
  • Yes, solar energy is used by people who place a high value on conserving resources and cleaning up the planet, but many people who go solar do it to save money (or even to make money).
  • Take, for example, our customer Jay G. who first went solar in 2015. After having solar panels installed on his primary home in West Columbia, he liked the savings he was seeing so much that he installed 15 more panels on his second home (vacation residence) on Edisto Island.

“We’ve been very pleased with our installation in West Columbia, SC. It was done in a professional manner in November of 2015 on our primary residence. Since then, we have not paid a utility bill and have actually built up around $500 in credit with SCE&G.

You can read more in our Customer Interview: Saving With Solar In West Columbia

Solar Energy Myth #4 Its only affordable for the rich

  • False! Here’s why:
  • First of all, recognize that without solar you are essentially renting your energy from the local power company. Instead you could be producing your own power via solar panels, and the cost would be much lower! This is one of the key drivers that is leading homeowners from all classes – lower, middle, and upper – to adopt solar energy.
  • An October 2013 study published on ScientificAmerican.com found that solar panels are popping up most on the roofs of middle class homeowners, not the 1%. “Installations are overwhelmingly in neighborhoods where median incomes range from $40,000 to $90,000” the authors of the study said.
  • As the solar market has matured, and solar panels have plummeted in price, new business models have enabled customers to buy solar power for little to no-money down. Sure, you may get the best deal if you pay with cash (as we wrote on our Owning vs. Leasing Solar blog), but $0 down financing and leasing options are available for virtually all incomes and credit scores.
  • Plus, homeowners from all classes have access to the same 30% Federal solar tax credit and the 25% South Carolina state tax credit for solar installations that happen in 2018.

Related: Solar Rebates & Incentives Available In South Carolina

Solar Energy Myth #5 It won’t last long enough to pay for itself

  • False! Here’s why:
  • Most solar panels are sold with a 10–25 year warranty, and solar panels are engineered to deliver 80% of their rated power after about 30 years. Research tests have proven that solar panels can last for 40 years or longer!
  • In 2010 the website Inhabitat.com posted an article about the oldest solar panel in history, and how it was still producing power 60 years after it was designed!
  • Image Credit: Green Building Advisor
  • Another article from GreenBuildingAdvisor.com tested a 30 year old solar panel and found it was still still performing to factory specifications.
  • If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: For most homeowners in South Carolina, the average solar panel installation will pay for itself in under 10 years, followed by another 15+ years of ‘pre-paid’ maintenance-free savings.

Learn More About Solar Energy

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with specialties in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar panel installation! Don’t wait – Summer power bills are coming soon!