Solar energy is clean and eco friendly. The concept of solar power has been around for many years, but its reach among the common people has been limited to only few. In order to tap this green source of energy, various countries are trying hard and encouraging people to use this renewable source of energy. Many people do not have clear idea as to how useful and easy to use, this source of energy is.
In order to understand how solar energy can be a viable source of power, here are certain myths that need to be broken:
- Solar panels work only in very sunny days/areas
Everybody thinks that solar energy can be useful in places, which have bright sunshine. Solar panels cannot work on cloudy days. The fact is that ultra violet light is needed by solar panel, and hence it works in cloudiest of places, as ultra violet rays can penetrate clouds. In fact, Germany is considered to be the solar capital of the world, though it has very few sunny days. The solar panels can conduct electricity better when they are cold.
- Expensive Source of Energy
Prices of solar panel have been falling dramatically since last few decades. These installations are more affordable than they have ever been, what with various government agencies providing incentives to use eco friendly sources of energy. With better technology and saturation of power panel manufacturers the prices are going to fall down further. After an initial investment, the cost comes down appreciably.
- Require frequent maintenance
The panels rarely need maintenance. There is no need to wash or dust photovoltaic cells. Periodic removal of leaves or snow that may fall on it may be needed. No moving parts are there to be maintained. The average warranty of panels lasts for 25 years.
- Solar energy requires vast amount of land
Land needed for obtaining surface mined coal is much more than what solar panels require. Moreover, these systems can be put up at abandoned land or desert areas. The Gobi desert alone can supply electricity demand of the whole world. Rooftops are widely used for PV, thus land use requirements are modest. Sometimes land occupied by solar panels can be used for multi purposes like grazing animals, shading etc.
- Solar systems are ugly and bulky
The new systems are seamless with solar shingles. Today’s panels are designed to work better with modern rooflines, are less obtrusive and can integrate with existing home systems. Over the years they have improved a lot. Solar cells can be combined with metal, slate, fibre-cement, and asphalt roofing and in fact can add to the aesthetics.
- Hails can damage solar panels
Like roofs, hails do not damage solar panels. Though solar panels are made of tempered glass, they can withstand a 1” hailstone when perpendicular to the hail stone, (i.e. mounted flat). However since they are not normally installed flat but on an angle, they can withstand up to 2” of hailstone.
- Solar systems are intermittent and unreliable
While area that have more intense sunlight and clear skies have more solar generation potential, other areas too have good potential to generate solar energy. Solar systems can be very reliable. The off grid systems are not subjected to power failures and cut offs. In fact many vital systems rely on solar technologies such as aircraft warning lights, navigational buoys, railroad crossing signals, lighthouses etc. By connecting grids over large geographical areas, and using smart meters, solar and other renewable sources of energy can be better used.
- Solar energy is inefficient
Efficiency of solar panel has quadrupled since 1970s. With 15- 19% efficiency, it is comparable to many fuels like the gas in a car. Moreover the technology is improving continuously, which in turn will increase the efficiency further.
- Solar panels need battery backup
It is not necessary to have battery backup. In fact it reduces the efficiency of the system. It is better to be grid tied than to be battery tied, unless there is concern about long utility outages or the residence is in remote location, with no presence of utility.
- Investment in solar technology is worthwhile for only long-term use
Solar energy saves in electric costs. Thus solar energy system increases the value of the home.