October 25, 2016

As we’re getting into the Halloween spirit here at Solect, we wanted to share some frightening misconceptions about commercial solar that may scare away some customers.  Don’t worry—we’re here to show you there’s nothing to be afraid of. Here are five chilling myths about solar – busted!

MYTH #1: Solar energy is expensive

In recent years, more and more businesses, schools and organizations have adopted green initiatives and many have made the switch to solar as prices have decreased with technological advances. As solar becomes more popular, the  production of equipment has become more efficient and less expensive. In the last decade alone, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70%. In many places, solar energy is now less expensive to deploy than its fossil fuel counterparts.

In addition, the state of Massachusetts (as well as the New England area as a whole) offers attractive solar incentives that make investing in solar energy even more beneficial.  State and federal financial incentives and policies including net metering, the extended Solar Renewable Energy Certificate II program, the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the newly proposed solar program from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources are all designed to help lower the cost to install solar and promote solar’s continued growth.

MYTH #2: Solar panels are useless on cloudy, rainy or snowy days

Even on cloudy days, sunlight is capable of reaching your solar array and providing a substantial amount of electricity for the day.  And if it rains – have no fear!  Sunlight still reaches the panels, and in addition your array gets a free cleaning, which can actually increase its production. As long as your solar panels are working efficiently, there will always be enough power to work as late as you do.

MYTH #3: Solar panels do not work well in cold weather/the winter

While snow does have an effect on your panels and production levels, a blanket of fresh powder is not a death sentence for solar production- in fact, some aspects of snow and cold weather actually help production figures!  Believe it or not, cooler weather is better for productivity than ultra-hot weather is. High temperatures are hard on electronics in the summer, so the winter months provide more efficient energy production. In some cases, when snow is on the ground and the panels are clean, the snowy surface reflects sunlight and slightly boosts output. This mirror-type effect, called the albedo effect, also speeds the melt. It’s the same reason skiers can get sunburned on sunny winter days.  Additionally, melting snow is a natural panel cleaner, removing the layers of pollen, dust, bird droppings and leaf debris that accumulated during the previous seasons.

MYTH #4: Solar panels require a lot of maintenance

Solar panels are made to be durable and low maintenance, with many warranties exceeding 25 years.  More importantly, solar installers, including Solect, offer operations and maintenance services to ensure the optimal upkeep of all mechanical, electrical, and photovoltaic components of your solar system. Therefore, there is essentially nothing that you need to do to take care of the actual solar system after it is installed.

MYTH #5: Solar power is unreliable

Solar panels are actually very reliable for the entire duration of their (approximately) 25-year life span. As previously mentioned, they require very minimal upkeep and are built to last—and the reliability of solar panels will only continue to grow stronger as solar PV technology advances. Additionally, solar power continues to be deployed for a variety of public daily operations, which show its consistency and reliability; for instance: traffic and construction safety signs, railroad crossing signals and switches, streetlights, etc.

As battery storage technologies become more efficient and affordable, we’ll soon start to see many solar owners using less power from the grid, and becoming more self-reliant. Storage is one component that increases solar’s reliability by making solar energy available at times when your array is not producing energy (i.e. at night).

Now that we’ve exposed these common myths about solar energy, we hope you see that there is no reason to be scared away from going solar. The best way to obtain the most efficient and cost-effective system is to work with a solar company that develops a solar energy plan tailored to your particular energy goals and needs. The trick is to lock in a great incentive deal now; the treats are many: reliable energy throughout the year, reduced energy costs and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping the environment, too.