Busted! Don’t Believe These Myths About Solar Energy!
Solar energy has been around for decades, and with each passing year, solar panels are getting more efficient and economical. Home and businesses across the world are tapping into this renewable market and leveraging solar power in an attempt to become more energy efficient.
While solar energy is known to foster a green future, many are still skeptical about making the switch and going solar. Often, this is due to age-old myths that continue to persist, and modern-day misinformation that is widely spread.
To help you steer clear of these misconceptions and false facts, Uptown Energy Solutions has debunked some of the most widely believed myths about solar energy.
Myth 1: Solar costs non-solar owners money by shifting grid maintenance costs.
There are two reasons this myth perpetuates. First, it is due to the “common sense” rationale associated with this myth. It is believed that if solar consumers pay less to electric utility companies, then they must not be paying their “fair share” for grid maintenance, and non-solar customers must be making up for it by paying more. This is not entirely true.
The second reason this myth still exists is that it is challenging to bust this myth once and for all. Many of those that we hold in high regard and have always relied on for accurate information have a lot of incentive to not only allow this myth to remain alive but to perpetuate and feed it. These are the utility companies and those they are closest to such as the lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, PR and marketing experts, and even some contractors.
Frank Andorka of SolarWakeup and PV Magazine has even repeatedly referred to this as the “Zombie lie,” it just can’t seem to be stopped. To find out more about this, click here.
Today, we at Uptown Energy Solutions put on our critical thinking hats in hopes to squash this Zombie lie once and for all. To do this, let's break the reasoning out into three separate parts :
“Solar customers are paying less to electric utility companies.”
This is one piece that is naturally true. These include the home or business owners who have installed a solar-energy generator on their property and harvest energy from the Sun themselves. They, therefore, don’t need to pay as much money to the utility company. Pretty cut and dry here.
“Solar consumers are not paying their fair share for grid maintenance.”
Now, what exactly does “fair share” mean? As far as we can tell, it is meant that an individual should pay in proportion to the costs they create.
So, let’s talk for a moment about where “grid maintenance” costs come from. In the centralized electric distribution system that we are all familiar with, first a central power plant will generate electricity, then the electricity will be carried over long distances via large cables on large towers. Following which, the energy is “stepped down” at a local distribution hub, and dispersed to individuals and businesses within a community via smaller cables either underground or strung across small poles.
Each of the components of the grid require:
a) Maintenance due to wear and tear over time.
b) Upgrades to account for increased demand, i.e., to carry more power to more people.
Of course, utilities recover the costs of these activities from their customers which are most likely shown on your bill as a “non-fuel” charge.
The interesting part is that installing a solar energy system will actually decrease all upgrade costs as it will reduce demand on the grid, and will have no effect on wear and tear maintenance costs.
Now ask yourself, if you do something which reduces your utilities’ incurred costs, would you continue paying the same amount?
Solar customers reduce the maintenance costs that a utility is responsible for by decreasing demand for utility-provided power; therefore, slowing the need for additional power plants, towers, poles, and transmission lines to be built or upgraded. So, doesn’t it make more sense to pay a little less for those activities as well?
“Non-solar customer must be making up for it by paying more.”
This was partially addressed by the rationale above that solar customers pay less, but they simultaneously reduce total costs, so there really is no need for non-solar customers to pay more.
But, here’s the really fun part: numerous studies have shown that below 10% penetration, distributed solar energy systems actually have a net savings effect for all customers, solar and non-solar alike! Even after 10% penetration, and under worst-case conditions, the “shift is only 5/1,000 of a cent per kilowatt-hour.
Who conducted these studies? The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as well as sixteen different state-level agencies.
At Uptown Energy Solutions, we aim to disprove this myth by maintaining a close eye on new studies as they are released and will continue to educate you.
Myth 2: Installing a solar energy system is too costly, and not an effective use of capital.
This myth is still commonly believed because solar energy systems were expensive for a long time, and there is no easy way for an individual to disprove this myth for themselves.
At Uptown Energy Solutions, we tell a potential customer to keep in mind that there is no “requirement” for the amount of money you spend on your solar energy system. Moreover, our professionals will help you customize a solar solution to meet your financial, environmental, and marketing goals.
Want to maximize your gross savings? Want to find the “sweet spot” and maximize your ROI? Want to source 100% of your electricity from clean solar? Want to be cash-flow positive from day one? Want to dip your toes, test the waters, and expand your investment later?
The solar professionals at Uptown Energy Solutions will tailor a solution to fit your solar style and accommodate your budget. We also clarify what our customers’ investment goals are from the very beginning to make sure we don’t steer down the wrong path.
Myth 3: Solar panels create danger during Hurricanes.
Solar panels turn into "sails" or "kits" during hurricanes, right? Well... no, not at all actually.
Though this may seem intuitively true, that just isn't how wind pressures and forces work when traveling over a solar system.
Because solar panels are rigid, they wont flex or contour when subject to winds the way that kites and sails do. Also, the nature of wind pressure is such that as long as the air is moving across both the top and the bottom of a solar panels, the force in the upward direction away from the roof is really quite low.
Do yourself a favor and simply do a search for "Solar Panels after Hurricanes" and look at some of the image results - you may be surprised to see that most of the pictures show that not only is this myth false, but it is exactly backwards.
Due to strict building codes in areas prone to hurricanes, as well as the strength of today's solar equipment, often times solar panels actually protect the roof from damage!
Myth 4: A solar energy panel causes roof leaks.
This is a big issue because leaks were a common problem with old solar mounting technology and techniques. Also, we all know that bad news travels twice as far in half the time. So, even though few customers suffer from leaky roofs after a solar installation, this issue becomes a big talking point for frustrated customers and anti-solar advocates.
Solar technology has come a long way, and that includes advancements on how a solar system can be mounted on your building. As the industry has grown, equipment manufacturers have been able to spend more time and money developing new mounting feet and flashings which are both more effective at preventing leaks and easier to install.
Solar contractors are also growing, becoming more educated, and focusing more on providing high-quality solar installations to improve their reputation and beat their competition, even if it results in a slight increase to their labor costs.
Solar integrated roofing can be appealing to customers who want to reduce the risk of water damage in their home or business and can afford slightly higher upfront costs. Many of these technologies can require far fewer and far smaller penetrations through the underlying weather barrier when compared to traditional rack-mounted solar panels.
Also, roof-penetrating racking is not your only option. Many commercial customers are opting for ballasted or ground-mounted solar racking over roof-penetrating systems for this very same reason. Unfortunately, with ballasted systems, the structure must be rated to hold the significant weight needed to meet local wind rating requirements.
We can combat this myth by offering information and consultation services regarding all of the above technologies. If our customer chooses a traditional rack-mounted solar over a roof-integrated or ballasted system, we will be sure to pay a lot of attention not only to the type of racking a contractor offers but also to their licensing, professionalism, workmanship warranty and project history.
For full-service solar energy brokers in Orlando, FL, reach out to Uptown Energy Solutions. We have created a suite of services to ensure you get the right solar panel for your home or office and at the best possible price. Our experts are also trained to provide you with unbiased knowledge and personal support to make the shift to solar simple.