Myths About Solar

The solar industry is full of myths and misconceptions that reduce the intent to go solar for the average homeowner. Many such myths are based on wrong concepts or interpretations that are promoted by people who have listened to advocates for fossil fuel.

Here we will discuss the most important myths and explain why they are based on false statements.

Here we go!

 

You might also like: 5 Common Myths About Solar Panels Busted

 

Myth #1. Solar Energy Is Too Expensive

This is one of the typical solar energy myths.

Back in 2009, this was certainly true. Installing a 2 MW PV system at utility-scale was extremely expensive (around $13 million) and demanded a great amount of subsidy from governments to make solar power plants attractive for the investors.

Moreover, generating 1 MWh of solar energy actually meant a cost of almost $550.

However, today things have changed.

Today it is cheaper to install a large solar PV crystalline utility-scale plant than a conventional IGCC, nuclear or coal power plant.

Actually, when 1 MWh of electricity is generated from coal sources, that generation could cost anywhere between $80-$190.

On the other hand, to generate 1 MWh of electricity from solar PV using crystalline technology, the estimated costs are somewhere between $60 and $70!

Moreover, installing a 2 MW PV power plant now costs around $3.3 million! That's a reduction of nearly 80% in costs! Who can beat that?!

The best thing is that according to experts, costs will actually continue to reduce up until around 2025 when a 2 MW PV project could cost only 2.2 million.

 

Global weighted average utility-scale solar PV total installed costs, 2009-2025

 

Myth #2. Solar Energy Is Dangerous for the Power Grid

This is another common myth.

Given the unstable nature of solar energy, some people argue that it is damaging for the power grid operation.

However, the truth is that the grid operator is capable of administering energy sources from different power plants in order to meet the demand in every instant.

Simply, if there is an unforeseen reduction in electricity production from solar power plants, the grid operator is able to switch or replace the missing generation to another source like hydropower or wind energy.

The advantage of electricity markets is that different entities or companies from different sources of energy want to have their share in the electricity production for a country.

Put simply, what is not generated from solar power will be replaced by other stable renewable sources like biomass or hydropower.

 

Myth #3. I Can Power My Home With Solar Energy During Blackout

Here the answer is not so clear.

The reason is that whether or not you can power your home using solar energy when the power grid goes out, will depend on the type of PV system you use.

If you have installed a PV system with energy storage, then you will indeed be able to use your generated solar energy to power appliances in your house when there is no energy coming from the power grid.

This is possible because you have installed solar batteries.

However, if you have installed a grid-tied PV system (the common choice), then it will not be possible to use your generated solar energy in the presence of a blackout.

The reason is related to the technical requirements of the utility companies that demand all PV systems be disconnected automatically from the grid when there is a failure in the power grid. This is also a safety measure for the people who may need to work on or touch solar panels during this time.

Since a grid-tied PV system won't be able to work reliably on its own, you will be left without power during the blackout.

 

Myth #4. Solar Energy Works Perfectly in Extremely Hot Places

It is a common assumption: the hotter the place is, the better it is for solar energy production.

When people think of this statement they generally associate an excess of heat with a higher production of solar energy.

However, they tend to forget that solar panels transform sunlight into electricity, not heat.

The excess of heat generally implies higher temperatures and humidity values.

However, increasing temperatures reduce the voltage of the solar panels and after some point reduces their efficiency as well.

Moreover, in many cases, extremely hot places are also very humid.

Elevated humidity values also reduce the efficiency of solar panels and the extra moisture in the air can lead to problems like corrosion and leakage of currents.

The ideal location for solar energy harvesting is the one with good solar irradiation values, but reasonable temperature ranges.

 

Myth #5. Solar Electricity Cannot Be Produced on Cloudy Days

This is a reasonable myth.

“If the day is cloudy then my solar panels will not generate electricity at all”.

However, the truth is actually positive.

Despite the fact that a cloudy day does indeed represent a less productive day in terms of solar energy production, the truth is that your solar panels will still keep producing solar energy.

The reason is that solar irradiance is available in two ways: direct normal irradiance (DNI) and also diffused horizontal irradiance (DHI).

DNI refers to the irradiance that directly impacts the solar panels. On a cloudy day, DNI values should be minimum indeed.

But, DHI refers to the irradiance that is reflected from both the clouds and the ground which impacts on the solar panels. That is the reason why on a cloudy day there is still light available.

Conclusion

These are common myths behind solar energy, but there are many more that are based on false assumptions the same as these are.

The best way to make sure if they are truth or myth is to research the topic from a non-biased web page, or ask your solar installer!

Next Step

If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!

Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.

Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.

Photo credit: Depositphotos

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