- Date: October 18, 2013
More and more Americans are discovering the truth about solar: It saves money and helps the planet. In fact, every four minutes another American family installs solar panels on their home. A clear indication that solar energy has become a cost-effective energy option for homeowners .
But mistaken beliefs about solar persist—it’s too expensive, too complicated, too unreliable. Going solar really is far easier and less costly than most folks think. Below we debunk the most persistent myths about solar panels.
Myth #1: Solar panels are too expensive for me.
Fact: 97% of Americans overestimate the cost of solar panels. The reality is that the cost of solar panels has dropped 80 percent since 2008. In fact, most homeowners choosing solar are middle-income families looking for ways to help keep household costs down. Lease options now let homeowners go solar with zero up-front costs and savings on their energy bill every month thereafter. If you choose to buy solar panels, they are more affordable than ever—saving homeowners even more money in the long run.
Myth #2: Installing solar is complicated.
Fact: It doesn’t have to be. Once you request a solar quote, most solar companies offer a free consultation. They’ll tell you how much you can save and answer all of your questions. And the solar company often takes care of the permits, inspections and other paperwork for you before installing panels on your roof.
Myth #3: Solar panels are unreliable.
Fact: With no moving parts to wear out, solar panels are very reliable. Most panels produce electricity for more than 20 years and most installers offer 25 year warrantees. Actually, many of the first solar systems installed in the 1970s are still producing power today. The U.S. military is one of the largest users of solar, relying on the technology for dependable energy to power their bases both home and abroad.
Myth #4: Solar won’t work in cold or cloudy states.
Fact: You don’t need bright sunny days for solar to make sense. In fact, cold and cloudy Germany (which gets less sun than every state in the Lower 48) is the world leader in solar power, producing about five times as much solar power as the United States. States such as Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts are right up there with California and Arizona as states with the most amount of solar energy available per person. Snowy conditions actually help solar panels work better because sunlight reflects off of the snow.
Myth #5: Solar will hurt my home’s resale value.
Fact: Quite the opposite. A study by National Renewable Energy Labs found that homes with solar panels on average sold 20 percent faster than other homes, and for 17 percent more money than non-solar homes. And according to the Appraisal Journal, your home’s value rises $20,000 for every $1,000 in reduced yearly electricity cost.
Myth #6: Solar panels are ugly and bulky.
Fact: Gone are the cumbersome, obtrusive-looking solar panels of the 1970s. Modern solar panels give homes a sleek and sophisticated look by closely contouring to your roof. And people seem to like them since homes with solar panels sell faster and for more money than those without.
Myth #7: I won’t live in my house long enough to get my investment back.
Fact: If you choose to lease rather than buy your panels, in many states there are no up-front costs and monthly savings begin immediately. If you sell your home before your lease is up you can transfer the lease (and cost savings) on to the home buyer. For those that choose to buy, the time it takes to recoup your investment may be just a few years since installing a solar system adds to the resale value of your home.