4 Common Myths about Solar Debunked
1. Canada doesn’t have optimal weather for solar power.
When people think of Canada, they think of cold, snowy and cloudy weather. Most of Canada have more sun-hours annually than Germany and the UK, both of which are in the top 6 countries in the world for solar capacity. PV panels can create power using both direct and indirect sunlight, however, they are most effective under direct sunshine. On cloudy or rainy days, panels can still generate up to 25% of peak potential.
Light snowfalls should not pose a problem because the angle of the panels and the electrical current running through them will prevent light snow from settling on the panels and even panels covered with snow can still generate slight amounts of electricity. Also, solar panels are more efficient in cold temperatures than hot temperatures because conductivity increase in colder environments. Panels produce more energy during the summer due to longer daylight hours, but cell efficiency is higher in winter weather.
2. Solar panels do not last very long and are high-maintenance.
The panels have a 25-year power output warranty, which covers most of the 30- to 40-year lifespan and they are, in fact, extremely low-maintenance. Every time it rains, the rain actually washes away any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the panels to keep them operating efficiently. They only need to be washed with water if debris has not run off during rainfall.
Even with no cleaning, the performance of dirty panels only decreases by less than 10% of maximum efficiency and since the panels do not contain moving parts, maintenance is not required due to usage.
3. If year after year the costs of solar continue to decrease, while technology advances make solar cells and panels more efficient, then I should just wait to purchase a solar array.
Electricity prices are ever-increasing and the sooner you invest in solar, the sooner you can hedge against the unpredictable rise in energy costs. While technological advances happen constantly, the current cell structure of mass-produced panels is well-established, and we have been using similar solar technology since the 1960s.
Even with recent discoveries of more efficient cell technology, it will take many years for those discoveries to appear in mass-produced panels and be affordable to the average homeowner. Many provinces and states currently offer incentives and rebates for homeowners who wish to install solar panels. These benefits are often in limited quantity and may run out the longer you wait.
Locations in which service providers offer net-metering allows homeowners to reap the benefits as soon as a PV system is installed. Excess energy generated from day one can be sent back to the grid and sold for credit to use on your next electricity bill. So, what are you waiting for?
4. My roof will be easily damaged by installing solar or the panels do not look good.
Solar panels are not installed directly onto your roof, but actually sit on a mounted railing system. Some solar companies use a triple-layered racking system with aluminum flashing at the mounting points. This ensures that the system is watertight. Our technicians also install critter guards along the edges of the arrays so small animals cannot get at the cables and wires.
A solar array will also increase the lifespan of your roofing material because it shields the roof underneath the panels from the elements. There are a few inches between an installed solar system and your roof that increase air flow and the panels weigh similar to a secondary layer of shingles
Now, whether solar panels appear aesthetically pleasing is subjective, but installers can try to position panels in areas on your roof that are less visible, while maintaining close to optimum efficiency. Depending on the size of your property, you may also choose to install a ground-mounted system, so the look of your home remains uncompromised. Also, some solar panels even have a black frame that may better blend in with the color of your roof.
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