Where natural resources are dwindling as days go by, many individuals are upgrading their houses with solar panels to reduce carbon footprint. Regardless of the overwhelming residential solar installations growth, misconceptions still circulate, here are some of the myths about solar panel refuted with proof.
Myth #1: Solar Panel installation reduces electricity bills
The partial aspect of this myth is based on the truth. Solar panel usage reduces electricity bills, but it depends on the method you use to generate power. Using dishwashers or washing machines during the day reduces the utility of heavy working machinery, saving electricity consumption. With it, the grid-connected electricity bills also reduce.
Any excess solar energy not used during the day issues a ‘feed-in tariff.’ This is the credited amount gifted to the user, which reduces around 45% of the electricity bill.
Myth #2: A house with Solar panels stop working on cloudy days
This is a common myth and is completely false. Solar panels work on solar energy and not sunlight. Even if the generated solar energy during cloudy weather remains less due to the presence of clouds or absorbed solar radiation, solar panels continue working. Compared to sunny days, their performance goes down but they are able to generate around 10% to 25% of the power.
Myth #3: High temperature prevents solar panels to work
During elevated temperature, the efficiency of the industrial solar panel reduces slightly. However, it continues working. The power temperature coefficient determines the power lost during high-temperature days. The calculation states 0.4% per °C, calculated above 25°C.
- When the temperature is around 25°C (depending on the panel and wind orientation), the cell efficiency reduces to produce 90% to 92% of power output instead of 100%.
- During an extremely hot day with the temperature closing around 45°C, the power output decreases between 12% and 18% but does not stop working.
Myth #4: Constant maintenance is a must for solar panels
Regular and timely cleaning of PV panels and solar cells is essential for proper functioning. However, the frequency is not as painstaking as people assume it to be. If the solar panels are connected to the utility grid, the maintenance becomes easier.
Solar panels are constructed to withstand harsh weather. You simply need to clean the panel to remove:
- Dried or soggy leaves
- Bird droppings
Myth #5: Solar panels are made up of toxic materials & can’t be recycled
Claims related to toxic material made rounds around 2010 when the panels were made up of ‘amorphous’ or obsolete thin-film materials. But currently, around 96% of solar panels are created with polymer cased silicon crystalline PV cells and protected by an aluminum frame and glass front. Aside from traces of lead (negligible), no toxic materials are in use.
Many houses with solar panels are designed to last for more than 30 years. And when it reaches its EOF (end of life) span, the panels are recycled in solar panel recycling centers under Recycle PV plans. The solar panel can’t be recycled is a definite myth as its materials comprise of:
- Silicon solar cells
- Variety of metals
- Glass (72%)
All of these are recyclable.
Myth #6: Solar panels use less energy to produce than manufacture
Solar panels manufacturers use a mix of plastic, silicon, aluminum, and glass. All have different resources and energy levels. Extraction, refinement, production, and transportation in combination create embodied energy.
A normal house with solar panels generates ample energy that repays the generated embodied energy within 5 years. Where a quality solar panel lasts around 23 to 30 years, the repayment of embodied energy shows the fact to be a myth.
Myth #7: Solar panels use a tracking system to follow the sun
Reality gets a science check. The design and mounting angle for both residential and industrial solar panels ask for installation in a specific tilted angle. This allows the panel to absorb maximum exposure from the sun.
The solar trackers are basically created for industrial solar panels and not for residential use.
- Dual-axis trackers – allows panel movements on two axes
- Single-axis tracker – allows panel movements on one axis
The future lies with the efficient energy source – residential and industrial solar panel. Forecast from The Department of Energy stated that buildings will generate 78% of photovoltaic energy by 2030.Debunking myths circulating around solar panels is just a step to educate people on how solar power utility can not only benefit them but become a cost-effective method to consume power.