Ever since one of the first solar-powered residences in the U.S. sprang to life in 1973 (thanks to the University of Delaware), misperceptions about solar have persisted. So in the next 850 words, we’ll attempt to do what 40+ years of U.S. solar history has not – fill the information gap with brilliant solar facts!
Solar Myth #1: Solar Power Is Only For The Very Wealthy
States like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York account for 65% of all solar installations to date in the U.S. And in these areas, the overwhelming majority of solar customers are considered “middle income”, with household incomes between $45,000 and $150,000 annually. Further, in these four states the same study found that there are over 100,000 low-income (<$45,000 annually) solar households, representing over 532 megawatts of solar capacity. While this data may be shocking to those who consider solar power a luxury item, it’s no surprise to the millions of Americans who are taking a dollars and cents approach to solar. In 42 of America’s 50 largest cities, financing a residential solar energy system actually costs less than purchasing electricity from a customer’s local utility, according to a recent study. And if solar costs continue to decline – as they have by a whopping 60% over the past decade — that number is likely to increase further. So before you dismiss solar as something only for the country club set – be sure to get a free, no-obligation proposal from one of the many solar providers offering solar financing options that start as low as $0 down.
Solar Myth #2: Government Incentives Are Going Away
Saturday, April 29, marked President Trump’s 100th day in office. And although many solar proponents were initially concerned that one of his first moves might include eliminating the federal solar tax credit (also known as the investment tax credit or ITC) – those same naysayers are now cautiously optimistic. In fact, while the President did rollback healthcare coverage and environmental protections put in place by his predecessor, he has left the solar panels Obama installed on the White House intact. Plus, as states like Florida, Nevada and Virginia push more pro-solar legislation forward – it is unlikely that voters will let any step backward with regard to solar go unchallenged.
Solar Myth #3: I’ll Be Living In The Dark!
A common and frustratingly persistent myth is that using solar power means taking your home “off the grid” and thus, cutting the cord on a reliable power supply. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth! The overwhelming majority of American homes with solar power remain connected to the utility grid and enjoy modern conveniences like central air, heated pools and/or hot tubs. Rooftop solar systems work hand-in-hand with the utility grid to ensure you have all of the power you need every hour of the day, whether the sun is shining or not. Solar homeowners still receive a bill from their local utility, though it is just for the electricity needed above and beyond what the solar system generated, as well as any other fees charged by the utility. Since a south-facing solar system can easily offset 70-80% of a typical home’s electricity needs, going solar is about taking a giant leap forward – not getting back to basics.
Solar Myth #4: Solar Power Doesn’t Really Help The Planet
Sure, sunshine appears yellow to the untrained eye. But when you look at it the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does – it’s actually quite green. Since solar produces less lifecycle greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions than conventional fossil fuel energy sources, increasing the share of total electricity generated from renewable energy sources like solar power would mean a significant decrease in planet-warming CO2 emissions. And while skeptics are quick to point out that the manufacture and recycling of a solar system does generate some ghg emissions, the generation of energy from the solar system results in zero ghg emissions and zero environmental impact over its lifetime. What coal-fired power plant can say that?
Last but certainly not least, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that widespread solar adoption would significantly reduce nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and other air pollutants, all of which can cause health problems. NREL found that, among other health benefits, solar power results in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as lost workdays related to health issues. So, the more solar – the better, for all of us!
Solar Myth #5: Going Solar Is A Hassle
As federal regulators investigate whether certain solar companies intentionally hid their cancellation rates – it’s clear that the solar company you choose will have a huge impact on your experience harnessing the power of the sun. So why do potential solar adopters cancel? “There is significant variability in solar system installation times,” explained Frank Smith, Vice President, Field Operations for Crius Solar. “We’ve seen some providers take six months or more to install solar energy systems while others have been known to install in as little as eight weeks.”
Full-service solar providers like Crius Solar have a lot more control over the scheduling and quality of your solar system installation. So be sure the solar company you choose is extremely hands-on when it comes to managing what are essentially highly complex home improvement projects. And, since the average person in the United States is expected to relocate 11.4 times in their lifetime – find out your options if you move before you sign off on that solar proposal. The right solar provider will help make your transition easier when life moves happen.
Even with over one million solar installations in the U.S. today, it can be difficult to distinguish between what you’ve “heard” and the truth about this practical, reliable and planet-friendly energy option. If you’ve got a question about solar – get the facts. Our solar mythbusters are at your disposal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.298.9444.