Don’t be fooled when looking to purchase a solar system. There are a number of myths that are repeated, again and again, by bad salespeople who are more interested in making a sale than helping homeowners. Be on the lookout for these top solar myths:
Myth #1: You will not have an electric utility bill anymore.
It is possible to eliminate electric utility charges, but for nearly all homeowners it is very impractical to do so. First, you need to remain connected to the grid for electricity when the sun is not shining, or when you’re using more energy than your system is producing.
Myth #2: The government will pay you to go solar.
The Federal and some State governments do have tax incentives, mostly tax credits, for homeowners who choose to purchase solar for their homes, but they will not pay you to go solar. Check with a tax professional to see if you’ll qualify.
Myth #3: Solar will power your home when the grid is out.
This is not true for a grid-connect solar system without adequate battery storage. Solar electric systems are designed to turn off when the grid goes down to prevent injury to utility workers on the grid repairing the problem.
Myth #4: Your electric bill will never be higher than a specific amount, guaranteed.
A salesperson cannot guarantee that your electric bill will be any amount after you have solar installed. Nobody knows if you will increase or decrease your electric usage in the future. Nobody knows how you will use energy, or what times of the day you will use it – both of which can affect the amount of your electric bill.
Myth #5: Solar is maintenance free for 25 years, or more.
No, it’s not maintenance free, but it may require very little maintenance if it is designed correctly, using high-quality components and is installed using the industry’s highest quality workmanship standards.
Myth #6: You can use as much energy as you want after your solar system is installed.
Just as utility savings cannot be guaranteed with solar, you cannot use more energy after you buy solar and still have the same savings expectations. Your usage after you buy a solar system will affect your electric bill.
Myth #7: You can sell your solar energy to the utility company or your neighbors.
This is not exactly true, but under some net metering, or export rate rules, your utility company will credit your bill for some, or all, unused solar energy, and sell it to other consumers.
Myth #8: If everybody installs solar, we will not need utility companies and the grid anymore.
There is technology, like battery storage, energy management, demand management, grid management and more to help us achieve this goal, someday, but that’s years in the future.
Myth #9: Utility rates will increase X% every year, just like they always have.
The last rate change is not necessarily representative of what will happen in the future. It’s important to look at the historical rate changes in your area. If your solar salesperson is using utility rate escalation to predict your future savings, make sure it’s a fair and practical figure. If it sounds too good, ask for justification.
Myth #10: Solar will heat your pool and give you hot water.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a solar hot water system will produce electricity like a solar PV system. Solar hot water systems cost a lot less, but they are limited to only helping you reduce the cost of heating water. Solar PV systems produce electricity that can be used by anything that uses electricity to operate.
Myth #11: This solar system is so efficient it produces twice as much (or more) energy and savings than any other system you can buy.
Some solar PV systems are more effective at converting solar energy into electricity than others, but the differences are not more than about 20%. Your solar consultant should be able to help you understand the pros and cons and find the best option for your home and goals.
Myth #12: We are UNIQUE because we design and install your system according to NEC and UL standards.
All companies are required to design and install your system according to NEC and UL standards for all solar installations! A good solar consultant, with a great solar contractor, will stress how they go beyond NEC and UL standards to ensure the greatest energy producing performance of your system, for more than 25 years.