The United States currently has enough solar installations to power 4.3 million homes. Earlier this month, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan which will incentivize solar installations even further in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. With solar energy rising like… well, you know… let’s take a look at some common misconceptions that get in the way of GOING SOLAR!
The photovoltaic effect, the creation of electric current from exposure to light, is not new. It was first observed in 1839, and the first solar cell was developed by Charles Fritts in 1883. Things have changed to a degree, as efficiencies and aesthetics have improved, but the underlying technology hasn’t changed. The modern silicon cell was first introduced in 1954 and solar energy has since powered everything from cellular networks to space exploration. At TerraSol Energies, we’ve inspected systems installed in the 1980s that are still producing 90% of their rated power over 30 years later!
2. Solar Only Works in Warm Climates
While the “sunny states” like California receive the most attention, solar makes sense across the United States. In 2014, the top ten states for solar included northeastern states as well like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Germany, which has the most installed solar capacity in the world, receives sunshine comparable to Seattle.
3. All Solar Panels Are Created Equal
While solar panel efficiency and raw materials have improved, not all companies aim to put out the best product. Beware the cheap, foreign-manufactured panels with which the market has been flooded. Instead, look for a reputable company like SunPower with a long history of quality and industry-best warranties on both product and power production for 25 years!
4. Solar Panels Are Unattractive
Some companies have accommodated for a frequent complaint regarding solar energy- curb appeal! SunPower offers all black panels and a new racking system that makes the panels appear to float on your roof without visible rails. Combined with a sensible design, these systems are often described as appearing like a large skylight rather than a solar installation.
5. Solar is Too Expensive
From 2011 to 2014 the price of solar panels decreased 60% and is expected to drop a further 40% over the next 2 years. With a 30% Federal Tax Credit and state incentives available it has never been more affordable to GO SOLAR!