The 10 Biggest Lies About Solar Power
The solar power industry had a bad rep for a long time. Sometimes justifiably, because there were too many companies mis-selling unsuitable systems, making dodgy claims on savings, and disappearing once the deal was sealed. It’s the main reason we set up Naked – to give you full information about solar and help you make a great choice for your lifestyle and home or business.
Solar power is such a win-win for everyone – owners, businesses and the environment – that it doesn’t need to be hard sold to make it attractive. It would be a shame if the myths you hear every day put you off considering solar. So here are the top 10 lies you might hear…
1. You don’t own your solar panels so they’ll devalue your house.
Some companies did this in the bad old days when the government’s generous subsidies meant companies offered to set up solar on customers’ roofs for a pittance. The catch was that the panels were owned by the installation company, who took the profits generated by the panels. Naked, along with many other companies, have never and would never recommend this route for customers. The panels you buy are your own and a government investigation showed that solar will increase the value of your home.
2. Solar panels only work properly in the summer.
Solar works on daylight, and solar arrays work even more efficiently in winter. Because panels like the cold! Energy is generated from light, not heat, so a bright sunny day in December can be nearly as productive as a warm day in June. It’s true that you won’t get as much energy when it’s cloudy, but with recent advances in technology and the addition of battery storage, we’re seeing customers achieving up to 90% reduction in their bills!
3. The carbon footprint of manufacturing a solar panel is greater than the CO2e it will save in its lifetime, so they’re actually bad for the environment.
There’s a carbon footprint in the manufacture, transport, installation and disposal of solar panels. But the CO2e payback – ie how long the solar panel must generate electricity to offset the CO2e used to create it, has now fallen to under 1 year for the most efficient panels up to 1.5 years for the least efficient panels. This is down from about 3 years a decade ago. So yes, initially solar panels create a carbon footprint, but over their lifetime they are hugely carbon negative. Compared to fossil fuels, watt for watt they are at least 11 times more efficient.
4. Solar is uneconomical now FIT has gone.
Solar panels are getting much more efficient, producing more power, and the cost has plummeted recently. On top of that – the government’s new Smart Export Guarantee means you’ll be paid for your excess energy by the utility companies again anyway
5. Solar panels just heat your water up when it’s hot anyway.
This is confusion between solar PV systems that generate electricity using battery storage to power your whole home all year round, and solar thermal systems, which are dedicated to heating your water only. They are very different. Solar thermal is excellent at providing hot water, but solar PV is much more versatile and suitable for most homes and businesses and the genrated electric can also be used to heat water.
6. Solar panels are still very inefficient and can never fully power your home.
Solar panel efficiency has increased dramatically in recent years. Coupled with a good battery system and immersion diverter, many of our customers are seeing their bills now reduced by up to 90%. True energy independence is around the corner!
7. Solar panels break down easily and are difficult to fix
Actually, especially with recent developments in panel technology, they’re very low maintenance. As long as your system is installed correctly by a team who know what they’re doing, problems should be few and far between. The best solar panel manufacturers now offer a 25 year guarantee – such is their confidence in their products. And in the rare cases that a problem does arise, Naked are always here to help.
8. Solar only works with a south facing roof.
Many people think you must have a south-facing roof for solar panels to work. It’s true that south facing offers maximum sun exposure. But it’s more complicated than that. As most arrays generate more energy in the summer than the property can use and don’t’ generate enough in the winter, having an array with a steeper pitch, e.g. 60° would increase your winter generation and reduce your summer generation. So even though the overall generation would be lower, you’d be able to reduce your bills more.Additionally, east-west facing roofs give you a more even spread of power morning to evening and can have a bigger impact on bills, because you’re less likely to send excess energy back to the grid.
9. Solar panels are ugly and you can’t install them in conservation areas
This is given as the number 1 reservation by about a third of our customers. The truth is, there’s now a huge range of panels to choose from, including all black, coloured, integrated into your roof panels and now even solar tiles that look like slates. Take a look at our guide to Solar Panel aesthetics.
10. Government subsidies for solar are based on your postcode.
We’ve seen quite a few of these ads recently popping up on Facebook and news sites. They ask you to key in your postcode to SEE IF YOU’RE ELIGIBLE FOR A GRANT. This is nonsense. The Feed in Tariff has ended. It has been replaced by the Export Guarantee, which means utility companies will have to pay you for any excess power you send back to the grid. None of it is dependent on where you live.