Adding a solar power system to your home is a big decision, but it can be a great way to reduce your utility expenses, qualify for tax breaks or deductions, and add value to your home. Furthermore, as a renewable energy source, they are a much cleaner energy source than traditional fossil fuels and are in general much better for the environment.

However, being a relatively new and unknown source of energy, people often have misconceptions about solar panels, how they work, and how they can be used on homes.

So today, we’re going to be going over 6 cool facts about solar panels while also debunking some common misconceptions about them.

Without further adieu, let’s get started!

Solar Panels on a Roof

No Moving Parts

One of the reasons that solar panels have such a great warranty is that the panels themselves have no moving parts. Energy from the sun hits the panel, and the panel converts it to energy. That energy is routed to your home via a charge controller and fed into a battery, which either routes it for alternating current or sends it to a DC outlet.

When Will I See a Return on My Investment?

The ROI on solar is directly tied to the price you pay for the system and for the install. If you’re big into DIY, are comfortable crawling around on your roof, and are sure that you can seal up any holes where the wires pass through, then a DIY solar install may be the best option.

That being said, this is not a DIY project to tackle on your first time out. Falling off the roof is dangerous and leaks are expensive. You may be able to get a better deal if you buy your own panels and hire an installer. Whatever choice you make, avoid putting yourself at risk.

Related Post: 11 Fascinating Ways Solar Energy Is Used in 2020

What About Used Panels?

Because solar panels have few moving parts, used solar panels have a significant market and may be a more affordable alternative to buying completely new solar panels.

Be aware, however, that solar technology is advancing at an exponential rate. Older panels may be heavier and may be less efficient per square inch than newer panels.

On that note, if you can find a good deal on a used panel array (and you can find somebody to help you test for its functionality), then investing in used panels can be a great way to lower the cost of your solar power system.

Will I Have Enough Power?

Unless you’re going completely off-grid, your solar power system will be your primary source of electricity and the grid will be your backup. Your solar power system will include battery storage, and these storage batteries will power your home overnight.

It should be noted that there are factors that will require a grid connection. If your inverter or your charge controller fails, you will need grid backup. Should a battery come to the end of its life, you will need the grid. On days of high power draw, such as when your air conditioning runs all day, you’ll be happy you’re still tied to the grid.

Bottom line?

For most days, the average-sized solar panel array should provide you with enough stored electricity to power your entire home. However, it’s always a good idea to be connected to your local power grid as a backup when needed, just in case.

Do Solar Panels Work in Winter?

A common misconception is that solar panels produce very little energy, or no energy at all during the cold, snowy winter months.

Snow slips off solar panels / Photo © David Hawgood licensed under CC-BY-SA/2.0

However, the truth is solar panels and solar energy systems are powered by light, not by heat, so they will continue to fuel your home as long as light hits them, regardless of the temperature.

Thus, as long as clouds aren’t blocking the sun and your panels are cleared of snow, solar panels will still produce energy during the winter, even if you live in an area that is cold or snowy!

Of course, snow will reduce solar energy output, but over the long term, the energy you lose will be very minimal compared to your solar array’s annual energy output.

Here’s why:

The majority of annual sunlight comes during the summer, where days are longer and the sun’s energy is more concentrated. This means that a few days of snow covering your solar panels won’t make a big difference in annual energy production, in the long-run.

Learn More: Do Solar Panels Work in Winter (or in a Cold Winter Climate)?

Can I Sell My Power Back to the Grid?

The grid is required by law in many states to buy power back from you. However, utilities also need to make money, and if they can’t make it by selling you power, there may be fees associated with selling power back.

This landscape, too, keeps changing, so check your local regulations when determining the size of your solar array.

Will I Lower the Value of My House?

One of the common solar myths is that it will take too long to get your money back out of the system. Again, ROI is mostly related to the initial cost of purchasing and installing the solar panels, particularly labor cost.

Two workers installing a solar panel on the roof of a house

That being said, a properly installed solar power system should pay for itself in no more than nine years at the highest install price. Most warranties are good for 25 years or so, so your investment is quite secure.

As Unbound Solar says, “solar panels increase home value because homebuyers are prepared to pay more for a solar home. Even if you don’t live in your home long enough to reach the payback point, the higher sale price you can command with solar could more than cover your investment”.

Thus, if you need to sell your home before the solar system pays for itself, do your best to include a video of your electric meter spinning backward on a nice sunny day. Your new buyers will be very interested in the savings that your home can offer over time, and you can recoup your investment through the sale of your house.

The bottom line?

Solar panels increase home value because homebuyers are prepared to pay more for a solar home that can provide energy savings in the future.

Even if you don’t live in your home long enough to reach the payback point, the higher sale price you can command with solar might more than cover your investment.

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