Solar Energy Facts And Myths
Renewable energy myths are getting more common every day as these technologies spread throughout the country. It is important to establish the difference between facts and myths of these sources of energy.
That is why on this occasion we will focus on solar energy. We will give an insight into common solar energy myths and you will learn the truth about solar energy facts. Let's begin with myth #1!
Myth #1: Solar Energy Cannot Be Produced On Cloudy Days
There is a common misconception around solar energy production on cloudy days. It is usual to believe that solar energy cannot be produced at all when the sun is blocked by the clouds. However, the truth is better than that.
As we have discussed in one of the previous articles, solar panels use the kinetic energy of small particles contained in light called photons. Therefore, it is important to know that solar panels do not use heat, but the light from the Sun to generate electricity.
Solar radiation is generally expressed as the combination of two components. One of them is the Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), referred to the sunrays that directly reach the solar panels. This component is not shadowed or blocked by any surface or object. The second component of solar radiation is Diffused Horizontal Irradiance (DHI), commonly referred to the solar radiation that is reflected by other objects such as mountains or lakes.
The solar energy fact is that clouds also reflect the sunlight. Therefore, when the day is cloudy the DNI component cannot be used for solar energy generation, but the DHI component can be used as long as there is light during the day. The generation of electricity will be much less since the DNI component adds the highest amount of power to the solar array, but your solar panels will still produce electricity.
Myth #2: Solar Panels Are Always Better On The Roof
Another common solar energy myth is that the best is to install your solar panels on the roof. Rooftop installations, in fact, have great advantages that turn them into attractive options in most cases.
Rooftop installations generally provide better protection for the solar panels because they are located in a low access area. Shading losses are usually not high (unless there is a chimney or a tree blocking the system) since solar radiation generally reaches the solar panels directly. Moreover, solar panels also protect your roof from hail, snow, and other objects as well.
However, they also present some important disadvantages. Sometimes the roof needs to be upgraded which implies higher costs and it will still be perforated to attach the solar panels. Besides, maintenance is harder to be done and limits the size of the PV array.
The solar energy fact is that ground mounting options are a very nice choice for solar panel installation. They provide flexibility in the solar array design including size, tilt, and azimuth angles. Maintenance is also easy and solar panel cooling is much better in the ground mounting option. Besides, no modification to your roof is needed and tracking systems can be installed to improve the performance.
Always consider both options with your solar installer to make the best possible choice for your case.
Myth #3: My PV System Cannot Provide Me Electricity At Night
It is true that solar panels cannot produce electricity at night. As we have discussed previously if there is no light, there are no photons, if there are no photons, there is no electricity.
However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot obtain solar power at night. Large companies such as Tesla, LG Chem, and Sonnen have developed lithium-ion battery storage technologies suitable for solar panel installations.
Since solar energy is produced over the day, sometimes the consumption of electricity lags behind solar power production. Therefore, you have two options. One of them is feeding the excess energy to the grid and obtain electricity credits from your utility thanks to the Net Metering Scheme. Or, you could store the solar power produced for later use at night.
Sometimes the balance with Net Metering Scheme is not ideal for the small business owner, that’s when improving your self-consumption through a solar battery system can save the day!
Myth #4: Solar Panels Require A Lot Of Maintenance
Some people believe that in order for your solar panels to produce electricity, they need to be cleaned constantly, which can, in turn, be annoying and some people may say costly.
However, the solar energy fact is that solar panels require little maintenance over the year. All depends on the region where you are located. If your location is dusty or salty, then it is probable that you will need to clean your solar panels more frequently (maybe once every two or three months). However, if your location is not dusty or close to industrial activities, then you might be able to clean your solar panels once every six months.
Besides, the costs associated with maintenance are little to zero, since all that is truly needed is water and dishwashing soap. Some people purchase products such as Polywater to make maintenance even easier, although it is not necessary.
Switching To Solar Energy
Another misconception is that switching to solar power is hard and problematic. However, the truth is that it is as simple as switching your energy supplier from a fossil fuel agency to an experienced renewable energy supplier such as Phoenix Energy Group.
Focused on providing green electricity to New York City, Phoenix Energy Group understands deep electricity market concepts and only purchases power from wind and solar energy resources to provide its customer with a green and renewable solution for their energy needs.
Stop believing false solar and renewable energy myths, and ask us how to switch your electricity consumption from fossil sources to renewable energy and you will see how easy it is!