A simple search on Google for “solar panels” generates no less than 44,900,000 results. Solar energy is a hot topic these days. The amount of photovoltaic modulesconnected to the grid has grown in recent years. As of May 2016, more than one million solar installations are generating electricity in the United States alone. More than that, solar energy is expected to add more than 9.5 GW to the global power grid by the end of 2016.
The interest for clean energy is getting bigger every day. But, while you are reading these lines, articles are created, and opinions are formed, many of which will ultimately result in misunderstandings. Focused on educating its clients on the benefits of solar energy, Tamesol has made it its purpose to debunk the most common myths about purchasing solar panels.
With that in mind, let’s take a moment to separate facts from fiction.
1. Solar panels are too expensive
Solar panels have a reputation for being insanely expensive. Instead of seeing them as a long-term investment, most clients perceive them as a luxury purchase. And, they were entitled to do so. For far too long, solar panels were extremely expensive. Up until the last few decades, they represented a serious investment for any organization (residential buyers couldn’t even imagine buying them.) But, the cost of purchasing and installing solar modules has dropped dramatically in recent years. At the same time, their performance and efficiency have improved significantly. More than that, thanks to various government grants and financing, businesses can get great deals and are now able to meet their energy needs with solar power.
2. All solar panels are the same
With thousands of brands being sold across the world, it’s hard to tell the difference between various types of solar panels. Most companies offer the same information – 10-year product warranty, 25-year performance warranty, and a power rating (usually around 250 WP.) So, it’s no wonder that most people think that there’s no difference between different solar panel brands.
The best way to judge the superiority of a brand over other is to ask for project references in other countries. If there is evidence that certain solar panels are used in large projects in various markets, chances are they will work in your market, as well.
3. The country of origin affects the quality of solar panels
There’s a common misconception among businesses and individuals alike that German-engineered solar panels are the best. Judging a product by its country of origin is just a way of oversimplifying quality by giving an emotional motivation to buyers.
The photovoltaic industry saw tremendous growth in recent years. While some manufacturers were able to adapt to the new realities of the market, others were eclipsed by the rapid changes. More than that, renowned manufacturers tend to open facilities in different locations. So, it’s not fair to assume that the quality of a product has anything to do with where the company is operating. For instance, a solar panel made in China is thought to be less efficient than one manufactured in a non-Asian market. However, more than 90% of solar panels imported in Australia in 2013 were made in China. With such an impressive market penetration level, it’s hard to believe that Chinese solar panels are of inferior quality.
4. The tier system is too confusing
The PV industry has tried for years to come up with a methodology that will allow regulators to rank the performance and efficiency of various brands of solar panels. Not able to find a reliable system, many have borrowed the terminology used in financing.
The tier system is a ranking methodology used by financial experts. In the case of photovoltaic modules, the term is used as a way of measuring quality, without focusing on any specification. It’s purpose is to determine whether a solar project is likely to receive non-recourse debt funding by banks.
The problem with the tier system is that it can be very subjective without any real connections to what it defines.
5. The technology is unstable
Another common misconception about solar panels is that the technology is rather new, and it’s better to wait for a few generations before purchasing them. What most people don’t know is that the technology behind photovoltaic modules has been around for over a century. While it’s fair to say that PV systems were unstable for a long time, recent developments have increased the performance of solar panels. And, with the growing interest in clean energy, there’s no better time to invest in solar power than now.
6. Solar panels can only work if there's enough sun
One of the most common misconceptions about solar panels is that they only work in direct sunlight. If your business is located in an area where there’s not that much sunlight, then it’s not worth investing in solar energy.
But, here’s the truth. While it’s true that most solar modules are more efficient in sunnier weather, solar panels can still generate a considerable amount of energy even in cloudy conditions. And, keep in mind that most PV systems are installed in addition to an existing on-grid power supply. So, a rainy day won’t mean that your company will remain without electricity. Just look at Germany, a country with a fairly rainy climate – they are a solar superpower, getting most of its power from PV systems.
7. It's hard to find a reliable installer
With such an overwhelming list of manufacturers and installers, it can be hard to tell the good from the least professional. Aside from generic information, such as “we’ve installed 5,000 systems,” it’s hard for consumers to rate the quality of experience of the service they are buying. As a rule of thumb, ask for references, preferably from businesses in the same industry as you.
The decision to install a PV solar system is a great one that will bring numerous benefits. But, before purchasing photovoltaics modules do your research and look for an installer that can meet your specific needs.
Tamesol has been helping companies generate renewable energy for more than 11 years. Our experienced staff is highly qualified and has a wide expertise in the photovoltaic industry.