For many years, the concept of solar power was just that, a concept. During those years, a large number of solar myths evolved, and they're still in circulation today. Solar hot water systems are now a viable and practical solution, and Australia has over 1.5 million installed solar roof-top systems. Separate fact from fiction with this list.
Popular Solar Myths
Myth: Solar panels won't work efficiently in cloudy or cold weather.
Fact: The panels absorb light (UV rays) and not heat, so they are almost as effective when temperatures are low and there is cloud cover.
Myth: Solar panels spoil the look of a roof.
Fact: Modern designs ensure that they blend in with existing roof styles. Homes with solar power also usually increase in resale value.
Myth: Solar panels damage roofs and cause them to deteriorate quicker.
Fact: If they are correctly installed on a good roof, panels do not damage roofs. They are surprisingly robust and can withstand inclement weather.
Myth: Solar panels are expensive to install.
Fact: For a number of years the price of panels has dropped, and rebates are available on application in various Australian states.
Myth: A solar-power hot water system is just something else to maintain and look after.
Fact: Solar panels require very little maintenance, and they can last for over 25 years.
Myth: Using solar energy to heat water makes no difference to utility bills.
Fact: Householders see dramatic drops in their electricity bills after the installation of solar panels.
Myth: Solar panels only work if they're facing directly north.
Fact: They work well when facing northeast or northwest. They can also be installed on poles or standalone walls.
Myth: Solar panels increase the temperature of the atmosphere.
Fact: The carbon footprint of solar panels, once they have been manufactured, transported and installed, drops to almost zero.
Myth: Solar panels produce only electricity.
Fact: Solar power can be harnessed to heat water for homes and for a hot tub or swimming pool.
Myth: Solar panels will be tossed into landfills once they are no longer effective
Fact: Although solar panels are designed to last many years, and at present many of those in Australia are still a long way from decommissioning, much research has gone into how to recycle them. A number of solar panel manufacturers, together with Flinders University, government agencies and recycling partners have evolved a process to reclaim and reuse working solar cells from panels. Worldwide, other research into recycling solar panels is ongoing.
Solar-powered hot water is here to stay. It is a technology that has fantastic life-changing potential so it's time to look past the solar myths and move on.