With all the information buzzing around solar energy, there’s a lot of misinformation floating around as well. Let’s take a look at some of the most common solar energy myths to separate fact from fiction.
1) Solar energy is expensive.
For years, renewable energy opponents touted fossil fuels as the cheaper energy option – but that’s just not true anymore. Now, solar energy only costs 3-6 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 5-17 cents for traditional fossil fuels. According to recent research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), many new-build renewable energy projects top the list of cheapest energy options, even when compared to their low-cost, coal-based counterparts. And with community solar, those cost savings get passed right on to subscribers, who save up to 10% on their energy costs.
2) Solar energy doesn’t work when the weather is bad.
Obviously, solar panels require sunlight to produce energy. While it’s true they collect less energy when it’s cloudy, the amount of energy produced is still enough to provide savings on your energy bill. In fact, solar panels love winter weather – they actually perform better in colder temperatures. Worried about snow? Most solar farms install solar panels at an angle, allowing snow and ice to slide off. Innovations in battery technology also allow solar panels to collect energy when the sunshine is plentiful, ensuring there’s plenty of power available at all times – even at night.
3) You need rooftop solar panels to get solar energy.
Nearly half of Americans can’t install solar panels on their own roof because they rent, find it unaffordable, or have physical barriers. But that doesn’t mean solar energy is only available to those who can install rooftop solar panels. With community solar, you have no upfront costs or installation to keep you from making a difference. Simply find a local community solar project, and sign up to start saving on your energy costs and making a positive impact on the environment.
4) Solar farms are bad for the environment.
The creation of solar panels does require some water, which is why they sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to sustainability. However, the amount of water used in making solar panels pales in comparison to the amount of water needed to produce other forms of power. For example, natural gas and coal require large amounts of water for cooling, and often contribute to water contamination. By comparison, solar energy carries minimal risk of polluting drinking water.
Tree removal is another concern often voiced in opposition of solar farms. While it’s natural to be worried about removing trees for any reason, one acre of solar offsets about 134 tons of CO2 per year per acre. That’s nearly 10 times as much as forest lands, which remove 15 tons of CO2 per year per acre. Plus, land used for solar farms can be recovered as forest after their useful life has ended.
Ready to learn more?
Now that you know the real facts behind common solar energy myths, continue the learning journey by finding out how community solar works with Nelnet Renewable Energy. It’s a fact that you could start saving money on your energy costs (and the environment) in just five minutes – sign up for an available farm, or get added to our waitlist so we can let you know when a farm becomes available near you. Still have questions about community solar? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer them.