By Scott Laskey
Some homeowners don’t want to go solar. They’ve heard all about the perks of solar power, but they don’t buy solar panels because they’ve also heard about some seemingly significant drawbacks.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not the only one.
Unfortunately, most of these “drawbacks” are actually myths, and they may be preventing you from enjoying the benefits of solar panels.
So, is it worth installing solar panels? Are there big things you need to watch out for?
Here’s what you need to know.
Ever heard that solar panels can damage your roof or break your budget? Here’s what you need to know about the reality of those claims:
Let us be the first to tell you that this is not true.
For the vast majority of homeowners, installing solar panels is a simple process that doesn’t wreak havoc on your roof. Thanks to the skills of professional solar installers and increasingly advanced mounting materials, solar panels can now be safely added to virtually any type of roof. With composite shingles, the section with solar may even extend the roof life due to the panels providing a shield to sun and rain.
While other types of roof materials, such as wood shake shingles, clay, slate, or terracotta tiles may be more difficult, a skilled solar installer can help you come up with a viable solution, even if you don’t have the best roof material for solar panels. Possible solutions may include removing the roof material directly beneath the solar panels or coming up with an alternate mounting solution.
This is an outdated notion that’s especially untrue in the face of modern solar tax credits and financing programs.
While the federal tax credit for solar power is changing soon, it currently covers 30% of your solar panel installation costs and has resulted in a 76% compounding annual growth in solar installation since 2006.
In addition to qualifying for a tax credit, some solar installers offer financing programs, which make finding the funds for your solar project easy and straightforward. These installers will also help you plan your residential solar array and get the best setup for your home.
Some people mistakenly believe that solar panels are dangerous. Concerns surrounding roof penetrations, damage from wind- and snow-loading, and electrical hazards have some homeowners concerned that installing solar panels could spell the end of their house!
Fortunately, these fears aren’t entirely rooted in reality.
Here’s the truth:
Solar panels are very safe devices. While it’s true that panels could damage your roof if they’re installed incorrectly, could break under the weight of heavy snow or intense wind if they’re engineered poorly, and could become a fire hazard if the electrician isn’t up to par, all of these issues can be avoided by working with a qualified and certified solar installer.
If you have any doubts about the background of the professional you’ve chosen, spend some time reading their online reviews, browsing their website for services and offerings, and looking into things like certification and insurance.
Solar panels contain materials including lead, chromium, and cadmium. When disposed of improperly, these elements can leak into groundwater and soil, causing toxic buildup.
This is true for everything from car batteries to household cleaning products, though, and is not reason enough to avoid solar panels. In fact, it’s one of the more incorrect arguments people use to justify why we shouldn’t use solar energy.
Like anything else, solar panels need to be disposed of properly when their time of usefulness is over. You wouldn’t toss your old tires out on the road, and the same goes for your old solar panels.
Luckily, a qualified solar installation company will understand how to dispose of your solar panels in a way that protects the environment, prevents them from becoming harmful or toxic, and reduces their life-cycle impact.
The truth about many of the major problems with solar panels is that they’re not problems with the panels themselves – they’re problems with their installation, engineering, or disposal.
Taken on their own, solar panels are safe, reliable, and incredibly beneficial additions to most homes – especially when you hire a skilled solar contractor to install the system.
Want to learn more? Contact our team here at Sandbar Solar!
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar & Electric. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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