Refuting myths about solar energy

What have we not we heard about solar energy? It’s only for hippies, too expensive, not aesthetic, makes it harder to sell the house. Although there is significantly more awareness of renewable energy and more people are adopting solar systems, inaccuracies and semi-truths about solar energy still abound. The following post is dedicated to setting the record straight and refuting some of the biggest myths.

1. Solar energy is too expensive.

Prices of solar panels have decreased by 70% over the past seven years, making it the cheapest option for electricity production today, compared with energy produced by any of the polluting fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. An average system will yield a double-digit return at very low risk and will fully return the investment within 6 to 8 years. Our purchasing plans allow a great deal of flexibility in financing the systems, including the possibility of a full loan or, alternatively, solar leasing, in which you switch to a solar system without paying a single shekel.

2. I will not live in the house long enough to recoup the investment in the system

Recouping the investment on a solar system depends on the output of the system, which varies between homes , but on average the investment is recouped within 6 to 8 years. Thinking of selling the house sooner? Excellent, the new buyers will enter a house with no electric bill. This, of course, increases the value of the property accordingly.

3. Solar systems do not work well in the winter

Not exactly. Solar panels perform perfectly well also on cold sunny days. Israel has been blessed with 300 sunny days per year, making it, undoubtedly, an optimal country for producing solar energy. The Net Metering Regulation allows credit to be accumulated from surplus electricity that was produced on blazing summer days, which will then be used during gray, cloudy winter days. This is how we plan a system for our customers that will reduce the electric bill to zero over a period of a full year. Germany is a great example of a country with about half the solar potential of Israel, but with one of the world’s highest rates of switching to solar energy.

4. Solar panels will not look good on my roof

Of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. However, you should know that the appearance of the panels has significantly improved over the past decade. There are various techniques to reduce the visibility of the panels and each installation is tailored to the customer’s personal needs. The aesthetics of the system and how it fits on the roof are very important to us, and before we begin we will always share with you how the end result will look.

5. Solar panels require constant maintenance.

Unlike your water boiler, a solar system has no moving parts and no liquids that cause corrosion. The panels are more durable and require minimum maintenance. We recommend inspecting the structure and the system output annually, and to clean the surface of the panels twice a year. If you prefer to avoid this, we will be happy to do this for you as part of our service and maintenance. In addition, as part of the unique Volta Solar solar-leasing plan you will have no worries regarding maintenance and cleaning, because we take care of everything at no additional cost.

6. Solar panels will become more efficient, I should wait for the technology to improve and for prices to continue their drop

Not true. Although at this very moment, the best experts in the world are working on improving the efficiency of solar cells, the technology today is mature, stable and advanced enough. In fact, we can say that we have been using the same solar technology, more or less, since the 1960s. The increased profit that may be gained by waiting for improved technology is far less than the profit that can be achieved by using the panels that exist today. As an illustration, an average annual return of 12% will cover about 60% of the system after 5 years. It would only be worth waiting 5 years to buy the system if the prices of the solar panels will drop by more than 60%. This of course is very unlikely to happen.

7. The panels require tracking of the sun

Not true. We simulate the solar path in Israel relative to the roof of the client and compare between different locations on the roof. Proper planning and installation of the panels in a way that maximizes the annual output will make it unnecessary to install trackers (active monitoring of the sun’s path). As of today, the cost of the trackers is higher than the additional output, and therefore it is not profitable to install them in a domestic system.

8. Batteries are needed in order to store the solar electricity

The vast majority of solar homes do not use batteries to store energy. As part of the net metering regulation  the excess electricity goes to the electric company and is credited to your account and can be used during the night or during cloudy winter days. accordingly, the electric company serves as a large battery that stores electricity for you. It is indeed possible to add a battery to the home, but as mentioned above it is a component that is not necessary and is still expensive with respect to its benefits.

9. Solar energy is only for hippies and tree huggers

Nonsense. Solar energy is embraced by a wide range of people from all walks of life and political affiliation, in the largest cities, in the kibbutzim and even in communities with less than 100 families. Companies like IKEA, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple are leading the way in installing solar systems on their buildings. Cities are installing systems on public buildings and schools.

The banks are beginning to finance solar systems. Solar has countless economic, environmental and social benefits that apply to all of us. So, if you have not yet joined the revolution, what are you waiting for?