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Get The Facts: Dispelling Common Solar Power Myths

solar power mythsThey say knowledge is power. If that’s true, then knowledge about power is doubly useful. Breaking away from reliance on fossil fuels is a game changer for property owners, but only if they take action.

Are solar power myths making you hesitant about adopting solar energy? Misconceptions can keep you from choosing the most rewarding investment as your next improvement project. Read on to test your understanding of today’s smartest green energy option against solar power myths.

  1. Solar energy panels damage regular roofs. Most property owners are well aware of the age and condition of their rooftops. It’s a rational concern since the roof is the first barrier against the elements. Some property owners decide their building is not suitable for a solar array without the benefit of an expert solar evaluation. The truth is that solar panels are mounted on a well-designed support structure engineered to minimize weight and eliminate water intrusion. On a pitched roof, all attachments are professionally flashed and it will weigh the same per square foot as a layer of shingles. On a flat roof, there are few if any penetrations, which of course would be flashed, and the weight of the ballasted racking system can vary from 2 to 6 pound per square foot, not much different than a few inches of snow. Additionally, solar panels shield the roof beneath from the sun’s harmful UV rays and moisture, which could extend the useful life of the roof.
  2. It’s too expensive to go solar. While it is true that the sophisticated components aren’t cheap, the cost of investment pales in comparison to indefinitely paying for non-renewables like coal and oil. Plus, the cost of solar panels is at an all-time low due to an increase in supply and more efficient methods to install solar panels. Add tax credits, savings on energy and revenue from selling your Solar Renewable Energy Certificates and you’ll see that solar makes “cents”.
  3. The tax credits are over. This is more of an awareness issue than it is a myth. The federal tax credit incentive was slated to end in 2015; however, it has been extended.  As of now the full 30% federal tax credit is valid through 2019. After that, the exemptions will decrease incrementally to 0% for residential and 10% for commercial by 2022.
  4. Slate and tile roof aren’t grid-ready. Solar contractors work on many modern shingled roofs; however, that does not rule out other surfaces as unfeasible installation sites. Older buildings with stone, tiled or wood-shingled roofs are tricky, however, so it is best left to experienced solar energy contractors, of which there are many. Panels are easy to take off of the racking, so don’t let concerns about repairs deter you from saving on energy. Ask about the experience level of the installation team when selecting a solar energy provider as part of your due diligence.
  5. Solar panels will make selling the property difficult. Solar panels are a desirable feature when listing both commercial and residential properties. Real estate markets vary wherever you go, but overall buyers have made it clear that they are interested in saving on utilities. One study shows for every $1 in energy bill savings from your solar installation,  your property value goes up $20. Even if the loan funding your array is still in repayment, selling the property will be easier with the panels than without them.
  6. Connecting to the grid is a hassle. There is a process for your system to be inspected and properly registered with your local utility company, but it is not a challenge to get the utility company to “work with you”. Public utilities are required by law to facilitate sustainable energy projects and solar energy contractors have dedicated staff to handle drafting and filing the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

Don’t let the relative newness of solar energy put you off from taking steps to save money and improve your property. Are there any more solar power myths keeping you from going solar? Let us know in the comments.

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