Solar panel myths debunked

Myth 1: Solar panels take more energy to make than they can produce.

This myth has been around for many years and could not be further from the truth. With the ever-increasing advances in technology and manufacturing techniques, solar panels should constantly evolve to be produced more efficiently.

Myth 2: Solar panels don’t work on cloudy days.

Even in colder weather, or on overcast days, solar panels will still produce energy although this will be at a reduced level. This is because the clouds filter the sunlight available to reach your solar panels. High, thin, wispy clouds don’t stop much sunlight, but low, thick storm clouds will create a stronger barrier.

Myth 3: Solar panels are expensive and don’t pay themselves back very quickly.

There are several incentives, schemes and programs aimed at reducing the upfront cost of a solar system, from state-run programs to nation-wide incentives or schemes. These programs also often extend to battery storage, allowing you to save even more.

In its January 2018 report, The Energy Council generated its own payback periods for solar systems, which can be seen below by state.

New South Wales – Solar PV system payback period: 4-5 years
In NSW, the falling price of solar, rising electricity rates and competitive feed-in tariffs mean your payback period could be as little as 4 or 5 years.

Queensland – Solar PV system payback period: 5 years
Like New South Wales, if you’re in Queensland, you could recoup your costs in around 5 years.  

South Australia – Solar PV system payback period: 3-5 years
With plentiful sunshine, low system prices, good FIT rates and high electricity prices, the payback period in South Australia is relatively short.

Victoria – Solar PV system payback: 7-8 years
Victoria offers mid-range system prices and lower than average retail electricity prices, but fewer available sunshine hours.

Western Australia – Solar PV system payback period: 5-6 years
With low out-of-pocket system costs, WA has a relatively short payback period of around 5 years.

Myth 4: Solar panels will provide me with blackout power.

If you want back-up power in a blackout or grid interruption, you will need to invest in battery storage. Sometimes blackout power is available as a standard feature of a battery – but sometimes it requires additional setup work. Discuss your needs with your installer and make sure to ask them if blackout power is available for your system.

 Myth 5: Installing solar panels makes my electricity cheaper.

The effect of solar on your electricity bills is completely down to how you use the energy produced by your solar panels. If you’re making the most of your solar power during the day, for example running washing machines or dishwashers during the day rather than in the evening, your electricity needs at night should be reduced, and your grid-connected electricity bills should also be reduced.
Furthermore, if you generate any excess solar energy that you don’t use during the day, you’ll receive a credit on your bill called a ‘feed-in tariff’, which can also help to reduce your electricity bills.
To save even more on your bills, and become less dependent on the energy grid, you could consider adding battery storage to your system.

Myth 6: I don’t use power during the day so solar panels aren’t worth it for me.

There are a few different ways to reduce your energy usage at night, including:

  • Using your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher on timers during the day
  • Charging battery-powered devices or appliances, like laptops, tablets, phones or rechargeable vacuum cleaners during the day
  • Running your air conditioner on a timer during the day to heat or cool your home, so it runs more efficiently – or minimally – in the evening

If you really want to reduce the amount of electricity you pull from the grid, we recommend looking into battery storage, paired with a solar power system that generates enough electricity to offset both your day- and night-time energy usage.

Myth 7: Solar panels need lots of maintenance and care.

Other than a simple dusting every few months, your solar panels are pretty much-maintenance free. The simplest way to maintain your solar panels is to ensure they remain clear of any debris or dirt and remove any sources of shading. 
If you are concerned about any system faults or efficiency issues, it’s best to refer to your system’s user manual and contact your installer directly for advice.

Myth 8: There’s no real difference between a Tier 1 and a Tier 2 or 3 solar panel.

One of the main differences between the different tiers of solar panels is based on the manufacturing process. The more automation the lower the chances of human error. Also being more vertically integrated reduces any quality related issues in procurement and manufacturing. Tier 1 solar panels are considered premium quality.
How do you differentiate between the different solar panels. The table below is a great way to show the differences:

Tier 1 Solar PanelsTier 2 Solar PanelsTier 3 Solar Panels
Most vertically integratedLess vertically integratedLeast/ not vertically integrated
Use best grade of materialsUse moderate grade of materialsUse moderate grade of materials
Advanced robotic process in manufacturingPartial robotic process manufacturing processPartial to no robotic process in manufacturing
Supplying solar panels over 5 yearsSupplying solar panels between 2 and 5 yearsSupplying solar panels above 1 year
Most expensiveModerately expensiveLeast expensive
Best qualityModerate qualityLowest quality

Myth 9: Installing solar panels might damage my roof.

When solar panels are installed, they are placed onto mounting brackets, which hold them secure and steady. When installed correctly, this should cause no damage to your roof, and a high-quality installer shouldn’t cause any damage to your roof. In fact, they should also be able to flag if any existing damage to your roof, like loose tiles, might hinder the installation process in the first place.
Checking if an installer is accredited by the Clean Energy Council is a great way to assess their installation standards are safe, reliable and high quality.

Myth 10: Adding solar panels to my home will affect its resale or rental value.

Research indicates that solar power increases home value significantly and homeowners looking to drive up their home’s resale value should consider a solar investment.

According to a survey conducted by Origin Energy, over three quarters of Australians think that solar powered homes are more valuable than comparable homes that rely on non-renewable energy sources.

More than ever, home buyers recognise that purchasing a home with a solar energy system could lead to significant savings for their household long into the future. In fact, 57% of homeowners are willing to pay $10,000 more for a home with solar.

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