By Lauren Ferrone
Last updated on: January 23, 2020 at 3:34 pm
To celebrate the recent launch of RAA’s new solar and battery storage service, we’ve debunked a few common myths about this renewable-energy source to help power your decision to go green.
Myth 1: The more solar panels you have, the more you’ll save.
Creating an oversized solar-panel system doesn’t guarantee you’ll reap the rewards in your back pocket.
By putting more panels on your roof you’ll incur a higher initial outlay cost for the total system.
Hint: make sure your system is tailored to your energy consumption and considers your future needs. There’s no point in paying for a higher solar output system if you don’t need it or you can’t afford it.
Myth 2: Solar panels don’t work in cloudy or cold weather.
Solar panels can even generate electricity when there is only diffused light available, like that caused by clouds. That means they’ll still generate energy in the middle of winter – as long as your panels aren’t covered by snow (shouldn’t be a problem in our climate).
That said, they won’t generate as much energy as they do on bright sunny days. Typically, the energy produced during winter compared to summer can be less than 50%.
Rain, hail or shine – don’t be fooled: solar panels generate power in different types of weather.
Myth 3: A cheaper system may pay itself off quicker.
A smaller system won’t produce as much energy as a larger one, meaning your electricity bills won’t be reduced by as much and, therefore, it’ll take longer to recoup the money already spent.
Some companies promote cheap systems, which may not be enough for your power needs, and you could still end up with big power bills.
More than this many homes in South Australia currently have solar panels.
Myth 4: You can’t run on solar power at night.
As mentioned, solar panels can only generate energy when there’s some form of sunlight – direct or diffused.
Most systems produce enough energy during the day to cover your needs, plus some excess to feed in the electricity grid. This will provide a credit from your electrical retailer. This is called a feed-in tariff, which will help you reduce your energy costs during times when there’s no sunlight, like overnight.
In some cases of high energy usage, it may be more economical to store this excess energy in a battery for later use rather than feed it all into the grid.
Myth 5: I don’t use power during the day so solar isn’t worth it for me
While it’s true that households with high daytime consumption make the most of their panels, it doesn’t mean solar isn’t for you if you’re out most of the day.
You can still utilise your solar panels by simply reducing how much energy you use at night.
For example, using your washing machine or dishwasher on a timer during the day can make use of the energy captured by your solar panels.
Or charging battery-powered devices, such as laptops, when you’re at work.
Another option to make of the most of your solar system is install a battery, that will store energy during the day and be ready to use when you get home.
Myth 6: Installing solar panels will damage my roof
Solar panels shouldn’t cause any damage to your roof if they’re installed correctly on mounting brackets.
These brackets are designed to bear the weight of the panel so they don’t cause any damage to your roof.
In fact, our accredited installers should be able to identify if there is any existing damage to the roof, such as a cracked tile, that might impact the installation.
Myth 7: Solar panels need a lot of maintenance
Once properly installed on your roof, solar panels don’t require much maintenance at all.
You will need to regularly check that they aren’t covered in dirt, leaves or other debris though, as they can block the sun’s rays.
Depending on where your panels are located, you should only need to clean them two to four times per year.
If you believe your solar panels are faulty or damaged, make sure they are inspected by a licenced electrician or an accredited solar panel installer.