Solar technology has evolved dramatically over the past twenty years – the cost of PV systems has decreased, efficiency has increased, and reliability has undoubtedly improved. However, despite the abundance of information on the subject, what you think you know about solar may not necessarily be the truth.

In this NEW article, we’re busting 8 of the most common solar myths…

Solar panels

 

Myth 1 – My solar system will provide power during load shedding

Grid-tied solar systems shut down if there is no supply from the utility. If you’re looking for supply during power outages, then you should consider battery storage and other back-up power options.

Myth 2 – Solar panels are made of toxic materials

Approximately 96% of all solar panels installed globally are made up of silicon crystalline PV cells encased in a polymer material and protected by a glass front and aluminium frame. There are no toxic materials except for a trace amount of lead used in the solder. However, even the use of solder is being phased out with the new busbar compression joining techniques and conductive paste materials being used of late.

Myth 3 – I have enough space to cover my roof with PV panels to maximise power

Assuming your roof is strong enough, technically you can. However, your system should always be sized according to your power needs, not you roof availability. There are other factors to bear in mind when considering a roof mounted solar system, such as the orientation of your roof. In the southern hemisphere, ideal roofs for solar installations face north, north-east, east, west or north-west.

Myth 4 – The output my solar system generates for my Durban office will be the same as for my Johannesburg and Cape Town offices.

Irradiation varies between geographic locations and roof orientation, each site needs to be simulated on recognized software to accurately predict power production.

Solar Irradiance
Solar irradiance map of South Africa

Myth 5 – Hail will break PV panels

Panels are tested with 2.5cm stones blasted at 80km per hour. Even in the country’s most prolific hail regions, hail very rarely will crack a solar panel.

Myth 6 – Solar panels don’t work when it’s cloudy

Solar radiation is absorbed or reflected by clouds, resulting in a reduced amount of solar energy generated during cloudy weather. However, the amount of radiation that passes through the clouds depends on the type of cloud and its thickness. Solar panels will very rarely stop generating during cloudy weather for the simple reason that clouds don’t completely block sunlight. If this were the case, surely it would be completely dark outside during bad weather?

Myth 7 - Going off the grid is not financially viable

Depending on the area in which you are located, going off grid could be a financially viable option. It is dependent on the electrical tariff structure and power security in the area. 

Myth 8 – I’m installing solar so I can feed back into the grid

While this may be the case overseas, it isn’t yet the norm in South Africa. Of the 278 municipalities approximately 5 allow grid feedback. Grid feedback is the way of the future, unfortunately it’s a work in progress.

Thinking about solar? Or perhaps you’re frustrated with load shedding and need advice on back-up power options? Either way, contact us! We’re here to help you.