Updated: March 6, 2021
Mythology is widely prevalent in Indian societies. As a result, over time, several stories and belief systems have found a place in our lives. These act as foundational blocks of entire nations, especially India. Yet along with these great mythologies, some myths about solar energy have also been passed along. It’s about time that we address them.
Myth #1 • All solar systems keep working even when the power goes out
A building powered with a grid-connected solar power system will lose power in case of an outage. Buildings that are entirely independent of the grid (off-the-grid) and/or run on a hybrid system will continue to use solar power during daytime power outages.
Backup batteries can be integrated with a grid-tied system for 100% uptime. By installing backup batteries, you will have a power supply even during an outage. In the case of off-grid, off-the-grid, and hybrid systems, batteries store solar power produced by the solar panels.
Myth #2 • Warmer climates are better for solar power generation
Solar panels harness the sun’s light and not its heat. High temperatures lower the efficiency of solar panels. Also, solar panels do not completely shut off during the cloudy or rainy season. They continue to operate at 50% efficiency. Additionally, the excess energy produced during the summer months is available in the form of energy credits/money to be used during times when not much solar energy is produced.
Therefore, cities with moderate annual temperatures such as Bangalore are better suited for solar than warmer cities like Chennai.
Myth #3 • Solar panels are prone to damage from wind, birds, animals, and more
India’s dense bird population raises concerns about the effect of bird droppings on solar panels. The only way bird droppings affect solar panels is by reducing their efficiency. To avoid this, try setting up a scarecrow to keep the birds away and install the panels with sufficient maintenance space. This will allow you to clean the panels easily.
Cleaning your panels once every 15 to 30 days is recommended to get the most out of your investment.
Solar panels have toughened glass to prevent easy breakage. This is to say that a monkey standing or even jumping on it wouldn’t cause any physical damage.
While solar panels may not be bulletproof, they can withstand heavy winds and storms. The quality of workmanship – mounting structure, pipes, wiring – determines the all-weather durability of your solar power system.
Myth #4 • Most Indians cannot afford to own a solar power system
Many of us are under the assumption that switching to solar is a luxury, and an option only for wealthy folks. This isn’t true. Falling costs of solar and the accessibility of financing options like loans and government subsidies have made solar a feasible option for all property owners. Property owners are eligible to avail incentives based on solar energy generation.
If your solar installation covers 100 percent of your electricity needs and your monthly solar lease fee/loan installment is lower than your typical electricity bill, you’ll see savings right from the start.
What are the ROI (return on investment) and payback period, you ask? Most consumers get a payback on their solar investment within a span of 5- 7 years. Once the investment is recovered, the power generated by your system for the next 18 – 20 years is free of cost.
Myth #5 • Making solar panels is bad for the environment as they require more energy to be manufactured than they produce
The energy used to extract, refine, transport, and manufacture a product is known as the embodied energy. Many older studies have found that solar panels typically generate energy to repay the embodied energy within 3-4 years. However, panel efficiency and manufacturing processes have evolved significantly in the last few years lowering the amount of time needed to make up for embodied energy.
Hence, given that a panel produces energy efficiently for 20-25 years, it will easily repay the embodied energy multiple times over and offset thousands of tonnes of emissions in its lifetime.
Myth #6 • Solar panels damage your roof
On the contrary, solar panels actually preserve and protect the area of the roof they cover from external factors such as birds and weather. The panels themselves are not heavy enough or large enough to damage the roof of the house. Moreover, solar installers are well trained and work with the condition of the roof to provide the best fit in terms of utility and aesthetics.
Myth #7 • You need to own a building to go solar
Don’t own real estate yet? Not a problem! There are many other innovative ways to go solar. We have covered some examples in this article.
Myth #8 • You can’t run heavy loads like heating appliances (air conditioner or heater) on solar power
You definitely can. Companies like Solarify can help you calculate your daily energy needs and help you decide how many solar panels you would need to support that need. 1 kW (3 solar panels) provides approximately 4 units of energy per day. Hence, a typical 3-4 BHK house in Bangalore would need about 12-15 solar panels to support their daily energy needs.
Myth #9 • All solar panels are imported from China
There are many well-known solar manufacturers in India as well. Some are – Vikram Solar, Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd., Waaree Solar, and Adani Solar.
Indian mythology acts as a medium for people to share stories and share a sense of belonging. But encouraging inaccurate myths around climate change, renewables, clean technology can hold us back from becoming more sustainable.
This article is not an attempt to ignore facts about solar power. We do acknowledge the weaknesses of the technology. The efficiency of the panel, the quality of products available, trustworthy companies to work with amongst other areas do need improvement. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that India has suitable geographical conditions to harness solar energy.
So, the next time you hear or read something about solar energy (yes, including this article), take a couple of minutes to question it – and it may pave the way for a better future.
Check out our latest rooftop solar project in Kanakapura, Bangalore