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5 Common Misconceptions about Solar Energy

published: 2011-05-24 17:43

Nowadays, many people are faced with overwhelming and yet incorrect information on the internet. Here are 5 common misconceptions about solar energy.

Misconception 1: Solar Energy is only Viable in Warm Regions
The average temperature of a geographical area does not necessarily have much impact on the performance of solar cells. In fact, solar cells tend to have better conversion efficiency under lower temperature. Therefore, it is still possible to have enough sunlight for solar cells to function in cold areas. Germany, located at a high latitude and not particularly known for its sunny weather, is a leading country for its solar industry with well over 7GW installations in 2010.

Misconception 2: After Installing Solar Systems, You will still Need Fossil Fuel as a Back-up Energy Source
Nowadays, most solar systems installed at homes are connected to grid. The generated power can be fed back into grid. What is important is that homes still stay on-grid, which means they still have access to electricity provided by power stations during times when the conversion efficiency is lower. As long as your home is connected to grid, it is not necessary to have a back-up diesel generator.

Misconception 3: Use of Solar Energy Means Compromised Life Quality
After installing solar systems, homes still stay on-grid and the generated energy can offset part of energy need from the grid. As a result, power supply is stable enough to support regular demand while saving on energy consumption. Users do not necessarily have to trade in convenience for eco-friendliness.

Misconception 4: Solar Energy is not Technologically Ready for Mass Use
This might just be the most disturbing misconception of all which has made enterprises decide to postpone their plans for installing solar systems. After decades of research and development, not to mention multi-billion worth of investment, the solar technologies we see today are reliable. In the meantime, governments are encouraging commercial and residential solar projects.

Misconception 5: Energy Consumed during Manufacturing is Larger than Energy Generated
Energy pay back time (EPBT) is a measure of how long it takes for the energy generated by a particular solar cell to offset the energy consumed when manufacturing it. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) stated in a report that for a typical solar cell, the EPBT is 1 to 4 years depending on the type of the cell (the latest CdTe cell has less than 1 year of EPBT). A solar cell, presumably continuing to function for 30 years, can provide 26 to 29 years of zero-emission electricity.



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