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6 Aug 2023

8 Outrageous solar panel myths debunked

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist

People are hesitant to invest in solar panels because of the misinformation they read online. Often, they are doubtful of the effectiveness of solar energy.

Solar panel myths: what’s the truth?

1. Solar panels only work on south-facing roofs

Solar panels work on all types of roofs, including north-facing roofs. While south-facing roofs tend to be the most efficient for solar power, panels installed on other roof orientations can still generate significant amounts of energy.

2. They only work in the summer

Solar panels can generate electricity all year round, including in winter. While they work most efficiently in sunny conditions, they can still generate power on cloudy days. 

In fact, solar panels can even produce electricity on days when it's snowing, as long as the panels are not completely covered with snow.

3. Solar panels don’t generate power when it’s cloudy

While solar panels work most efficiently in sunny conditions, they can still generate power on cloudy days. They won’t produce as much electricity as they would on a sunny day, but they can still generate enough power to be worth the investment. 

In fact, some countries with high levels of cloud cover, such as Germany, have successfully implemented widespread solar power systems.

4. The UK doesn’t have enough sun to power solar panels

The UK receives enough sunlight to make solar power a viable option. While the UK may not have the same level of solar energy potential as countries closer to the equator, advances in solar technology mean that solar panels are now more efficient than ever before.

4. Solar panels aren’t worth the financial investment — you won’t make your money back

Solar panels can be a good financial investment, and many homeowners are able to recoup their initial investment within a few years through reduced energy bills. 

The exact payback period will depend on the cost of electricity in your area, the size and efficiency of your solar panels, and the amount of energy you consume. 

5. You need to install lots of solar panels to get any power

Even a small number of solar panels can generate a significant amount of power. The exact number of panels needed will depend on factors such as the size of your roof, the amount of energy you consume, and the efficiency of the panels. 

However, it is possible to install just a few panels and still make a noticeable difference to your energy bills.

6. You can only install solar panels if you own your property

You do not need to own your property to install solar panels. If you are a tenant, you will need to get permission from your landlord before installing solar panels.

But in many cases, landlords are happy to install solar panels on their property, as they will save money for both themselves and their tenants on energy costs.

7. You always need planning permission to install solar panels

Most homes in the UK do not require planning permission for solar panel installations. In fact, the UK government has implemented a "permitted development" policy that allows homeowners to install solar panels without planning permission, provided they meet certain requirements. 

These requirements include keeping the panels within the roof's perimeter, not exceeding a certain height, and ensuring the panels do not protrude more than 20cm from the roof's surface.

8. Solar panels will keep generating electricity in a power cut

While solar panels can generate electricity during the day when the sun is shining, they rely on the electricity grid to store excess energy and distribute it when needed. 

In the event of a power cut, solar panels will not be able to generate electricity unless they are connected to a battery backup system.

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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