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Debunking the Top 9 Myths About Solar

Publish Date: April 15th, 2024

In our last post, we explored the key environmental benefits of your home solar system. And if you came away from that blog with any amount of skepticism, this blog is for you.

It’s common to find incomplete or misinformation on the internet that pronounces negative environmental impacts of solar. In this blog, we’ll debunk the most common myths about solar you’re likely to find.

At Namaste Solar, we know that solar power isn’t the solution for everyone or every home. As a Certified B Corp, we put purpose over profit and maintain a transparent sales process. We are passionate about solar as one of the solutions to a clean energy future and know that each solar panel installed has a positive impact on the environment, our customers, and the broader community.

When doing our myth-busting research, we chose the sources we did because they’re reputable, science-based sources. Just like our sales process, we work to be transparent with the information we’re sharing.

Let’s look at the most common myths about solar and then debunk them with the facts.

The 9 Most Common Myths About Solar Energy: Debunked

Let’s dig right in.

  • Myth #1: It requires more energy to manufacture solar panels than they offset.
    • Truth: While it does take a significant amount of energy and other resources for a solar panel to be made, it's still far less than fossil fuels. Solar panels produced today only need to operate for 4-8 months to make up for their manufacturing emissions. Since the average panel has a lifespan of 25-30 years, it runs emission free for the majority of its life.
  • Myth #2: Solar panels aren't recyclable.
    • Truth: Since a solar system has such a long lifespan, the issue of recycling was put off as a future issue in the early days of the industry. But now, there's a whole sector of the industry that's tackling this end-of-life management of solar. To get a detailed breakdown of how a solar panel is recycled, you can visit this page by the EPA. Or check out our blog on the topic. 
  • Myth #3: Solar panels are filled with toxic chemicals and are, therefore, toxic waste. 
    • Truth: Solar panels are made of about 80% glass and aluminum plus some other components like silicon, copper, rubber, and plastics. There are metals, like lead and cadmium, present in some types of solar panels. And, in those instances, the levels could be considered hazardous waste if not mediated responsibly at the end of the panel's life. Working with an installer and recycler that handles the panels responsibly is key.

  • Myth #4: Large-scale solar installations use a significant amount of land and this is bad for the environment.
    • Truth: All energy sources require some use of land but not all land uses are created equal. Fossil fuel extraction, like coal mining, uses the land once and often leaves it worse off than how they found it. And while utility-scale solar arrays or community solar farms can require a lot of land, the farm continues to produce energy, year after year. Over time, an acre of solar can generate more electricity than an acre of coal or uranium mines. Further, solar farms can be “dual-use” by using the land for energy production and agriculture at the same time. This is called agrivoltaics. We’ve accomplished this by designing and installing Jack's Solar Garden with this use in mind. Our Solinator Garden is another mixed-use site where a pollinator garden enhances biodiversity. We’ve also partnered with a local shepherd who will be utilizing some of the sites we maintain for grazing their sheep. And finally, a solar farm can be installed on land that’s not suitable for other uses, like deserts, landfills, or contaminated property.
  • Myth #5: Solar panels don’t save you money.
    • Truth: Solar isn’t right for everyone. In fact, we’ll be the first to tell you if solar isn’t a good fit for you. For example, if you have a shaded house or low electricity bill, solar might not be right for you. But for many homeowners in Colorado, solar saves you money. In Colorado, there is net metering policy for home solar systems where any energy that you produce in excess to what you consume goes to the grid, and you receive credit on your electricity bill in exchange. Many home solar arrays can pay for themselves 2 to 3 times over. Check out this blog if you want to see an example cash flow table from one of our customers. We can design systems that will offset 100% of electricity usage for many of our customers. And, with some utilities, up to 200%, allowing for more flexibility for the size of solar systems to help homeowners future-proof their homes as more people move towards home electrification with heat pumps and electric vehicles.
  • Myth #6: Solar energy is a scam.
    • Truth: Our industry has seen its fair share of scams and misleading marketing tactics. And we’re aware that pushy sales tactics from other companies have been off-putting to a lot of homeowners. We’re just as frustrated by this as you are. And that’s why we’ve been doing business differently for almost 20 years. Our B Corp certification and employee -ownership model are ways that we ensure we’re prioritizing people, the planet, and profit. We’re in it to transform energy and transform business. This thinking is what influences every daily action as an organization.

We understand how confusing it can be when there are so many myths about solar out there. We hope you can feel confident after seeing the science and the sources provided. One extra myth we’d like to debunk is the idea that climate mitigation is out of our hands. There are real climate solutions that exist today and implementing them with vigor is a step individuals can take. And for so many people, getting a home solar system is a big step in vital and impactful climate action.

The Truth About Solar Energy

Are solar panels bad for the environment? Overall, no, they’re not. But we want to clearly acknowledge that there are negative impacts of solar; there is energy used to manufacture panels, chemicals that can be toxic if not handled properly, and decommissioned panels that need to be recycled so materials can be reused.

But in the end, solar energy has a net positive impact compared to our current energy paradigm in the U.S. There is no perfect solution because all electricity generation has some environmental impact. Solar energy has less environmental impact and is a renewable energy source. This makes it a vital part of our clean energy future.

This Earth Month, we encourage you to take action to heal our planet. If you’re considering moving forward with home solar, now is a great time to get your free quote. Our non-commissioned sales experts are ready to give you just the facts. To get started, click the button below.

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Recommended Reading:

  1. Top 5 Fun Facts About Solar Panels in Colorado
  2. Free Solar Panels in Colorado: Myth Busting With Namaste Solar
  3. What Is a Solar Panel Made of and How Does Solar Panel Recycling Work?