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Solar panel myths debunked

Despite solar panels growing in popularity, there remain some common myths around the renewable energy source Solar panels are the up-and-coming feature of any energy-saving household thanks to a growth in coverage, improved efficiency and decreased cost.
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Solar panels on roof

Despite these changes, there remain some common misconceptions around solar panels that prevent many households giving them any thought. So, how much do solar panels cost and how much energy do they produce?

Why solar panels?

Before we start myth-busting, why should you even consider solar panels in the first place? Solar panels are one of the most cost-efficient ways to generate your own domestic energy, and thanks to their carbon-neutral status they are eligible for various grants and financial support.

Registering for the Smart Export Guarantee under your supplier means that you can get sell any excess power your generate back to the National Grid.

Myth 1: "Solar panels need the sun, and there’s never any sun in the UK!"

Probably the most common misconception around solar panels is that they only work in direct sunlight and, since the UK isn’t exactly renowned for its sunshine, they are not much use here.

This is simply not true. While solar panels are more effective in sunnier weather – up to 50% more than in cloudy weather – your solar panels will still generate substantial amounts of energy when the clouds are out.

Crucially, as most solar panel systems are installed as supplementary to your existing on-grid power supply, a few clouds doesn’t mean your home will be cut off.

If you need any more convincing, just consider the fact that the world’s leading solar power producer is Germany, a country with a fairly comparable climate to the UK.

Myth 2: "If you’re getting paid for solar from your energy company it means you can’t switch"

Another common myth related to the fact that the Smart Export Guarantee is linked to your energy supplier.

This rate, and the solar panels themselves, are yours. That means you can switch energy companies as many times as you like to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your energy.

The actual rate you receive for energy you generate is fixed, however.

Myth 3: "Solar power is too new, it’s better to wait until it improves"

Another common but outdated assumption around solar power is that it is new technology and, like flat screen televisions or smartphones, it is better to wait a bit until all the kinks have been worked out before taking the plunge.

In fact, the technology behind solar is more than 100 years old. However, while it is fair to say that solar power wasn’t viable for a long time, huge strides have been made in efficiency and in terms reducing solar panel's costs in the last few years — meaning there has never been a better time to invest in solar.