6 Myths and Truths About Solar Power

Solar panel with rain drops on it. Solar panel in rain.

In a time of extreme urgency around the possible devastating effects of climate change, there is no doubt that renewable energy sources like solar are the energy sources of the future, and fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and gas, will soon become vestiges of the past. 

Solar power is renewable, non-polluting, far more cost-effective, and healthier than the power sources it replaces.

So why does solar account for only 3% of South Carolina’s energy mix? In part, it’s because the businesses that make money selling fossil fuels have spent years confusing the public about solar. Let’s explore the myths commonly believed about solar and replace them with the truth.

Myth #1: Solar is a bad investment for business because of the upfront costs.

Truth: That is the biggest whopper of all. Most businesses that install solar see a full return on their investment within three to seven years. Thereafter, it’s all savings – about 75% of the electric bill on average. There are also a series of federal and state tax rebates and credits for solar installations. 

Myth #2: Solar is too expensive for my business.

Truth: The installation of a commercial system can range from tens of thousands to millions, but you don’t have to pay for all of that up front. Solar loans or operating leases can spread out the payments while your system saves you money. Moreover, tax credits and incentives slash costs significantly. Consider this: the state of South Carolina offers a tax credit for 25% of the cost of solar installation, up to $35,000. The federal tax credit for solar is worth 26% of the system’s installation costs. And net metering allows businesses with solar to receive credits from their utility for the excess energy their panels produce. Moreover, with many customers and business partners expecting carbon-zero goals from companies, it’s becoming too expensive to not have solar.

Myth #3: A business needs a rooftop facing south or open land for solar panels.

Truth: There are alternatives even if your business doesn’t have the roof or land space. Do you have a parking lot? Put a carport overhead and create a surface for solar panels while protecting your employees’ and visitors’ vehicles.

Myth #4: Solar is unreliable because it doesn’t work on cloudy or rainy days or at night.

Truth: The sun is still shining on cloudy days, though less of its rays reach solar arrays on Earth. Solar installations may use batteries to store energy for your building’s peak usage times or simply use the electrical grid as the backup for those times external power is required. The transfer is seamless and invisible to the customer. For some people, solar eliminates the need to buy electricity from their utility. For others, it dramatically reduces that need. They’re both good options.

Myth #5: It’s irrelevant to consumers whether our company is eco-friendly.

Truth: A 2019 study by IBM and the National Retail Foundation found that 70% of American and Canadian consumers prefer doing business with eco-friendly companies. More than half said they were ready to change their shopping habits to become greener. Three years later, with the first negative effects of climate change becoming evident, those numbers are likely higher.

Myth #6: Our company can just buy Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) instead of going solar, and we can claim to be carbon neutral.

Truth: Buying credits is only a paper solution. It doesn’t reduce your actual energy use or emissions, and increasingly, consumers are becoming aware of the difference. In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how to crack down on overreaching sustainability claims. Ultimately, buying credits costs money without providing actual savings or on-site benefits. That is not a sustainable policy. Reducing energy use and switching to renewable sources of power are long-term solutions that provide long-term returns.

Solar power isn’t the best option in every situation, but it is growing rapidly in use as homeowners and businesses seek to save money and reduce their impact on the planet. Maybe it’s time you looked into solar.

Contact Us today to learn more about how we can assist your business with going solar!