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Clearing Up Solar Misconceptions

September 21st, 2022 | By Christopher Butts

Clearing Up Solar Misconceptions

Clearing the Air

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to solar panels, and we see it on a daily basis. Many people will throw shade at the technology online without a shred of evidence or experience with it to back up their claims. They’ll say things like “they can’t be recycled” or “fossil fuels pollute less” or “they get government subsidies” or “they come from China”. We’re here to help wade through the noise, clear up solar misconceptions and get to the truth.

Can they be hazardous? – Of course, any electrical device is going to come with some element of danger. Are they destroying the world and leaving a toxic trail in their wake under some communist political agenda, like some would like you to believe? Let’s not be silly.

Yes, solar panels and solar batteries, just like cell phones, computers, cars and tv’s, require small amounts of rare earth materials in the manufacturing process. Some of these materials can be sourced from unsavory places, like fossil fuels, and these materials can be hazardous if handled improperly, just like fossil fuels. However, once they are in operation, solar panels pose little to no danger outside of it being electrical, and perhaps most importantly, leave no harmful carbon emissions behind in the atmosphere.

Safe, Reliable, Recyclable

It’s also important to note that solar panels are mostly made of silicon, one of the most abundant and safest materials on earth. The process that makes silicon into solar panels can pollute, and some solar detractors will point to this and say that the technology is harmful to the environment. However, several studies, including this one from the U.S. Government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have concluded that the net environmental impact of solar power is much lower than almost any other energy source.

Others will say that after their 25-year lifespan is up, solar panels and solar batteries will fill up landfills and their toxic chemicals will seep into the water supply. Not quite, as long they’re treated responsibly at the end of their usefulness because both solar panels and lithium batteries can be disposed of at recycling facilities equipped to handle them. Solar panel recycling is not often discussed because that side of the industry is literally in its infancy. Most solar panels installed in the U.S. have not yet reached the end of their lifespan.

Some say “with solar, when there’s no sun, there’s no power”. That would be true if one were to rely only on their solar energy system for electricity. However, our systems are designed to supplement your electric consumption from the grid, not replace it. Panels will produce something even when the sun is behind the clouds, but it’s obviously not the same as a clear sunny day. Either way, our systems are designed to work with your utility, so you’re always connected to a power source – as long as the grid is powered.

No Objective Other Than Clean American Energy

Finally, many will say that just because we sell solar, we’re part of some left-wing conspiracy. We often hear that we are somehow in cahoots with a politician, or even some foreign government. Obviously, that cannot be further from the truth. To us, solar power is part of a clean energy independence here in the United States and we’re proud to play a small role in that. No political agenda here. Does the solar industry receive government subsidies? You bet, but so does nearly every other form of energy, including petroleum, coal, nuclear, and even corn (used to produce ethanol).

Some materials in the process of making panels may be sourced from outside the U.S., that is true. However, we are proud to offer American-made solar panels to our residential customers. Are there parts made in another country in the assembly? More than likely. Can you point to any electrical device in your immediate vicinity that doesn’t have parts made overseas, or was at least assembled in America? Good luck. If you had our American-made solar panels you could point to your rooftop or ground mount.

No technology is perfect and solar energy has its flaws, but it’s not the demon many detractors try to make it out to be. Remember, while solar energy has no political agenda, many who are quick to dismiss it often do.

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