Our series of myth-busting facts about solar. We will release a new fact every few days over the coming weeks so check in again soon.
MYTH 1: If there is no sun, no power can be generated by solar - so it is unreliable
FACT: Solar generates electricity in many light conditions
Solar generates electricity from light not direct heat. Some PV technologies can generate in ambient light conditions. Solar draws power from UV rays as well as direct sunlight. There is no direct correlation between the average temperature of a geographical area and the effectiveness of solar.
The perception of unreliability was dismissed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO is Australia's national science agency) in their 2012 report entitled “Solar Intermittency: Australia's clean energy challenge” You can check out and download the report here.
MYTH 2: Solar is expensive. A kWh generated with solar costs more than a kWh from the grid
FACT: Solar is more affordable than ever. It saves consumers money in the long run as it is far more cost effective per kWh
The cost of installing solar has fallen around 70% over the last 4 years. Like all technology, costs continue to fall - solar in 2016 is 550 times cheaper to produce than the first solar cells made 65 years ago. 6 years ago a solar system could cost as much as a small car; now 1 kW costs the same as a large TV. Solar is an insurance policy against rising electricity costs from the grid that you can manage. And the fuel cost of solar is free.
SEANZ is launching the Industry Solar Calculator shortly to show you how effective solar is across New Zealand. Watch this space.
MYTH 3: Solar does not generate power after 25 years and the system is worthless thereafter
FACT: In New Zealand there are solar systems that are 30 years old that are generating power. Solar adds value to a property – now and in 25 years according to studies
There are many off-grid solar houses operating that are now 30 years old. The first grid connected solar system in New Zealand, which is in Auckland is still operating which is now 28 years old. An analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the US proved that solar added on average 4% to residential property value. This was consistent with the research findings of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.
Myth 4: Solar is expensive and only for rich people
FACT: Acquiring and installing solar can be completed by various means - you don't have to have cash up-front. You can buy it, rent it or simply pay for the power you use from the solar system
Solar prices have dropped over 70% in the last 4 years. Besides paying cash for a solar system, there are solar businesses and banks who provide finance options at low interest rates. Kiwibank provides loans for solar. Some companies provide a system when you pay only for the solar power that is generated. They will supply, install, maintain, upgrade and manage the system for you over its life, removing the finance and technology risk for you.
A recent analysis in Auckland by Vector, in early 2016, proved the majority of those installing solar were in the mid socio-economic group.
Come back again soon for more myth-busting solar facts...