Solar energy is a growing trend, and a really worthy investment; but there are a few common misconceptions about getting a solar system. Below are 3 common expectations that are not all that realistic.

Expectation #1: My Solar System Will 100% Cover My Energy Use

This expectation is not necessarily untrue, but it is also not always likely. If have you few appliances running and are very energy efficient-a solar system could offset your entire energy consumption. However, if you are like most people who enjoy using their HVAC units, use multiple appliances such as a washer, dryer, refrigerator, television, etc., and own many light fixtures, your energy consumption may be too high to realistically eliminate your energy consumption all together. Not to mention, a solar system large enough to do would most likely be more than you want to spend!

Also, when someone gets solar, a common occurrence is that they begin to use more energy than they normally would, simply because they now have a solar system, or “free energy.”

The typical and most realistic goal is to offset your energy bill, rather than completely eliminate it, sell any extra energy produced during the day to the utility company and get energy from the utility in the evening (known as net metering.)

Expectation #2: I Will Be Able To Go Fully Off-Grid

Much like what was covered above, the reality is that in the evening, the only way to power your home solely by solar is if you have a battery/energy-storage system set up, and typically the cost of going fully off-grid is costly and doesn’t make financial sense in most cases.

Typically net metering makes the most sense. However, energy-storage systems have been becoming more popular and advanced, so it may not be too far in the future that going off-grid may become more affordable for most.

Expectation #3: I Will Produce The Exact Same Wattage That My Panels Are Sold As

There are many things that can impact how many kilowatts a solar system produces, such as trees, dust, or clouds.

While a panel may be sold as 300W, the reality is that the panels will not produce that much in the real world. This difference is caused by two different rating systems. Panels are rated to be sold under the STC rating (Standard Testing Conditions rating) which is calculated under specific/ideal conditions. Best case scenario conditions! Unfortunately, not everyone has best case scenario environments, so there is also the PTC (PVUSA Test Condition) rating, which is a better measure of how much energy your panels will actually produce.

Also, like anything, solar panels do degrade and produce less energy over time. This is why it is important to do your research and chose high-quality solar panels!

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