Top 3 solar myths debunked

Posted on 21 July 2016

When the Beatles sang ‘here comes the sun, and it’s alright’, they weren’t wrong. Neither are the 1.5 million sun-powered households across Australia that are sourcing carbon-free energy and enjoying reduced electricity bills.

It’s not surprising that a whopping 30 per cent of homes in the Sunshine State of Queensland with solar power think ‘it’s alrght’. Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict that half of all Australian consumers will have rooftop solar by 2040.

Locally, we are falling behind in the sun chase. Despite our love of the sun-kissed lifestyle, only six per cent of Waverley’s dwellings have rooftop solar power. Despite its rising popularity, misconceptions still lurk in the shadows. Let’s set the record straight on these top solar myths.

Myth 1: Solar panels are expensive

Solar power systems are more affordable than they’ve ever been. In fact, costs have fallen 80 per cent in the last 10 years, and continue to drop. Currently, the entry-level 1.5kW system averages $3,000 across Australia, equivalent to a nice computer. You’ll pay this back with bill savings within six years, so any future dollars saved can head straight to your pocket (or the holiday account).

With solar power expected to be one of the cheapest energy sources in coming years, it’s a good buffer against rising fossil fuel costs.

Faith Wieland of Tamarama loves her solar system from MG Energy. “I have an app that shows us how much carbon we have saved each day. Basically everything electric is free all day while the sun is shining”, she says.

Myth 2: You need a lot of sun – they don’t work in cloudy and cold places

Solar panels rely on UV light and work well on overcast or foggy days; producing only a few percent less power than they do in a sunny and hot area. Panels are actually even more efficient when they’re cool. Take Germany as a shining example. It’s the global leader in residential solar adoption despite ranking low in sunny days.

Myth 3: Solar panels are often installed badly and require constant maintenance

With no moving parts, solar panels rarely require maintenance or cleaning; plus the average warranty lasts 25 years. In Australia, our solar industry is well regulated and safe. Each solar installer must be a qualified electrician that has undergone additional training and accreditation for solar installations and the main equipment must comply with Australian standards.

See the Clean Energy Council’s free online consumer guide to help you get quality product and service at solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers

How is Council catching the sun?

We are making solar ‘second nature’ on 12 buildings. This includes five recent installations at Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre, Tamarama Kiosk, Mill Hill Early Education Centre, Waverley Library and the new Marks Park amenities block.

These systems will produce clean green electricity equivalent to powering 42 NSW homes, and cut carbon emissions equivalent to taking 79 cars off the road.

We are also helping local schools and preschools go solar with our Solar my School project; a joint initiative between Woollahra, Randwick and Waverley Councils. Email anthony.weinberg@waverley.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Have you gone solar? Tell us at secondnature@waverley.nsw.gov.au

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