Despite its countless benefits, skeptics are still unconvinced of the many advantages solar power provides to communities where they are built. Solar projects create clean, renewable energy using the most abundant resource we have – the light from the sun! Solar power can be used to power anything requiring electricity, from your computer to your coffee machine. We have wrapped up six common misconceptions of solar power below to finally debunk these myths.
Myth: Solar only Works in Warm Weather
We’re often more aware of the sun in the summer – the days are longer and the weather is warmer. Yet some people don’t realize that we’re not only able to generate solar power in cold and wintery weather, but more efficiently too! That’s because Photovoltaic (PV) technology creates electricity directly from the sun and not the temperature outside. PV cells carry electrons that supply energy when they’re hit by the sun’s light. Solar panels are actually tilted to not only produce the greatest amount of energy, but also to allow snow to slide off easily. Surprisingly, solar panels are more efficient during cooler temperatures. While days are shorter and therefore, there is less sunlight in the winter months. Advancements in solar battery technology allow us to see faster and efficient charging.
Myth: Solar is Widely Available
Since the industrial revolution, the U.S. has relied heavily on coal and fossil fuels for energy use. Even today, as more and more companies are investing in renewable energy, less than 3% of our electricity is powered by solar in the U.S. – In some parts of the country, like right here in Tennessee, less than 1% of electricity comes from solar, leaving entire communities behind without clean, renewable energy. Not only are these communities missing out on the environmental and social benefits of clean energy, but the economic investment that comes from new renewable energy projects. At Clearloop we are focusing on expanding access to clean energy by cleaning up the grid in communities that are getting left behind in the clean energy revolution. Our solar projects not only help companies big and small reclaim their carbon footprint and achieve their ESG or net-zero goals, but also provide lasting benefits to communities in which our solar projects are built.
Myth: Solar is Less Effective
Solar energy has come a long way since its conception, with the ability to power entire data centers. That’s a lot of energy! Solar is also more financially reliable than coal and natural gas, providing stable costs and an increasingly more affordable price. Thanks to advancements in battery technology, we can store solar power at night, even when the sun doesn’t shine. Our Jackson project, which broke ground this year with the support of companies like Intuit, Dropps, and Hello Bello, will efficiently provide 200 homes with electricity for the next 40 years.
Myth: Solar is Expensive
A common myth associated with solar energy is the cost. Yet, it’s actually more expensive to extract fossil fuels to burn and then generate into electricity. Electricity from fossil fuels costs between 5 and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy costs average between 3 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour and are trending down, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Beyond the price per watt generated, the costs of fossil fuels don’t stop there. We must consider the harmful impact they have on our health and environment. Solar, on the other hand, provides clean energy directly into the grid, relying on our brightest renewable resource, the sun! With over 25% of our electricity coming from fossil fuels, we’re paving a way for companies big and small to help expand access to clean energy and help communities across the U.S. also reap the benefits of solar.
Myth: Solar Takes Up Too Much Land
Currently, solar projects take up a minimal percentage of the total land in the U.S. This means there’s a lot of rural, open space that could be used for solar projects for the amount of energy we need. Plus, solar companies like Silicon Ranch have paved the way to not only build utility-scale solar projects, but pioneer innovative land management practices like regenerative energy. By partnering with local ranchers and farmers to have livestock graze the land under our solar panels, we can continue to sequester carbon in the ground, avoid gas-guzzling lawn mowers, and can cut down on waste. As part of Silicon Ranch we buy the land to be long term owners and operators. We want to be permanent community members in our solar projects and with that investment, comes investment in the land.
Myth: Only Democrats Want Solar
More and more communities across the U.S. have begun to push for solar power not because of an ideology, but because solar power can be a tool for economic investment. Leaders in Georgia, Iowa, and Kansas have not only seen how new solar and wind projects in their communities mean more tax revenue for schools and first responders, but how new solar projects can attract new jobs to their communities that would otherwise go elsewhere. Even better, as solar continues to become more affordable, that means power bills can become more affordable for community members who live near solar projects – that’s a win-win-win for us!
Solar can do more to Clean Up the Environment and Boost Local Economies
We hope this article has been useful to not just debunk misconceptions of solar power, but also shine a light on the great opportunity we have to tackle our nation’s carbon footprint, while investing in the economic well-being of communities across our county with new solar projects. As technology advances, we should be able to see more people enjoying the benefits of solar energy no matter where they live. Here at Clearloop we believe sunshine is the best disinfectant and hope you will join us in making carbon a relic of the past as we help expand access to clean energy.