Skip to content Skip to navigation menu

Solar energy myth busting

There’s a lot of myths about solar energy that you might think are fact. Now that solar energy is becoming a lot more accessible for households around the UK, we think it’s time to start busting some of these myths.

MYTH: The British weather doesn’t give us enough sun for solar panels

FACT: British weather is perfect for solar energy

We hear this myth more than any other and we get it – the UK has its fair share of gloomy days. But solar panels get their power from any kind of daylight, not just bright sunny days. In fact, clouds help to diffuse sunlight, spreading it around and making it easier for solar panels to absorb. The UK also has the advantage of our temperate weather. If panels get too warm (generally over 40°C), this builds up resistance inside the solar crystals which lowers efficiency. A temperature between 15°C to 30°C is best, and that’s what we get in northern Europe.

MYTH: Solar panels have to face south

FACT: Solar panels can face south, east or west

In the northern hemisphere, south-facing solar panels do get the strongest rays of sunlight, but that doesn’t mean they only work on south-facing roofs. Panels will always produce electricity as long as there’s daylight, but the further north they face, the less efficient they’ll become. If your solar panels are facing southeast or southwest, they’ll still be functioning at almost full efficiency.

MYTH: Solar panels can’t handle extreme weather conditions

FACT: Panels are rigorously tested to perform in extreme weather

Since solar panels have no moving parts and are made from tough materials, the weather would have to get pretty extreme to cause damage. They’re rigorously tested before they leave the factory to ensure that they’ll withstand shocks, drops and even hurricanes. They’re also designed to withstand winds of 140mph and temperatures from 65°C to -10°C. Since we’re unlikely to see any of that in the UK, your solar panels will do just fine.

MYTH: Solar power is only generated in the summer

FACT: Solar power is generated all year round

If this was true, solar farms, solar lights and solar-powered road signs would be unusable for most of the year. Yes, we get the most sunlight in summer with its longer days, but we get more than enough in autumn to spring too. Since high temperatures can limit the efficiency of solar panels, we’ve found that spring and autumn often yield better results.

MYTH: Solar panels are a bad investment

FACT: Solar panels can save you a lot of money

Installing a solar energy system is a big investment, but it doesn’t take long to make your money back. It takes around 10 years for solar panels to return their investment, which makes the majority of their lifespan pure profit. Panels easily last for 30 years, and inverters and batteries last for over a decade. That means the warranties on your system will be good until long after your panels have already paid for themselves.

MYTH: Installing solar panels will decrease the value of your house

FACT: Solar panels can actually increase your home’s value

Investing in your home generally ups its value and solar energy systems are no exception. A 2013 government report found that house prices could increase by 14% with a solar energy system installed. A more recent study by Admiral Insurance found that it now increases home values by up to 25%. This study asked homeowners about energy-saving measures, and solar energy was one of the things that added the most value.

MYTH: You can’t have solar if you don’t own your own roof

FACT: You can have solar panels if you get permission from the owner

If you’re a leaseholder on a flat but don’t own the roof of the building, it’s worth checking with the building’s owner to see if solar could be an option for you. Your landlord might be interested in investing in their property with you. Just make sure you’re contracted to live in the property for long enough to see a return on your investment.

MYTH: Solar panels need a lot of maintenance

FACT: Solar panels are very low-maintenance

With no moving parts to worry about and tough materials that can withstand all kinds of weather, solar panels are a low-maintenance energy source. The silicon in solar panels does degrade, but this barely affects the efficiency of the panels, which only decreases by 0.5% per year as a result. To find out more about how long solar panels last, read this article.

MYTH: Solar panels will damage your roof

FACT: Solar panels are designed to fit perfectly onto your roof without causing damage

Solar panels are designed to fit perfectly onto your roof. Solar panel installers are highly trained to maintain the condition of your roof and will always return it to the condition it was in before they arrived. At Wickes Solar powered by Solar Fast, a company representative will also do a visual check pre-installation to make sure your roof is safe for us to work on.

MYTH: Solar installations cause a lot of hassle

FACT: We can install your panels in less than 7 days with minimal disruption to you

Any major renovations to your home will cause some disruption, but us it only takes a couple of days to install. When you get your solar energy system from Wickes Solar powered by Solar Fast, our installers can be in and out in less than a week.

MYTH: You need planning permission to install solar panels

FACT: You only need planning permission if your house is a listed building

Unless you live in a listed building, you’re good to go. Even without this restriction, our installers will still make sure your panels are fitted safely and securely, and in line with the look of your neighbourhood.

MYTH: Making solar panels creates a huge carbon footprint

FACT: Solar panels become carbon neutral within 3 years

The need to mine, manufacture and transport materials to make solar panels means that they do initially have a carbon footprint of around 50g. However, the amount of carbon that they save will eventually cancel this out between 2 to 3 years making this a carbon neutral investment.

MYTH: Solar panels can’t be recycled

FACT: Solar panels can be recycled

Solar panels are mostly made from metal, glass and silicon, which are all recyclable. Unfortunately, this myth gained traction because some councils and companies refused to recycle panels as disassembling them and separating their components can be expensive. As the demand for recycling solar panels increased, other companies popped up to offer this service, so it’s definitely possible.

MYTH: Solar panels are an eyesore

FACT: As the technology develops, there are more design options to match your home

Of course this is subjective, but as the technology develops more designs are becoming available so you can find something that integrates beautifully with your home. The older polycrystalline panels did look like a blue chequerboard, which is where this myth came from, but modern monocrystalline panels have a much sleeker look.

MYTH: Solar panels don’t last very long

FACT: Solar panels can last for up to 30 years

Solar panels are robust and pretty difficult to damage. The only part of a solar panel that can degrade over time is the silicon, and even this is only by 0.5% per year, making very little difference by the end of our 30-year warranty period. Solar panels usually last longer than the warranty, so you’ll have your panels for a long time.