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Myths About Solar Energy

Solar technology has been on the market for decades. While the science and engineering has come a long way from the early days of Russell Ohl’s patented design in 1941, solar technology still carries some misconceptions and myths. Most are outdated, some are untrue.

Myth 1: Solar Only Works In Tropical Climates

Figure 1: Princess Elisabeth Antarctica

False. Solar works everywhere the sun shines including locations far from the equator. In fact, solar is used in places like Antarctica! However, it is true that solar panels absorb less energy in places where solar irradiance is less intense. But this is not to say they do not work at all. The bottom line is, if the sun is shining even just a little bit, solar panels are absorbing energy. EnGoPlanet solar products have been deployed around the world in all types of climates.

Myth 2: Solar Panels Are Inefficient

False. Most panels on the market today achieve 15 to 20% efficiency. That might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the amount of electricity that’s generated at this level of efficiency, it’s fairly substantial. Solar panel efficiency is a measure of the panel’s ability to convert sunlight into energy, usually expressed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more electricity the panel produces. For example, if a panel has an efficiency rating of 20%, then it converts 20% of the sunlight it receives into electricity. Factors such as panel angle, temperature, and shade effect its efficiency. The solar panels used on EnGoPlanet products achieve an efficiency rating of 21%.

Myth 3: Solar Panels Are Expensive

It depends. There are dozens of solar panel brands available on the market. Each brand sits within a specific price range that targets a specific consumer. Highly efficient, state of the art panels will always be priced higher than less efficient, cost-effective panels. One thing is certain: the price of solar panels has gone down continuously over the years. As technology and manufacturing process improve, the cost of producing panels will continue to decline. EnGoPlanet solar products are designed to compete with traditional wired alternatives on a cost basis.

Myth 4: Solar Lights Don’t Get Very Bright

False. Solar lights can be as bright as you want them to be. Your only limitation is the size of the battery attached to the system, the rate at which the batteries charge, and the amount of time you want the light to be on. That being said, you would need a large solar panel/battery array to power something like baseball stadium lights. The good news is that you don’t need very many panels and batteries to power something like a streetlight. EnGoPlanet has designed their lights to incorporate all of the solar components – including the panels and batteries – into the poles themselves. The result is a fully equipped solar streetlight that can produce as much or more light than its traditional wired light counterpart.

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