James Elston

James Elston

Published June 8, 2024

There are many common myths about solar panel systems. For example: Solar panels don’t work if there’s no sun, solar panels damage your roof, and manufacturing solar panels is very bad for the environment.

Some myths are down to misunderstandings around the technology and others are based on genuine concerns.

At Eco Happy, we are all about empowering informed choices. In this article, we will dive into 10 top solar panel myths to explain misconceptions and debunk falsehoods.

1. Solar Panels Only Work When The Sun Is Shining

It’s true that solar panels work more effectively and generate more electricity when they receive direct sunlight (or full solar radiation).

However, solar panels are capable of generating solar energy in cloudy conditions. They function using both diffuse light as well as direct radiance. Diffuse light is the indirect sunlight filtered through clouds and scattered by the atmosphere. Though diffuse light is weaker and hits at different angles, modern solar panel systems can harvest it effectively.

The heat of the day isn’t relevant, as solar panels depend on light rather than heat. Clear icy days in winter are ideal for solar power production. That said, the UK winter can be dark and rainy, with frequent snow. These conditions aren’t conducive to high levels of solar energy production.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a south-facing 3 kW system, producing 300 kWh during June or July, will produce around 75 kWh in December or January. This is a 75% reduction in generation compared to the summer high. Many households and businesses experience an 80% or 90% reduction.

2. Solar Panels Convert All The Sunshine They Capture Into Energy

Solar panels can convert a fair portion of the sunlight they capture into electricity but not nearly all of it. Solar panels are actually not that energy efficient. Their efficiency is measured by the percentage of sunlight they convert into usable electricity.

The efficiency of the average solar panel is around 15-20%, meaning that for every unit of sunlight they receive, they generate 0.15 to 0.20 units of electricity. Most light is lost as heat or reflected off the panel’s surface. The best panels currently boast 24.5% efficiency; however, we can expect efficiency to rise closer to 30% with improved technology.

3. Solar Panels Are Not Environmentally Friendly

There is an argument that solar panels are not eco-friendly due to their manufacturing and disposal processes.

Solar panels do negatively impact the environment in some ways:

  • Manufacturing solar panels causes carbon emissions.
  • Panels may be transported long distances, adding to emissions.
  • Solar panels sometimes take up agricultural land or natural reserves.
  • Improper disposal adds to electronic waste and can cause hazardous materials to contaminate the environment.

However, the net environmental impact of solar is overwhelmingly positive. Solar panel installation has prevented millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. A typical home solar panel system prevents one tonne of CO2 emissions annually – the equivalent of driving 3,600 miles.

In 3 to 4 years after installing solar panels, the CO2 emissions saved cancel out the emissions from producing and shipping the panels.

The carbon footprint emission from solar PV systems has been measured at 14 to 73 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per 1 kWh. This is 10 to 53 times less than the 742 grams of emissions from burning oil.

The solar industry is strongly committed to recycling solar panels. Recycling reduces the need to mine new raw materials and ensures old panels aren’t a waste hazard. Many countries, including the UK, have regulations to govern the proper disposal and recycling of solar panels.

4. Solar Systems Are Threatening Farming Land

There is a concern that solar farms are a threat to agricultural land and green spaces. In fact, the actual impact of solar farms on farmland is minor. Solar power farms currently occupy less than 0.1% of the total land in the UK.

Even a 5 times increase in solar panel land (as the government wants) will see commercial solar installations occupying less than 0.3% of the UK’s land area. This is about 0.5% of the land currently used for farming and much less than the space taken up by golf courses.

Solar panels contribute to energy and food security. By balancing the priorities between these two vital areas, the country can deliver both very well.  

5. Solar Panels Are Ugly And Reduce Property Value

This myth might have been valid years ago when solar panels first appeared; however, the world has since largely embraced solar.

A growing number of Brits find the sleek modern aesthetics of solar mountings, with their stylish blue or black tint, attractive. Surveys show that most people view solar-powered homes in a positive light. Additionally, many customers and employees favour companies that demonstrate a commitment to renewable solar energy.

Solar panels are more likely to raise property values than reduce them. A Solar Energy UK study found solar-powered properties are valued up to 2% higher. Anecdotal evidence suggests a solar panel system can lift a property’s value by 5%.

The last five years have seen a general upward trend in electricity prices. Smart investors know that a solar installation future-proofs your property, increases energy security, and cushions you against energy shocks and price hikes.

6. Solar PV Panels Require So Much Maintenance

This is a misconception. Solar panels have relatively low upkeep. Thanks to technological advancements, modern panels have few moving parts and don’t require the same attention older systems did. They can be easily maintained by property owners with some help from solar technicians when necessary. An occasional cleaning every six months can improve efficiency.

Solar panels can also be remotely monitored, allowing you to track your system’s performance without physical maintenance checks. Solar panels are designed to function in various weather conditions and, when properly installed, will run smoothly for many years.

7. Solar Panels Will Damage Your Roof

A solar installation begins with a professional site assessment. This includes checking the structural integrity of your roof to confirm it can safely accommodate solar panels. The evaluation will also consider how many panels you need and the best solar design for your roof.

The priority is ensuring your roof is not damaged or compromised. When installing solar on slate or tile roofs, installers take care to remove sections of tiling before attaching mounting racks to solid rafters (the tiles are replaced afterwards).

Panels are securely mounted on rails in a way that doesn’t harm your shingles or rafters. Flashing is also secured around mounting hardware for a watertight seal.

Modern solar panel systems are strong and durable and provide protection and shade to the roof area where they are fitted. If repairs are necessary, the panels can be easily removed.

8. Solar Panels Easily Damaged

The vulnerability and weakness of solar panels are a myth. Modern solar panels are built to last for over 25 years. They are typically encased in tempered glass, are solid, scratch-resistant, and can withstand impact from hail stones up to 25 mm in diameter.

Solar setups are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and function in temperatures from -40°C to 85°C, too.

Of course, solar panels are not indestructible. Heavy falling objects like big branches may crack the glass and birds sometimes damage connections.

Overall, solar panels are tough and durable, with a low degradation rate. Manufacturers often back their panels with warranties of over 20 years – further assurance of strength and durability.

9. We Don’t Need Solar Because We Have Clean Coal

The myth here is that “clean coal” is clean. Clean coal technology uses carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce emissions from coal plants. However, clean coal mining and combustion still produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants, furthering environmental damage.

Manufacturing solar panels also harms the environment; however, the environmental benefits help offset this damage, making solar energy much cleaner than clean coal energy. Solar is a green, sustainable solution while clean coal is more like a bandaid.

10. Solar Panels Are Not Worth The Expense

The upfront cost is one of the main reasons property owners are discouraged from investing in a solar PV system. A solar system can cost over £6,000 for a one-bedroom home, £8,500 for a mid-sized home, and £50,000 for a medium-sized business.

However, solar panels are an investment in the future. When discussing the cost of solar panels, the bigger picture includes savings on future energy bills and various government-backed incentives.

  • Future savings: Energy Saving Trust figures indicate that households can save up to £630 annually on electricity bills with solar.
  • Payback: Solar panels pay for themselves over time. Experts estimate the payback period to be between 8 and 14 years, depending on the type of property and installation. Some people even achieve an ROI in five and a half years.
  • Smart Export Guarantee (SEG): The government-backed Smart Export Guarantee effectively rewards you for selling your surplus electricity back to the grid. You can earn 15p or more per kWh from some suppliers.
  • Grants and finance: The government wants to see more solar panels installed nationwide and has made grants available to help consumers invest in this technology. You may qualify for up to £6,000 through schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) and Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan.
  • Increase in property values: As discussed, solar panels can enhance your property’s value.

Get A Solar Panel Installation Quote Today

Are you still concerned about the myths around solar panels or are you ready to install solar panels and enjoy the clean low-carbon future solar offers? Step into the future of sunny renewable energy and lower electricity bills. Contact Eco Happy for a free solar installation quote today.


What is the main disadvantage of solar panels?

Solar panels don’t produce electricity at night (when most homes need it) and struggle to generate enough power on dark overcast days. However, using a solar battery allows you to store electricity produced in the day for later use.

Do solar PV panels heat up the Earth?

Solar panels don’t heat the Earth. Panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity rather than heat. They help curb global warming by generating clean electricity which reduces the need for fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases.

Are there other rooftop solar options besides mounted panels?

For those who don’t like the raised profile of a solar panel installation, there are alternative options such as solar tiles and integrated solar panels. These solutions are integrated into your roofing and lie flush without any raised ridge. Solar tiles are designed to resemble your existing tiles, achieving a near-seamless match.

Our Verdict

In conclusion:

  • Solar systems don’t rely only on direct sunlight.
  • They can generate electricity even in cloudy, wintry conditions.
  • While solar panel production impacts the environment negatively, the overall benefits of solar energy far outweigh this drawback.
  • Solar farms will never crowd out all the country’s agricultural land and green spaces.
  • “Clean coal” remains dirty and is not an alternative to clean solar energy.
  • Modern solar panels are durable, efficient, and work in extreme temperatures.
  • They are environment and owner-friendly.
  • Solar panels offer an energy solution that will contribute greatly as the UK drives toward net zero.
James Elston

James Elston

Boiler Expert

James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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