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Debunking myths about solar energy

Solar power is an amazing advancement in energy generation. It is essentially unlimited and creates energy without producing waste products or depleting fossil fuels.

Despite the progress in ‘bottling up’ and redistributing the sun’s energy, many myths persist that lead many to believe the worst. Today, we focus on sharing the realities to help set the record straight on some common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Cloudy or rainy days mean no solar power. Solar panels are designed to collect both direct and indirect sunlight. In other words, days that appear dark and overcast to us still have the potential to generate a whole lot of energy. Rain can even help solar panels work more efficiently by clearing debris from the surfaces. In other words, when it comes to solar panels there's no such thing as a 'rainy’ day.

Myth 2: Solar panels produce dangerous glare. The opposite is actually true: Solar panels are designed to absorb light vs. reflect it or create glare. In fact, most panels are made of dark materials and covered in an anti-reflective coating. This ensures the shiny panels on rooftops, nearby fields and various other locations reflect no more than two percent of the sunlight that hits them - about the same as water.  

Myth 3: Solar panels are too expensive. Many financial incentives and programs exist to help mitigate or alleviate the cost of installing solar panels. In addition, you can participate in local community solar programs. By purchasing solar blocks, you can lower your monthly bills without incurring the cost of installing panels on your home.

Myth 4: I can’t participate because I rent my home. There are some circumstances in which installing your own solar panels just isn’t an option — but that doesn’t mean you’re left in the dark. You can take advantage of our community solar program, which enables you to buy blocks of solar power while we maintain the solar gardens. It’s a win-win: You get energy like always AND a credit on your bill, based on the production of your solar block.

Hearing other myths and wondering the reality? Check out some of our previous 'myth-busting' blogs: Don't be fooled by these solar energy myths, Solar energy myths: EMF radiation and sound and read our Solar FAQs.

With so many myths surrounding solar, it's critical to seek out information to educate yourself. When educating yourself, consult reliable, trustworthy sources of information, such as the Edison Electric Institute and U.S. Department of Energy.

To learn about Alliant Energy's solar efforts, visit our Solar Generation page and check out the details on our Community Solar program.

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