How reliable is solar energy? It’s an important question for people considering the switch to solar because we live in a fast-paced, energy-dependent world. When it comes to your home or business, there is no time for power outages or lack of available power.
Although it’s a broad one, there are two main ways to look at this question – “resource reliability” and “production reliability”. Resource reliability is about the availability of the energy source (sunshine) and its ability to regularly reach your panels. Production reliability is more about the ability to consistently turn that sunshine into usable electricity. This production mainly depends on the dependability of the solar system hardware (panels, inverters, wiring), as well as the quality of the solar energy installation.
Of course, there must be a high level of confidence in both the resource reliability and the production reliability in order for solar energy to make sense for you.
So, just how reliable is solar energy?
First, let’s look at resource reliability. We all know the sun rises every day. Along with death and taxes, it’s one of the few absolute certainties in life.
While it’s true that some states get much more sunlight than others, this does not lessen the overall reliability of sunlight as an energy source. If you live in a state that averages lower sunlight hours, you may just need more panels to generate the power you need.
No matter what state you’re in, a solar panel system can be custom designed to reliably meet your energy needs based on your region’s total sunlight hours. Efficient solar panel design involves careful planning around panel placement. South-facing panels are best and you must also consider array placement in regard to trees/buildings). This is when having an expert turnkey solar team becomes very important. MOXIE’s site surveying team will find the very best placement for your panels and even help estimate the amount of sunlight that will reach those panels on a daily basis.
Do solar panels still work on cloudy days?
Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power. Just as humans can quickly become sunburnt on a cloudy day, solar panels can still produce energy despite an overcast sky. Of course, direct sunlight is best for solar energy production, but solar systems still produce electricity on cloudy days.
If you live in an area with a strong net metering policy, the extra energy generated by your panels during more sunny times can offset energy that you use at night and on those less sunny days. Another solution is solar storage backup batteries, like Tesla Powerwall.
Do solar panels work in rain?
When you go solar, you might expect to be singing “Rain, rain go away come again another day.” But actually, rain helps keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away surface dust or dirt. While it’s typically cloudy for a bit while it rains, the sun’s rays can still shine through the clouds. When those rain clouds roll away, your panels will actually be producing more efficiently than before!
Do solar panels work in winter?
Yes, your solar system will provide your home with power all year, though the amount of power that is produced does shift with the seasons.
Summer is when solar production peaks with the longest days of the year and most consistent sunshine. During winter, solar production is at its lowest due to shorter days and more variable weather. Again, net metering and solar storage batteries can help offset this.
MOXIE was founded in Iowa, so we know a lot about ensuring steady solar production during winter. We design our systems with all four seasons in mind, and seasonal sunlight fluctuation will be factored into your solar production estimate.
How long does solar panel hardware last?
Now that you know resource reliability isn’t an issue, let’s consider production reliability. Solar panels typically come with a 25-year warranty while inverters come with a 12 to 15-year warranty. Typically, your system will pay for itself in energy savings before you even reach 12 years (8 years in some states). The solar panels on your roof should continue to produce electricity well past the 25-year mark but their efficiency will decrease slightly over time, at an average rate of 0.5% per year.
You’re essentially guaranteed to breakeven on the cost of your solar panel system well before it’s warranty expires. Plus, we design our solar agreements with the lifespan of our equipment in mind and have taken the expected decline in performance into account in our production estimates.
MOXIE also provides a 5-Star Guarantee on top of all manufacturer warranties. This covers everything from workmanship to 98.5% production uptime.
How will I know if my solar panels are working?
Using a smartphone or computer, you will be able to log into the system monitoring app to check your system’s production. MOXIE provides this at no additional cost. In the app, you will be able to see how your production varies on a day-to-day basis and how it compares over weeks and months.
You will also get the benefit of MOXIE’s expert monitoring. We will continually keep a close eye on your system to make sure it is producing as expected. In fact, we’re one of the only solar companies in the nation that monitors your panels on a weekly basis at no additional cost to you.
What to do if your solar panels stop working
When you install with MOXIE, we’ll keep an eye on your system’s production and dig in to solve any problems quickly. If it requires getting new equipment, our team will handle everything from filing the warranty paperwork to bringing the new equipment out and professionally replacing it. If you were to install solar yourself, it would be your responsibility to identify the issue and work out a solution on your own.
Still wondering “is solar energy reliable?” Just reach out to MOXIE for a no-pressure consultation. We will give you an exact answer to just how reliable and affordable solar energy is for you.