3 Clean Energy Myths: Alternative Energy, Actual Facts

Debunking common energy misconceptions


Given current political events, it can often feel like there's an agenda when it comes to the truth. There's so many different sources to filter through, cross-check, and back reference. Before you know it, you’re down a rabbit hole of misinformation, misleading "facts" and confusion.

People seem to have a lot of misconceptions about clean energy and its truths. We’re going to bust some of these myths right out of the water. We've done the research, tallied the numbers, and made the comparisons. Here are three energy myths debunked.

Myth #1: It takes too much time and effort to be energy efficient

LED $250B

We hear you, our daily lives can get hectic and stressful.

Between work or school, family life, and social activities, our lives fill up fast. Many people feel like they want to be more energy-conscious, but don't think they have the time. Change out light bulbs? Replace flooring with sustainable options? Install solar panels? Being energy conscious isn't just about these larger changes to your home.

Technology is becoming more automated. The natural complement to this automation is energy saving. It's part of the package. Getting an automated thermostat like the Nest is the first step, as it learns your behavior and adjusts your household's temperature automatically. You can also dive a little deeper by integrating it with weather app capabilities so that it starts cooling your house when it's a hot day. The Halo1 is another smart device – a smoke detector that features a highly sophisticated weather radio to alert you well in advance of severe weather, helping you plan accordingly.

We can all agree that the less we have to fiddle with smartphone apps in order to be energy conscious, the better. Integration with Amazon’s Echo featuring Alexa voice recognition was the talk of CES this year. Everyone wants to make sure their device can be activated through Alexa's voice command capability, which means less friction between you and your daily routine. Turn the lights off by just saying so? Ordering pantry items before they go out of stock as soon as you think of it? Done and done. Smart refrigerator technology is also getting more sophisticated — now, you won't have to worry about forgetting about that produce you bought last week going bad. As the world moves to better technology that becomes personalized and automated to your own lifestyle, you will become more energy conscious without even realizing it.

Myth #2: Solar panels are too expensive for the average person

Burning Toaster

This myth perpetuates the idea that renewable energy is only for rich elites while the working class can barely juggle cost of living expenses.

In fact, installing solar panels is cheaper than it ever has been. Like any other home remodeling project, solar is considered an investment because of the long-term benefits once installed. On average, each kilowatt of installed solar power adds $6,000 overall to a home’s resale value2. That means even a small 3 kW system will add a lifetime value of $18,000 to your home.

Solar calculators can help determine how much it would cost to install solar on your home. They factor in a household’s actual monthly usage and location to determine costs and lifetime savings from installing solar. For a typical household, it’s around $11,000 upfront for a 3.5 kW solar system. That’s without factoring in federal and state tax incentives or rebates. The Federal ITC (Investment Tax Credit) that offered a 30 percent discount on solar installations was recently extended in 2015. Though the recent policy changes may impact that, it’s clear that installing a solar system gives you a huge return on investment.

Myth #3: There aren’t as many jobs in clean energy

Solar Jobs

In an economy that’s still on the recovery, jobs are on everyone’s minds.

When looking at national policies, a lot of people seem to think that clean energy improvements mean less jobs, especially in regions that have been historically centered around coal and oil. To them, closing coal mines is a death knell for their local economies.

While it's true that badly executed policies have left some regions relying on fossil fuels, sustainable policies do not mean fewer jobs. In fact, they actually mean more jobs since the clean energy umbrella casts a wide net. Instead of focusing on one, finite source, there's a wide breadth of industries, sub industries and job specialties that can apply to each source: solar, wind, and hydro.

In the solar industry alone, there are twice the as many jobs3 when compared to coal and gas. Many solar jobs are construction related, due to the increase in demand for contractors when building bigger solar farms (and a lot more of them). In total, clean energy employs around 770,000 people4. That number will only continue to grow.

So there you have it: three energy myths busted for good. With more jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels, there’s no need to compromise environmental conservation for the sake of economic growth. Additionally, with solar panels becoming more affordable and smart tech devices automating our lives, it’s easier than ever to become energy conscious. Forget alternative facts and stick to actual ones. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you can fight against misinformation and hysteria. The results are clear: sustainability is creating a future that is smarter, cleaner, and brighter.

Want to learn even more about clean energy? It starts here.

  1. halosmartlabs.com 

  2. cleantechnica.com/2013/12/17/study-shows-rooftop-solar-adds-thousands-to-home-resale-values/ 

  3. forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/01/25/u-s-solar-energy-employs-more-people-than-oil-coal-and-gas-combined-infographic/#7e7054832800  

  4. seforall.org/sites/default/files/IRENAREJobsAnnualReview_2016.pdf 

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