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Climate Change Myths Debunked: How Solar Energy Can Help

Forested hills behind the words Climate Change Myths Debunked and a line drawing of Earth with thermometer next to it.
PublishedJune 28, 2024
UpdatedJune 28, 2024
AuthorHeadshot of Andrew Blok.Andrew BlokWriter and EditorEditorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth Marketing
In this article
The Reality of Climate Change
Debunking Climate Change Myths
Understanding Solar Energy
Solar Energy’s Role in Mitigating Climate Change
Impact of Climate Change on Home Energy Consumption
Taking Action: How Homeowners Can Contribute

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. It’s also been one of the most hotly debated topics of the last few decades. Over the years, that debate has included lies and disinformation aimed at minimizing climate change’s risks or denying its existence entirely.

While the voices falsely claiming that climate change doesn’t exist have dwindled, new climate myths are cropping up. We cover a few of them below, explain why they’re wrong, and let you know what you can do to help address climate change.

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The Reality of Climate Change

Climate change is real and it is here. April 2024 was the hottest April since modern recordkeeping began, a record that has now been set 11 months in a row. Climate change is fueling more frequent and more severe weather, like the recent increase in disasters that cause $1 billion or more in damage.

Annual temperature averages have risen for the last century, mirroring the widespread use of fossil fuels for energy. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gasses most responsible for climate change, are rising steadily.

The effects of climate change will vary by region, but the climate patterns around the globe that humans, plants, and animals have adapted to live with will be disrupted. Warmer oceans lead to coral bleaching, and hotter temperatures shift plant and animal populations to higher elevations or higher latitudes. Sea ice loss in the Arctic makes it harder for the animals that depend on it to survive. As the ice melts and the oceans warm and rise, coastal cities will flood more frequently, even as hurricanes and tropical storms will likely drop more rain and coastal flooding. The southwest will get hotter and drier, further taxing an already strained water supply. The Midwest can expect warmer and wetter winters and longer dry, hot periods in the summer. Dangerous heat waves will likely become more common.

Though some of the effects of climate change have arrived, we can avoid worse outcomes with quick action to address a warming planet and adapt to the new climate reality.

A bar graph showing annual average temperatures since 1880 with temperatures generally increasing over time.

Credit: NOAA

Debunking Climate Change Myths

Despite the evidence that climate change is real and the result of human activity, misinformation and lies about it persist. Here’s the truth about some common climate change myths.

Myth 1: Climate change is natural and not accelerated by human activities

Natural climate change has occurred over the Earth’s long history. Temperatures and carbon dioxide levels have been higher and lower than they are currently. So how do we know our current predicament isn’t just another swing of the pendulum?

Natural phenomena do affect the climate. Large volcanic eruptions can cool the earth and cycles in the sun’s activity can affect global temperatures. However, when climate scientists crunch the numbers, natural factors can only explain a small part of the warming over the last century. 

“Both human and natural factors influence Earth’s climate, but the long-term global warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effect that human activities have had on the climate,” the Fourth National Climate Assessment concludes.

Today’s warming is also happening much faster than past natural cycles, an indication that something besides natural factors is at play.

Myth 2: Small efforts like using solar energy won't make a difference

For decades, climate deniers said that climate change wasn’t real. As that claim got harder to make, other claims have surfaced. One of those is that it’s too late to make a difference.

Staring down a global problem like climate change and trying to calculate your ability to solve it can feel a bit defeating. Still, individual actions add up.

The climate impact of adopting solar will be different depending on the carbon emissions associated with your local electricity. If your electricity comes primarily from coal, you’ll avoid more carbon emissions by switching to solar than if it came from gas. Regardless, those reductions add up. Palmetto estimates that its solar projects will reduce emissions equivalent to burning over 3.5 billion pounds of coal or driving a car over 8 billion miles. That’s all thanks to rooftop solar installations. 

A line graph with historic temperature rise and possible future warming scenarios.

Source: IPCC

Myth 3: Switching to renewable energy is too costly and inefficient

Some might argue that the energy transition is too expensive. On a global scale, building the necessary renewable energy infrastructure to address climate change will cost a lot, but so will doing nothing. A recent study predicted climate change will cost $38 trillion per year in lost income by 2049. The World Economic Forum estimated that from 2000-2019, extreme weather cost $16.3 million per hour. Extreme weather is expected to be more frequent and strong with climate change.

At the household level, while installing solar can be a significant expense, it can also bring substantial savings over the system’s lifetime. Many residential solar systems can pay for themselves in energy savings in 6 to 10 years. If you purchase your system, you may claim 30% of the total cost as a tax credit on your federal income taxes.

Another affordable option is Palmetto’s LightReach Energy Plan, which removes the upfront financial commitment of going solar. You get solar and pay predictable monthly payments that are lower than your electricity bill in the first year. With LightReach, you also get a production guarantee and 25 years of Palmetto Protect, which covers monitoring and maintenance of the system.

Understanding Solar Energy

Solar panels work when they absorb sunlight, which generates an electric current. Unlike power plants that burn fuel to produce electricity, no carbon emissions are produced with the electricity.

The basics of solar technology have been constant for years, but the technology has improved and become cheaper over the years. Installing solar in 2022 cost roughly one third of what it did in 2000, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At the same time, solar panels have become far more efficient.

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Solar Energy’s Role in Mitigating Climate Change

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to rapidly transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Every form of energy production has some greenhouse gas emissions associated with it, whether from the energy it took to manufacture, the fuel it uses, or how it’s disposed of.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar energy produces ten times fewer carbon emissions than gas plants and twenty times fewer than coal plants over its lifetime. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, solar panels installed in the United States have avoided the carbon emissions that could be stored in 3.3 billion trees.

Impact of Climate Change on Home Energy Consumption

Climate change will change how we use energy at home in at least two ways.

With more warm days, the need for air conditioning will increase. Already, nearly 10% of the average home's energy use goes to keeping it cool. As that number creeps up, the value of rooftop solar will go up with it, recent research shows. Increased electricity demand at home thanks to home electrification purchases like an electric vehicle or heat pump would have a similar effect. Climate change is likely to drive up your electricity bill, but solar panels can keep it lower.

In some places, climate change will make severe weather more powerful and frequent, increasing the likelihood of power outages, a trend that is already starting to become apparent. In these areas, solar paired with battery storage can keep your home powered up during an outage.

Taking Action: How Homeowners Can Contribute

At home, using less energy and using clean energy are two important ways people can help address climate change. Solar panels provide clean energy and, with nearly 36 gigawatts of residential solar installed in the US, installing them is now a pretty common process.

To start your solar journey, use Palmetto’s solar saving calculator to estimate the impact solar could have on your energy bill. From there, it’s essential to work with a professional installer to navigate your solar system’s design, permitting, and activation, which Palmetto solar professionals can help you with. After that, if you purchased your system, claim the 30% federal tax credit if you’re eligible. If you’ve decided to go solar with Palmetto’s LightReach Energy Plan, enjoy monthly savings on predictable payments that are lower than your utility bill in the first year.

You can also reduce your home's emissions by reducing the energy you use. Small actions, like washing your clothes with cold water or adjusting the thermostat when you’re away from home, and larger actions, like replacing inefficient or gas-powered appliances or vehicles with efficient electric ones, can meaningfully reduce your personal emissions.

You can reduce your climate impact outside your home’s energy use, too. Changing your diet, traveling less, and supporting groups that take climate action are also valuable steps, even if solving the problem will take more than just individuals doing their part.


Climate change is real and the effects we’re seeing now and will see in the future are thanks to human activity. But avoiding the worst effects is still possible, especially with fast and meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar panels at home are one way to combat climate change, and rooftop solar is adding up to a significant source of renewable energy in the US.
If you’re ready to explore solar for your home, start with Palmetto’s Solar Savings Estimate Tool and reach out to a Palmetto solar expert today.

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About the AuthorHeadshot of Andrew Blok.Andrew BlokWriter and Editor

Andrew has worked as a journalist and writer for four years, over half of those dedicated to covering solar. He currently lives in Tucson, AZ, where you might run into him walking his dog and birding while dodging the heat. He has degrees in English education and journalism.

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