Category Archives: Solar 101

8 Solar Energy Facts in 2017

solar energy facts

The U.S. solar industry has witnessed remarkable growth in the past decade while the cost of solar has declined by nearly 70 percent.  Now that solar has entered the mainstream, everyday homeowners are starting to wonder how much solar could save them and how simple making the switch really could be. If you’re starting to think about installing solar panels, it’s helpful to understand the big picture for solar power. In this article, we’ll break down eight facts about solar energy that may surprise you.

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How much do solar panels cost in the U.S. in 2017?

solar panels cost in the u.s. graphicYou’ve probably heard about how solar energy can reduce your electricity bills, but how much do solar panels really cost? The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels is to look at its price in dollars per watt, which is relatively consistent across the United States. Continue reading

What is the average solar panel size and weight?

solar panel size and weight

Solar energy systems are an increasingly common sight on rooftops all across the U.S., but unless you climb up onto a roof, it can be difficult to figure out how big solar panels are and how much they weigh. This article will help you understand solar panel size, solar panel weight, and whether your roof can support solar panels.  Continue reading

What are the most efficient solar panels on the market?

For those looking for the most efficient solar panels for their PV system, the first thing you need to know is how to compare efficiency metrics for different manufacturer brands. Simply put, efficiency (expressed as a percentage) quantifies a solar panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Given the same amount of sunlight shining for the same duration of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient panel will produce more electricity than the less efficient panel.

most efficient solar panels on the market energysage

As the race for the most efficient solar panel continues, it’s important to understand how more efficient panels could mean much bigger solar savings for the everyday consumer.

In practical terms, for two solar panels of the same physical size, if one has a 21% efficiency rating and the other has a 14% efficiency rating, the 21% efficient panel will produce 50% more kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity under the same conditions as the 14% efficient panel. Thus, maximizing energy use and bill savings is heavily reliant on top tier solar panel energy efficiency.

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How many sunlight hours do I need? Calculating peak sun hours

how many sunlight hours do solar panels need

When weighing the decision of whether or not going solar makes sense for your roof or location, one of the first questions you may ask is “how many sunlight hours do I need for solar to be worth it?” The reason this question is important is because there is a significant range across the country for average peak sun hours. In this article, we’ll explain which states offer the best sun hour value and how much sunlight intensity in your state should impact your decision to go solar.

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Why are solar panels so expensive? Understanding the cost of a solar panel system

The Cost of a Solar Panel System

While the most expensive part of going solar is paying for the equipment, it still only represents 25 percent of the overall expense. Soft costs, or the outlays that installers spend just trying to find you and appeal to you, also contribute a significant percentage. Here’s a breakdown so that you can understand the cost of a solar panel system, plus tips on how you can save money!

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What to Know About a Solar Panel Warranty

What is a solar panel warranty?

A solar panel has two warranties: a performance and equipment guarantee. A solar panel’s performance warranty will typically guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years. An equipment warranty will typically guarantee 10-12 years without failing. SunPower offers the best warranties.

A solar panel’s product warranty insurance covers the integrity of the panel itself, and protects you against problems such as manufacturing defects, environmental issues, premature wear and tear etc. As with most warranties, a longer period is generally more advantageous to you, if you own your solar panel system. When evaluating a solar panel warranty and its manufacturer, the two most important factors on which you should focus are:

1. Product (or materials) warranty, and
2. The performance warranty
We’ll address both of these in this article as we break down our process for finding the best solar warranties offered by manufacturers.

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What is an SREC? Net metering credits explained

what is an srec graphic People often think SRECs and net-metering are the same thing, but really, the comparison is like apples to oranges. It’s true that they are both important to getting the best financial results from your solar PV system, but SRECs and solar net-metering actually have very different, distinct functions.

SRECs are a way to put cash in your pockets while net-metering is an efficient way to manage the finances related to your utility bill. Both can have positive financial effects and understanding the difference between the two can help you, as the owner of a solar PV system, to maximize the benefits of both. Here’s how it all works: Continue reading

How do solar panels work at night and on cloudy days?

How do solar panels work at night?

If you’ve been wondering “do solar panels work at night?”, you’re certainly not alone. If you choose to rely on solar panels for your home electricity use, it’s important to understand how solar panels can be a reliable source of power during night time when there is no available sunlight.

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Alternatives to solar panels for home: solar sheds and other solar covers

rooftop solar alternatives

Homeowners across the United States are reducing their electricity costs and their carbon footprints by installing solar. For many solar shoppers, rooftop systems are the best home solar option. However, not every home has a roof that’s suitable for solar. Certain roof types, like slate and cedar tiles, are too fragile for solar panels. If trees shade your roof, you’ll have less-than-ideal solar electricity production, and some homeowners’ associations and historical associations have rules that restrict solar panel installations.

Luckily, there are a variety of alternative solar options for every situation. Whatever the reason is that you can’t install rooftop solar, there’s a solution available that can suit your needs.

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