Category Archives: Solar 101

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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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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Key metrics for comparing solar panels: PTC solar, STC rating and temperature coefficient

So you’ve made the decision to go solar. Well done! If designed right, a solar power system is a great, long-term investment with both financial and environmental benefits.

Choosing the right solar panels is one of the most important steps in designing your solar power system. There are hundreds of options, and while all panels are designed for one purpose – to convert sunlight directly into electricity, not all panels are created equal. Different solar cell technologies and the quality of manufacturing can impact the performance of ysolar panel quality and performance energysageour panels. For these reasons, comparing solar panels and finding the right one to meet your specific system needs can sometimes be a complicated task; but, it doesn’t need to be.

In this article we’ll explain important metrics like PTC power rating, STC, degradation rate, efficiency and temperature coefficient.
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Clean Energy Examples: What are the Main Types of Clean Renewable Energy?

With a number of similar terms in the world of renewables, many are wondering what is clean energy and what are the sources associated with it? Understanding the line between dirty energy and clean energy can be more complicated than one might think and our research shows that one of the roadblocks that discourages people from purchasing clean energy systems is the combination of too many options and too little information. To help clear the way forward for everyone, we’ve created the following simple, top-line primer to lay the foundation for learning more about clean energy options that are available to you.

types of clean energy sources

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What happens if your tax liability is too small to claim the Investment Tax Credit for solar?

investment tax credit

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a generous incentive from the federal government. It was put in place to encourage uptake of solar energy and other renewable energy systems in 2006. It has been tremendously successful in this goal: the number of solar installations in the US has increased 1,600% since the ITC was introduced.

Many EnergySage customers quickly understand the potential benefits of the ITC, but have questions when it comes to the particulars of how it operates. Frequently, we field questions about whether or not they can claim the ITC at all, and when and how it can be applied to their tax bills. Continue reading

Does my solar roof have to face south?

You don’t need optimal conditions for your solar power system to be a great investment. One of the biggest myths about the financial viability of solar is that it requires a really sunny location and a south facing roof. While these may be ideal conditions, folks outside of Southern California with roofs that face other points on the compass, such as east to west-facing roofs, can still satisfy most of their electricity needs and reap significant financial returns when they adopt solar power systems.

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The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

pros and cons of solar energy graphic energysage

If you’re considering installing a solar panel system, you’ve probably already had your share of exposure to solar marketing, whether through spammy ads promising free solar panels or a knock at the door signaling an eager solar salesman ready to convince you why you should go solar. To make the right decision for your home, you need to be able to distinguish between the real pros and cons of solar power and the solar myths that are sometimes communicated in the media. 

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