Solar is no longer the uncommon renewable energy it once was. Today, trusted review organization Consumer reports is offering its insight about the best solar companies and best ways for consumers to install solar panels.This year, the millionth home solar panel system was installed in the United States. If you had any doubts about whether solar is now in the mainstream, Consumer Reports’ recent guide around the best way to go solar should erase them. In its August 2016 issue, the industry-leading nonprofit magazine declares, “There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar” – and suggests that U.S. homeowners use EnergySage’s Solar Calculator to determine whether solar makes sense for their homes.
The research team at Consumer Reports took on the entire solar shopping process, covering topics from equipment to financing to evaluating the installer you choose to build your solar energy system.
Consumer reports on solar panels: understand every component of a solar quote
Going solar doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In their section titled “Shedding Light on Solar Power”, you can find information about the basics of home solar. Learn how to compare warranties and costs, understand local incentives, and choose the right installer. For the technologically minded, there’s also an explanation of all the components in a residential solar energy system and how they work together.
Switch to solar: first determine whether you should lease or buy your solar panels
The financing option that you choose for your solar panels has a big impact on how much you’ll save in the long run. In “The Real Cost of Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels”, Consumer Reports explores the relative financial benefits of buying a solar panel system in cash, with a solar loan, or by signing a solar lease.
Learn how to maximize your solar savings
There are many factors that determine your up-front costs and long-term solar savings. Consumer Reports recommends a few tips to get the most out of your investment, including making energy efficiency upgrades to your home and comparing multiple offers from solar installers.
Find out more about coming technological advances in solar
Solar photovoltaics are the tried-and-true technology that has brought the industry to the point it is today. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t further technological innovations for solar on the horizon. Researchers explain solar shingles, transparent panels, and new solar cell technology in “Better-Looking Solar Solutions on the Horizon.”