Power output or wattage is an important factor to consider when comparing solar panel options. You may hear your solar installer say, “it’s a 255 Watt panel” or “the panel I am recommending is a 300 wattage.” Or, when you are reading a quote from a solar installer, you might see numbers like 245W, 300W, or 345W next to the name of the panel. They are all referring to a solar panel’s wattage, capacity and power output. So, what is the typical output of solar panels?
This piece will explain how solar panel ratings work so you can better compare your solar options. All solar panels are rated by the amount of DC (direct current) power they produce under standard test conditions. Solar panel power output is expressed in units of watts (W), and represents the panel’s theoretical power production under ideal sunlight and temperature conditions. Most solar panels on the market today have power output ratings ranging from 200 to 350 watts, with higher power ratings generally viewed as being more favorable than lower power ratings. Pricing in solar is typically measured in dollars per watt ($/w), and the wattage of your solar panels plays a significant part in the overall cost of your solar system.
Of all the incentives for installing solar panel systems, solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) are some of the most potent, yet least-understood. You may have heard enigmatic terms like “SREC markets,” “solar renewable portfolio standards,” and “minimum compliance payments” thrown around in discussions about SRECS, but sifting through of all this jargon can be downright mind-numbing. However, SRECs can provide sizable streams of money to owners of solar power systems, so learning about what SRECs are, where they are available, and how they can make solar more financially-rewarding can, quite literally, pay off in a big way. In this article we aim to answer the simple questions: “how do SRECs work?” Continue reading →
The simple answer for renters who want solar panels for their apartment or home is that it is possible. Through a number of methods, a renter can still cash in on the financial benefits of solar even if they don’t own their property.
If you’re renting and paying your own utility bills, you may think that there’s no incentive for your landlord to switch to a system powered by clean energy. But, switching to solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind power, geothermal, biomass or combined heat and power could be a win-win situation for you and your landlord. You already know you, as the tenant, would benefit by limiting future increases in your utility bills. But can you really convince your landlord that it’s in his or her best interest, too? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” All you need to do is present a compelling case. So, here’s how:
So, you’ve decided that installing solar panels on your home or business just might be the way to go. Now what? Here’s a quick solar checklist that will help you to navigate the way from “I think solar panels might be a good idea” to “Hey, look how awesome my solar power system is!”
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 covers the integrity of the panel itself, and protects you against failures due to 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.
Installing Low Cost Solar Panels in PA: Their Path to Lessening Your Carbon Footprint
Leslie Heilman didn’t think it was worth it for her to go solar in Pittsburgh, PA. She lives in a cozy house built in 1905 in one of the city’s older neighborhoods, and it’s pretty grey most of the year. “Were as gloomy as they get except for Seattle and Buffalo” she says “My husband works in environmental protection, and so even though we have a real interest in lessening our carbon footprint solar never really came to mind because we assumed that Pittsburgh was not a cost effective place to put in solar.”
There are a lot of factors that can affect the performance of your solar panels and the economic benefits they can generate—things such as where you live and how sunny it is, how much you pay for electricity, which way your house faces—even the pitch of your roof. Variety is the spice of life, but the diversity of our architecture can affect the performance of solar panels. It’s important to understand how those differences in production performance related to the angle of your roof will affect the overall financial performance of your solar power system. Continue reading →
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 your 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.
Here are a few things to consider when evaluating different solar panels. Continue reading →
Understanding Solar Roof and Solar Panel Orientation
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.
In the past, we’ve written about solar beginning to reach the MLB and the NFL. But since then, more and more professional sports teams are realizing the amazing power of solar energy. In an effort to both reduce their carbon footprint and save money, sports teams across the country are allowing solar power systems to take over their stadiums.
There are so many reasons why going solar is a great idea for anyone from the owner of a large stadium to the owner of a modest residential home. We are optimistic that in the near future every professional sports stadium in the country will be powered by clean, renewable solar energy. Right now, sports fans can follow in the footsteps of their favorite team and go solar themselves! The first step is getting an instant estimate of your property’s solar potential.