Author Archives: admin

do solar panels work during winter graphic

Do solar panels work in the winter? Solar snow performance explained

Memories of cold, snowy winters past can be discouraging even for the hardiest homeowner. If you’re considering going solar, you might be wondering whether solar panels and snow are a bad combination. On the contrary, EnergySage marketplace data has indicated that solar shoppers can often find the lowest quotes during winter months when competition is reduced. After all, if you look at solar as an investment, then it should be able to generate returns throughout the year as other investments do. Luckily, plenty of people have both solar panels and snow, and some of the most popular regions in the U.S. for solar have snowy winters. Don’t let winter weather discourage you from going solar!

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Love Energy Savings

Five simple ways to teach younger children how to save energy (and money!) around the home

The combination of rapidly climbing electricity and gas costs and the increased cost of living have created a perfect storm for parents, leaving many with the necessary but somewhat imposing task of educating their children about energy – and most importantly, how to save it.

It’s not always easy to know how to teach children about the topic in an engaging, fun and light-hearted way. So, Love Energy Savings, a UK-based company that allows businesses and homeowners to compare energy suppliers, has compiled a list of five simple ways you can educate your children on energy savings:

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trees shading solar panels

Should you cut down trees to go solar?

When we talk about the environmental benefits of solar power, we often compare the overall carbon offset of a solar panel system to the environmental impact of planting trees. Ironically, maximizing the benefits of solar power may mean cutting down a tree or two prior to installation.  It’s a difficult truth, but unfortunately, solar power and trees don’t really get along. Branches and leaves can block sunlight from hitting your roof, which means your solar panels aren’t generating as much clean electricity as they could otherwise be in a sunny area.

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compare quotes in massachusetts with energysage graphic

Compare solar panel prices in Massachusetts: how to get the best deal

Its a great time for consumers considering installing solar panel systems in Massachusetts.  Solar PV system prices fell over 64% during a recent 5 year span. It’s figures like this that have analysts from Deutsche Bank reporting that solar is well on its way to beating conventional generation technologies on cost.

In line with this trend, prices for solar panels in Massachusetts are also on the decline. But how can residents of the Bay State make sure that they’re not paying last year’s prices? We’ve identified three things shoppers can do to make sure they get a good deal based on some analysis of price figures from across the state (summarized in the chart below).

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Solar Cost Terminology: Cost Per Watt, $/W and LCOE

What should you look at to determine if you’re getting a good deal on solar? There are lots of things to pay attention to when deciding on a solar energy system; but two of the most useful metrics for evaluating the cost and value of a solar power offer are price per watt, measured in dollars per watt of energy ($/W), and ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE).

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How to Autoquote with EnergySage

Autoquote is a new feature designed to reduce the amount of time you spend quoting, while increasing engagement with customers. Autoquote empowers you to instantly and automatically generate quotes–to your specifications–for your solar prospects. This tool automates the process and leaves you in control of what you quote, how you price your services, and how you manage your leads. It is currently in beta mode and is not available in all markets.

You can set up Autoquote to feature your preferred pricing and products and to reflect the customer’s roof and shading profile, utility costs and energy consumption, utility provider, geography, and many other critical data points. The system is fully customizable and is able to provide a smart, sophisticated preliminary quote.

How to use autoquote

1. Set up EnergySage Packages

EnergySage allows you to create one or many packages, which include your preferred panels, inverters, and prices. You’ve already designed packages, and you’re likely using these on a daily basis to quote customers.

To create a quote package log in, hover over your name, and click on Settings from the drop-down menu. Then, click on the Quote Package Settings tab. Here, you’ll be able to view, edit, or add quote packages that include equipment and pricing, financing, incentives, and other contact and messaging.

2. Set up your Price by System Size

To set price by size, go to your equipment packages:

  1. Click Edit next to the package you would like to use for your estimates  
  2. Scroll down to the section to adjust price per watt by system size 
  3. Select a cost per watt in this range

You can add as many system size ranges as you need, and you can apply a separate cost per watt to each. 

3. Set up autoquote for storage

You can automatically quote storage to consumers that request it.

Each customer that requests storage will be quoted the specified number of batteries and total storage cost that you allocate.

After you have configured your standard equipment packages, you can begin to use them as part of the auto-quote configuration process.

4. Set up Autoquote

There are a number of variables that might impact how you quote, and the EnergySage Autoquote tool allows you to configure for each: Utilities, Systems size, Equipment, Geography, Financing.

Before starting to configure your Autoquote settings, you should think about the variables that might affect your pricing. For example, if a specific AHJ or utility is difficult to work with, you may consider setting a different price. Or you may vary pricing based on distance from your office. Your Autoquote settings can be configured at the state, county, city, or zip-code level; at each level, you can also target specific utilities. 

More specific targets take priority over less specific targets. For example, if you have one Autoquote setting for a zip code, and a second for a city that contains that zip code, a customer would match the zip code setting first, and only default to the city setting where no zip code match is available.

To set up Autoquote, click on Settings under your name; note that Autoquote settings are only accessible to admin users. Then, click on the Auto-Quoting tab:

Any previously created autoquote settings will appear on this page. Click to Add new setting

Start by selecting the geographical level–first the state, then, if you choose, county, city, and/or zip code, and then click Next

You can then choose to create a setting based on utility, or you may bypass this step. Then click Next

Then, configure the packages that apply to these customers. The interface looks similar to the standard quote submission screen.

Note that the equipment and pricing package is required. The PV and storage financing package will only be applied to customers that request storage and/or financing.

After you’ve selected a package, you can specify which reps will receive these leads. You can add as many reps as you want, each with an optional contact and message package. When a lead is autoquoted based on this setting, one of those reps and contact packages will be randomly assigned the lead. Each rep is equally likely to be assigned the lead. 

After you have selected the eligible reps, click Next. You then need to give this setting a unique name. At the bottom, toggle to activate the setting as soon as it is created. Once a setting is active, it will instantly quote matching leads. 

Setting up Autoquote is quick and easy. Once Autoquote is live, you’re able to manage customer relationships just as you always would: log in to your dashboard to see active leads and to send and read messages.

Autoquote is a new feature that’s designed to save you time and increase engagement with prospects. As always, you’ll be able to customize or edit your quote as you learn more about the customer’s needs. Our hope is that this new tool empowers you and your team to quote more customers, more efficiently so you can focus your time on the most important step: engaging with prospects and closing sales.

Autoquote is now live for your administrators to set up today. The feature will go live for consumers this spring. 


Why should I use Autoquote?

Autoquote is a new feature designed to increase customer engagement, save you time, and win you more business. Autoquote has the ability to dramatically reduce the amount of time your team spends quoting, while increasing the number of customers you engage. Autoquote allows you to remain in control of your pricing and product recommendations. As always, you remain in control of your customer relationships, and you are always able to revise an Autoquote once it’s delivered.

How do I set up my autoquote?

Setting up Autoquote is easy. To get started, log in to EnergySage, click on Settings under your name, click on the Auto-Quoting tab and follow the prompts. Autoquote settings are only accessible to admin users. Refer to the article above for complete instructions for how to get started. 

What if I want to change my Autoquote settings?

Autoquote is completely customizable. You can configure your settings to reflect the customer’s utility provider, requested system size, your equipment choices, the customer’s geography (down to the zip code), and storage and financing preferences. The tool allows you to easily and instantly adjust, create, or delete Autoquote packages.

Who can set up autoquotes?

Only EnergySage admin users can set up Autoquote. If you are not an admin user, please refer that person to the instructions above to get started. 

Where can I use autoquote?

Autoquote is currently available in Illinois and Wisconsin. We’ll update our community as new geographies come online.

compare top solar lease companies

Compare the top solar lease companies: Sunrun vs SolarCity, Vivint, SunPower & Clean Power Finance

Who are the top solar leasing companies in the country, and how do they differ in structure and business model? This article aims to answer these questions, examining some of the biggest solar lease providers in the US – SolarCity, Vivint SolarSunrun,  SunPower and Clean Power Finance.

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new york state solar tax credit energysage

Is solar energy worth it in New York in 2019?

Are you considering a solar energy system for your home or business in New York, but want to know more about the costs and benefits before making a decision? In this article we look at the reasons why going solar is a good idea in New York, and also examine the various incentives and financing options that may be available to you if you are a New York resident.

Looking for quality solar installers in your area? See our updated ranking for the best solar companies in the state of New York
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where are solar panels made

Where are solar panels made and should you care?

One of the things you may have questions about as you shop around for a solar system is where the solar panels are manufactured. This article will help you determine whether a panel’s country of manufacture should be a key consideration for you.

Note: If you are looking for information on the 30% tariff levied on solar panels by the Trump Administration, read our complete analysis here.

Does it matter where solar panel companies are based and where they make the panels?

When it comes to quality, the mention of any country’s name will evoke an association; each nation has its own brand image, which may or may not be justified. You as a smart solar shopper, however, will want to look at the facts in order to make a more well-informed decision. Our recommendation is to judge each panel by its own merits.

What if the country of manufacture is important to me?

This doesn’t mean that country of origin is never important, of course: everyone has their own preferences. For example, many Americans would prefer solar panels made in the USA to ones that are imported, whether for patriotic reasons or because they trust the ‘American-made’ brand for quality.

American-made vs imported panel costs

American-made solar panels generally cost from $0.50 to $0.80 per watt (W) – about $0.10 to $0.30 more per watt than imported panels. The highest quality, ‘premium’ American panels may even come in around $1.00/W.

For a typical 6kW system, an additional $0.30/W translates into about $1,800, a reasonable amount to pay if the ‘Made in America’ stamp is important to you. Also keep in mind that some states may offer rebates for locally-made panels that can offset some or all of the additional cost.

Check out our list of U.S. solar panel manufacturers for more information about companies that make solar panels in America.

Manufacturing location vs headquarters location

If ‘country brand’ is important to you, be aware that the location of a company’s headquarters is not always the same as its factories. (For example, SunPower is a premium American brand that has manufacturing plants in both the US and the Philippines.) All else being equal, knowing that a company’s head office is relatively close or in a familiar country could help you make a decision.

Where do the top solar companies manufacture panels?

Below, EnergySage has compiled a list of the leading solar panel companies active in the US market based on the most recently available data in 2018. The table is broken down by each company’s market share, headquarters location, manufacturing facility locations and overall quality ranking.

The key takeaways from the table below are that: 1) no single country dominates the market (although the US and China do appear most frequently), and 2) there is little to no correlation between country of manufacture and the company’s quality ranking.

Exhibit: List of solar panel makers in the US by residential market share and country of manufacture*

Solar Panel ManufacturersApprox. U.S. Market Share*Company Headquarters
1SolTech< 1%U.S.
Axitec< 1%U.S.
Canadian Solar6%Canada
Centrosolar< 1%Germany
Conergy< 1%Germany
Eoplly< 1%U.S.
ET Solar2%China
Hanwha Q CELLS1%South Korea
Hyundai< 1%Korea
Itek< 1%U.S.
KYOCERA Solar2%Japan
Lightway< 1%China
MAGE Solar< 1%Germany
Perlight Solar (Zebra Energy)< 1%U.S.
Phono Solar1%China
REC Solar8%U.S.
Sharp Solar4%Japan
Trina Solar17%China
Yingli Solar17%China

For any homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.

* 2015 Data, Residential Solar Installations, Source: GTM / SEIA