Author Archives: EnergySage

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

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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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new york state solar tax credit energysage

Is solar energy worth it in New York in 2019?

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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?

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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.
Aleo2%Germany
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
LG6%Korea
Lightway< 1%China
MAGE Solar< 1%Germany
Perlight Solar (Zebra Energy)< 1%U.S.
Phono Solar1%China
REC Solar8%U.S.
ReneSola4%China
Sharp Solar4%Japan
SolarWorld4%Germany
SunEdison/MEMC0.50%U.S.
Suniva2%U.S
SunPower17%U.S
Suntech2%China
Trina Solar17%China
Winaico<1%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


Sharing the sun: Community solar gardens taking off around US

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With strong government incentives and falling equipment costs, going solar has never made more financial sense on such a broad scale. Testament to this is the tremendous increase of the number of American homes & businesses with solar panels on their roofs in recent years. But at the same time, not everyone has a roof of their own, and even those who do might have one that is shaded or otherwise unsuitable for solar. Community-owned solar projects – sometimes called community solar gardens, or shared solar farms – promise a way for the roofless and ‘roof-impaired’ to go solar. Continue reading

Solar increases property value graphic EnergySage

New report says solar panels increase home value

Reading Time: 3 minutesInstalling solar panels can significantly increase your property’s value, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). The report, titled “Selling into the sun: Price premium analysis of a multi-state dataset of solar homes“, builds on previous research which concluded that homes with solar panels in California sold for more than those without.

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New York State’s solar incentives are some of the best in the country

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These days, virtually every state in the USA has some kind of support program for rooftop solar energy systems. But you’re especially fortunate if you’re planning on going solar in New York State: your state has some of the most ambitious solar incentives in the country. Thanks to these incentives, solar has become a very attractive investment in New York. What are New York State’s solar incentives and how can you take advantage of them

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The solar revolution is now: Solar energy beating grid electricity on cost

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solar fights electric

Still think solar panels are an expensive way to generate electricity? Think again. Solar energy system costs have fallen significantly in recent years, becoming increasingly competitive with power from electric utilities across the US. And as the global solar industry grows, prices look set to fall even further.

According to Deutsche Bank’s 2015 Solar Outlook report, solar energy system costs are likely to drop 40% in the next 4-5 years, in keeping with the steep downwards trend of the past decade. Given that utility electricity rates are only going to continue to rise, this means solar is set to become an increasingly attractive financial option for homes and businesses around the US – and the world.

Another report titled “Renewable Energy Generation Costs in 2014” released in January by the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) backs up Deutsche Bank’s conclusions. Like the Deutsche Bank report, IRENA also concludes that falling costs have made solar financially competitive with grid electricity in many parts of the world – including much of the US. The report also shows that there have been dramatic declines in the cost of solar energy systems in the past few years (including a 3/4 drop in the cost of solar panels) – and says that there is still substantial room for further cost reductions as the solar industry expands.

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What questions should you ask your solar company?

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If you’re shopping around for a solar energy system, you undoubtedly have questions that you want to ask your solar company. But what questions are the most important ones to ask an installer?

The decision-making process is a bit easier if you divide the questions into two ‘stages’: First, you can ask the key questions which allow you to understand the value that their product offers. This will help you to rule out the options which are definitely not for you. After you’ve answered these questions, you can ask the questions that will help you make the final choice between this narrowed-down range of options. We discuss some of these questions below.

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fannie mae solar

FHA and Fannie Mae agree: A solar panel system adds value to your home (if you own the system)

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Looking for Fannie Mae solar panel loans? Check out our article on the Fannie Mae Homestyle Energy Program.

Solar loans and solar financing provided by Fannie Mae have drawn major attention from homeowners as one of the new premier ways to save big withs solar panels. And one question that EnergySage receives regularly from our customers is: “Will solar panels increase the value of my property?” It is clear that the answer is already a resounding ‘yes’, and the evidence only continues to mount. We have compiled a list of studies that highlight this point, and recently wrote about Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s recent study showing that solar panels increase home values significantly across the US. These studies mainly look at cases where the homeowner is also the owner of the solar panel system.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Solar Panels Are Worth It in Massachusetts

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Solar panels popular in Massachusetts graphic
Massachusetts is considered a leading solar state. Find out why solar is so popular

Despite the state’s reputation for its cold, snowy winters, going solar is in fact a great way for Massachusetts residents to save money on their power bills. In this article we take a look at why solar panels are such a great investment for your home or business in Massachusetts.

Why are solar panels so popular in Massachusetts?

2015 was a big year for residential solar power for the USA. Massachusetts is going to be one of the states that leads the way as more and more Massachusetts homeowners and businesses discover the benefits of rooftop solar panels in MA. Once a state filled with underserved renewable demand, Massachusetts is starting to heat up as a leading solar state, according to various data reports. 

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