Category Archives: Solar 101

Articles all about solar, from common questions to overviews of different aspects of a solar energy installation.

solar panel angle by zip code

What’s the best angle for my solar panels?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The angle of your solar array is an important factor in maximizing your energy production. Depending on where you live, the best angle at which you should install solar panels will change. This is because it’s based on the average position of the sun over your property.

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solar power pros and cons

The pros and cons of solar power: what are the advantages and disadvantages of going solar?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

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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solar panel output energy production

How much energy does a solar panel produce? Solar panel output explained

Reading Time: 7 minutes

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 has a solar panel wattage of 300.” 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.

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solar panels for home

Residential solar panels: what to know about rooftop solar panels

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Over the past decade, rooftop solar use has exploded around the country as home solar becomes a very popular investment. Homes and businesses across the country are transitioning away from a fossil-fueled electricity grid towards a clean energy economy, driven by a need to reduce emissions in a time of global climate change. Amidst this period of energy reform, rooftop solar panel systems for houses are taking off at a remarkable rate. It’s time to give residential solar the credit it deserves. Learn everything there is to know about the booming residential solar industry in our list of home solar FAQs.

Key Takeaways


  • Solar installation costs have decreased by about 70% over the past decade, making them a sensible investment. 
  • If you want to be completely off-grid, you need energy storage capabilities, a large solar panel system, and backup power to cover outages or for cloudy days. 
  • Financing a rooftop solar panel system is possible with solar loans, leases, and power purchase agreements. 
  • The average solar panel system lasts for about 25-30 years, and they increase the value of your property. 
  • Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes from our pre-vetted network of solar installers
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off grid solar

What is an off grid solar system? What does it mean to go “off the grid” with solar?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

People say all the time that they want to get off the grid. Beyond just meaning getting away from it all for a while, getting off the grid has a specific technical meaning with regards to your relationship to your utility and how you get your power. So, what exactly does it mean to go off the grid? If you’re going off-grid, there are tons of options to consider when it comes to batteries, inverters, panels, mounting systems, and solar charge controllers. Each product is different and you can customize your kit in a countless number of ways, which is why it is vital to know exactly what you’re looking for and why. Generally, an off grid solar system has the following parts:

  1. Solar panels 
  2. Solar inverters
  3. Wiring/cables
  4. Mounting equipment 
  5. Charge controller
  6. Batteries 
  7. Safety equipment (safety disconnects, grounding equipment, surge protection)
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Longevity of solar

Powering through: 2020 NREL study reveals the true longevity of solar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

One of the most common statements you’ll hear us say about solar is that it’s a great investment. Among many reasons, we say this because solar panels last a long time. Most solar panel manufacturers now offer warranties between 20 and 25 years, with some going even longer. The average payback period in the US is around eight years, meaning you’ll save substantial amounts of money for well over half of your system’s lifetime. 

But warrantied production is one thing and actual performance is another altogether. So, how well do panels actually perform as they age? A 2020 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), PV field reliability status—Analysis of 100 000 solar systems, provides some compelling insights. 

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homes with solar panels and shading

What is a solar easement?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One of the biggest hindrances to solar production is shade. So, before installing a solar energy installation, you want to make sure that any solar panels on your property receive as much sunlight as possible. If you live in close proximity to a neighbor whose trees or built structures have the potential to shade your property today or in the future, it’s a good idea to consider obtaining a solar easement.

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underperforming solar panels

Underperforming solar panels: common causes and solutions

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The number of solar panels installed worldwide increases substantially each year with advancements in technology, increasing environmental awareness, and decreasing costs. Solar is more accessible than ever, making it a more and more attractive energy option for businesses, residents, and utilities.  However, as more solar panels are produced, the chances of them malfunctioning or underperforming increases as well. In this article, we’ll explain why your solar panels may be underperforming and the actions you can take to mitigate and monitor your risk. 

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rv solar panels

RV solar panels: are they right for you?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Solar panel systems aren’t just for houses or commercial properties – it can be a great resource for on-the-go electricity users as well. In this article, learn about how solar panels for RVs and solar panels for a camper work, if they’re right for you, and what some of the top options available are.

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commercial and industrial solar installation

Commercial and industrial (C&I) solar panel installations: an overview

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Commercial and industrial (C&I) property owners can benefit from installing solar energy on business or factory roofs, or as ground-mounted systems on a campus. Many corporations have massive manufacturing facilities with expansive, flat roof space – AKA the perfect place to generate clean, inexpensive solar energy.

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