Category Archives: Solar Panels

Solar panel kits for sale: how much will they cost and how to compare them

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comparing solar panel kits for sale on EnergySage

Most home solar panel systems are installed by a qualified solar installer, but more DIY-minded homeowners are exploring options like solar panels for sale online and solar panel kits available for purchase in hardware stores. If you’re one of the millions of Americans considering solar, you’ve probably come across some of the DIY solar products available – but do you know how to choose the best product out of all the solar panels for sale? Here’s your complete guide to finding the right option for your home.

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How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Actually Produce? Electricity Output Explained

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power output of a solar panel

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 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.

How much energy can a solar panel produce?

Available sunlight will vary depending on where you live but for the sake of an example, if you are getting 5 hours of direct sunlight in a sunny state like California you can calculate it this way: 5 hours x 290 watts (a wattage of a premium solar panel) = 1,450 watts or roughly 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kwh). Thus each solar panel in your system would produce a little over 500-550 kWh of energy per year.

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 home solar panels on the market today have power output ratings ranging from 250 to 400 watts, with higher power ratings generally considered preferable to lower power ratings. Pricing in solar is typically measured in dollars per watt ($/W), and the total wattage of your solar panels plays a significant part in the overall cost of your solar system.
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Tesla solar roof cost vs. solar panels: worth the premium?

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tesla solar roof vs solar panels

This past spring, Tesla announced pricing for their new solar roof product, a roof replacement for your home. And as of January 2018, Tesla has announced they are now producing the roof product at their Buffalo Gigafactory. Installations have begun for the top of their wait list though mass market availability still remains unclear.

The new solution requires that you replace your existing roof with Tesla’s blend of non-solar glass tiles and solar-enabled glass tiles. It is an elegant new product, designed with great aesthetics, and due to its immense popularity, we wanted to explore the question: does installing this new roof make financial sense for your home? After initial analysis, we’ve found that for the majority of homeowners the answer is “not yet.” Unless you’re in the market for a roof replacement, Tesla’s new solar roof is simply too expensive for the average American homeowner to justify as a home energy upgrade.

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Tesla’s Solar Panel Roof: Solar Glass Tiles are New Solar Shingles

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tesla solar roof shingles

If you’ve found it difficult to stay up to date on the future of Tesla Motors and SolarCity in recent months, you are not alone. Numerous industries (solar, electric vehicles, and ridesharing, to name a few) worldwide are starting to feel the impact of a merger that could significantly alter growth plans for manufacturers and executives across the globe. Now the concept of an integrated solar glass shingle – the Tesla solar tile – is on everyone’s mind. 

We had already heard about Tesla’s plans for total clean energy integration – a one step carbon reduction process that involves pairing solar panels with your Tesla electric vehicle. Now for the latest: with Tesla’s highly anticipated solar roofing product, we’ve seen the future of PV roofing and the future of Tesla. One thing is certain: building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are going to be a big part of Tesla Motors – or should we say Tesla Energy’s – future.

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Thin film solar panels: Do they make sense for residential?

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thin film solar panels graphic

In a world where new solar panels and breakthroughs in solar technology are emerging almost every month, homeowners have a lot of panel options to choose from in 2018. Among the many innovations in the panel manufacturing space, none may be more appealing and visually exciting than thin film (TF) solar panels. In this article we’ll dig into what makes thin film stand out from standard silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels and offer some insight on when thin film solar is an ideal option for homeowners and the residential market.

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Why are solar panels so expensive? Understanding the cost of a solar panel system

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The Cost of a Solar Panel System


While the most expensive part of going solar is paying for the equipment, it still only represents 25 percent of the overall expense. Soft costs, or the outlays that installers spend just trying to find you and appeal to you, also contribute a significant percentage. Here’s a breakdown so that you can understand the cost of a solar panel system, plus tips on how you can save money!

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Where Are Solar Panels Made and Should You Care?

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American-made vs imported solar panels with energysage

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. (A good place to start is EnergySage’s Solar Buyer’s Guide.) Continue reading

The Tesla roof: when will it be available and should you wait for it?

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should I wait for tesla solar roof

For those asking themselves, “should I wait for the Tesla solar roof?”, you are not alone. Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, has a well-earned reputation for creating innovative 21st-century products that combine attractive designs with exceptional performance – and generate high levels of consumer interest as a result. The latest Musk technology to make a splash is the Tesla solar roof, which he revealed to great fanfare in October 2016. Here’s everything you should consider before making your decision, including what Tesla roof rivals you should consider.

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What are the most efficient solar panels on the market?

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most efficient solar panels on the market energysage

For those looking for the most efficient solar panels for their PV system, the first thing you need to know is how to compare efficiency metrics for different manufacturer brands. Simply put, efficiency (expressed as a percentage) quantifies a solar panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Given the same amount of sunlight shining for the same duration of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient panel will produce more electricity than the less efficient panel.

In practical terms, for two solar panels of the same physical size, if one has a 21% efficiency rating and the other has a 14% efficiency rating, the 21% efficient panel will produce 50% more kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity under the same conditions as the 14% efficient panel. Thus, maximizing energy use and bill savings is heavily reliant on top tier solar panel energy efficiency.

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