Thermodynamic Solar Panels

Thermodynamic solar panels: what are they and how do they work?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Typically, when you think about solar panels, you picture solar photovoltaics (PV): panels that are installed atop your roof or in an open space and convert sunlight into electricity. However, solar panels can also be thermal, meaning that they convert sunlight into heat as opposed to electricity. Thermodynamic solar panels are one type of thermal solar panel–also called a collector–that differ dramatically from traditional thermal panels; instead of requiring direct sunlight, thermodynamic solar panels can also generate power from heat in the air.

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NEM 3.0

Net metering 3.0: what does it mean for you, and how can you help?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you look at the best solar markets in the US, they all have one thing in common: a strong net metering policy. Net metering–or NEM–allows you to earn credits for any excess solar electricity you send to the grid when your solar panel system generates more than you need. 

Over the next year, California will be releasing the third iteration of net metering, or NEM 3.0. And as of summer 2021, there’s still a lot for the state to decide on – we don’t know exactly how credit values will change, or what they’ll change to, but we do know that whatever happens will have large implications for the country’s leading solar market. We’ll continue to keep this article updated with the most recent news on NEM 3.0, and in the meantime, discuss some of the proposed changes to the state’s current net metering policy, along with timelines.

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Solar Supply Chain

How are supply constraints impacting the solar industry?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

While many COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are starting to be lifted across the United States, pandemic-related supply chain issues continue to be felt across many sectors, including the solar industry. In spring 2020, solar equipment manufacturers experienced significant delays due to workplace and travel restrictions. As the pandemic continued throughout 2020 and into 2021, consumer demand largely shifted away from services, such as dining and travel, towards goods, such as computers and televisions, leading to shortages for key manufacturing components. In this article, we’ll cover some of the supply constraints currently facing the solar industry, and how these constraints are impacting solar shoppers. 

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federal solar tax credit

The solar tax credit: an energy tax credit for going solar

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. The average EnergySage Solar Marketplace shopper saves nearly $9,000 on the cost of going solar as a result of the ITC.

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Sungage Loan Review

Sungage Financial zero fee loan review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Solar loans are a very popular way to pay for a new solar or solar plus storage system, since they are a great way to take advantage of the benefits of solar ownership–from tax incentives to increased home value–without requiring you to have the cash on hand to pay for the full system up front. What’s more, many solar-specific loans offer low, fixed interest rates and flexible payment terms, helping you to find the monthly payment that’s right for you. However, a low interest rate (or APR) comes with a caveat: a low APR often means a high cost to borrow money. That cost or fee to borrow money is passed on to your installer, or even built into the overall cost of the project, making a tradeoff between the lowest monthly payment (i.e., low APR) and the lowest project cost (i.e., lowest cost to borrow money). 

Recently, Sungage Financial, one of the most popular solar loan providers on EnergySage, launched a zero fee solar loan to keep your solar project costs as low as possible. Here’s what that means for solar shoppers like you.

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Solar System Upgrades

So your old solar panel system no longer fits your needs: what are your options?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Home solar systems have now been around for quite some time, reliably powering homes across the country with clean, renewable energy. If you were an early adopter, your system is likely getting up there in terms of age. Although solar panels last for 25 to 30 years on average, with an older system you might be encountering some defects, general wear and tear, or a drop in electricity production brought on by age. Whatever the reason, if your solar system is no longer producing the kind of energy you need, we’re here to show you some of your options. 

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Battery Serviceability

What does serviceability mean for batteries?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re considering purchasing a solar-plus-storage system, you’re probably contemplating the “what ifs”: what if my battery isn’t performing properly? What if my battery stops working altogether? The good news is that battery technology is highly reliable, which is why it’s sometimes difficult to find answers to these questions. In this article, we’ll cover some common questions you may have about solar batteries to help you make an informed decision about including storage with your solar system. 

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Battery certification and testing process

Battery certifications and testing: what you need to know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Like other electronic products, home batteries go through rigorous testing before installation and use at your home or business. These tests are critical to determining the quality and performance of batteries under particular environmental stresses, as well as confirming they meet mandated government safety requirements. In this article, we’ll review the most common testing and certifications for home batteries on the market today.

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