Category Archives: Solar 101

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

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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solar panels for home

Residential solar panels: what to know about rooftop solar panels

Reading Time: 6 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.

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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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20 kw solar system

How much does a 20,000 Watt (20 kW) solar system cost?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re shopping for a solar energy system, one of your first questions is probably, “how much will it cost?” Prices depend on the size of your system, the type of equipment you choose, and the state that you live in, but reviewing prices for a 20 kilowatt (kW) system is a great place to start for many smaller homes. Learn more about how much a 20 kW solar system costs, how much electricity a 20 kW system will produce, and the smartest way to shop for solar.

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Onsite vs. remote site survey

The future of solar site surveys: onsite or remote?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

One of the most crucial parts of any solar installation project is the site survey. After your installer makes an initial assessment of your property, they’ll conduct a site survey to obtain detailed information on the condition of your roof, and take measurements to assist the engineers in design. But how exactly do installers get this information? 

In the past, the only option was to climb up on the roof and take measurements by hand. While this is still the most common method, some new remote technologies are beginning to offer compelling advantages that are changing the way site surveys are conducted. In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each of these methods. 

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4 kw solar system

How much does a 4,000 Watt (4 kW) solar system cost?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re shopping for a solar energy system, one of your first questions is probably, “how much will it cost?” Prices depend on the size of your system, the type of equipment you choose, and the state that you live in, but reviewing prices for a 4 kilowatt (kW) system is a great place to start for many smaller homes. Learn more about how much a 4 kW solar system costs, how much electricity a 4 kW system will produce, and the smartest way to shop for solar.

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