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How Nevada got its (solar) groove back

How Nevada got its (solar) groove back

In late December, 2015, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) shocked the solar industry and solar owners by announcing the end of net metering for rooftop solar. At the time, we called it INSANITY. The decision meant people didn’t get full credit for the energy their panels sent to the grid. On top of that, extra fees were added to the electric bills of solar owners. The ruling destroyed the economic benefit of rooftop solar, affecting every owner of a rooftop system whether they installed it ten years or…

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Your Solar Questions Answered, Vol. 1

Your Solar Questions Answered, Vol. 1

Every now and again, we get questions from readers of our weekly solar newsletter. In this new feature, we’ll take the most interesting questions and copy the answers we gave, for the benefit of all our readers. Please enjoy! Lynn B. from Pennsylvania: We’re really interested in solar power… we’ve heard that there are “incentives” and are wondering how to find them and IF they really exist. How many loops and backdoors do we have to jump through to get incentives?” Thanks for your question, Lynn. There are incentives out…

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How good are solar panels if they don’t face south?

How good are solar panels if they don’t face south?

In the northern hemisphere, the sun crosses the sky a little to the south, which means putting solar panels on a south-facing roof is the best way for homeowners to capture the most solar energy. But what if you don’t have a suitable south-facing roof? Well, when it comes to solar panels, west is second-best. Go west, young one West-facing roofs get less sun than those that face south, but it’s not as little as you may think. According to the Concord Consortium, makers of Energy3D solar energy modeling software,…

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How do you negotiate with a solar installer?

How do you negotiate with a solar installer?

So you’ve gotten a quote from a local solar installer, and you’re worried it’s too high. Can you negotiate? Of course the answer is “yes,” but the questions then quickly becomes “how do you negotiate with a solar installer?” In short, to negotiate with a solar installer, you need to arm yourself with knowledge so you know what to expect, go with the installer that can give you what you want, and be ready to adjust your expectations. Here’s more: Compare quotes from other installers If you can find one…

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Tesla’s Solar Roof is here! Is it worth it?

Tesla’s Solar Roof is here! Is it worth it?

It’s here, it’s pretty, and it makes electricity. But how much does it cost, and is it worth it? Tesla has unveiled its solar roof and begun taking pre-orders for installations. The roof, in case you haven’t heard, is made of super-strong glass tiles, some of which have solar cells inside. It’s designed to be a permanent replacement for your roof (so permanent the tiles come with a warranty that extends to “infinity”), though the solar cells are only guaranteed to make electricity for 30 years. Wait, 30 years is…

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The cost of installing solar could go up 15% this year. Here’s why.

The cost of installing solar could go up 15% this year. Here’s why.

May 5th, 2017 Suniva, a United States manufacturer of solar panels, filed for bankruptcy last month. A week later, it petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for an emergency increase in tariffs on solar cells imported from other countries. Big deal, right? It is. It could mean that solar panels will soon cost double what they do today, bringing solar installation costs up by 15%. What happens next? The ITC has 120 days to review the petition, and a couple months more to report its findings and make recommendations…

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It’s May 2017. Where’s Tesla’s Solar Roof?

It’s May 2017. Where’s Tesla’s Solar Roof?

It’s almost summer, 2017, and we’re eagerly awaiting more information about Tesla’s revolutionary solar roof tiles. And not without reason. The tiles make smart use of roof space, beautifully replacing something functional but boring with a new thing that provides the same function, plus makes electricity. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the “toughened-glass” tiles will still be there “well after the house has collapsed” (no, seriously). The things are being hyped by Tesla as the Survivor of solar products; outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting everything else on the market, and…

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How much is China investing in solar compared to the U.S.? (INTERACTIVE SLIDER)

How much is China investing in solar compared to the U.S.? (INTERACTIVE SLIDER)

What does Chinese investment in solar mean for the U.S? Yes, China is investing $144 Billion in its solar industry over the next 3 years. That’s a lot of money. And it’s just a part of a $361 billion package the Chinese government has put together to support renewable energy within its borders. How much has the U.S. government committed to investing in the solar beyond a tax credit initiated in 2005 and existing loan guarantees to solar companies? Nada. That’s likely going to mean a continuance of China’s dominance…

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How are Solar Panels Attached to my Roof?

How are Solar Panels Attached to my Roof?

It’s ironic that the best place for solar panels (rooftops, yo) is also the most difficult place to mount them. Solar panels need a place that’s sturdy, unshaded, and pointed towards the sun, and roofs fit that bill nicely. But getting up there can be a pain, and attaching panels to the roof means drilling huge bolts into the rafters. Also, because of the huge variation in roofing materials and construction techniques, the solar industry has had to invent many different methods to attach mounting hardware. Well, invent them it…

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Tesla’s new solar panels are beautiful and powerful. What else do we know about them?

Tesla’s new solar panels are beautiful and powerful. What else do we know about them?

April 11, 2017 This past weekend, Tesla updated the “Solar Panels” section of its website to include photographs of the company’s new solar panels. Tesla’s design replaces the sometimes-ugly aluminum racks of traditional solar installations with a sleek front-skirted system without visible racks, designed to look as good as the company’s cars. That’s all Tesla has let on so far, except to the alternative transportation aficionados at Electrek, who got the lowdown about the panels’ power rating (325W), OEM (Panasonic) and manufacturing location (Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Buffalo, NY). What…

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