Ryan Austin
Author Archives: Ryan Austin

Is it Possible for Solar Panels to Run Air Conditioner Units?

solar-panels-to-run-air-conditioners

How to ensure your solar system can manage AC – the biggest energy hog in any house

Can you use solar panels to run air conditioner units? In a word, yes. If your home is connected to the grid and your solar installation is net metered, it is possible to use solar energy to cool your house. Many homes already do this!

However, in another word: maybe. An AC unit requires a lot of electricity. If you live off-grid and have no method of backup power, your solar/battery system will need to be quite large.

Let’s take a look at AC energy requirements and typical solar production to see if solar panels can really run air conditioners in each setup.Continue reading

Solar Inverter Efficiency – What is the Most Efficient Solar Inverter?

solar-inverter-efficiency

Comparing the expense of an efficient inverter against what it would save you in the long run

Solar inverter efficiency determines how well an inverter converts the DC electricity created by solar panels to AC electricity that can be used in our homes and by the grid. Inverters are an integral part of any solar installation. Without them, our installations would actually be useless, since we couldn’t use the electricity they produced.

No inverter is 100% efficient, as there will always be at least some loss of energy during the conversion process. However, inverters today enjoy very high efficiency, converting between 95% to 98% of all the DC electricity generated into AC, with manufacturers always reaching for that next step in performance.

Is solar inverter efficiency really that important? Is it worth spending a couple extra bucks for the most efficient solar inverter you can find? Let’s take a look at inverter efficiency to answer these questions and more!Continue reading

What New Solar Technology Developments Will We See in 2018?

new-solar-technology

We delve into six new solar technologies set to take off

The solar industry is young and enthusiastic. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies and universities actively researching, developing, and testing new solar technology and new products every day. Some are tweaking our existing silicon solar panels to make them more attractive or more efficient. Others are devising entirely new ways to produce electricity with sunlight.

When you think about it, all this innovation makes sense. We often naturally group the solar industry with companies that provide electricity (i.e. utilities) but really solar is a technology, not a service. Instead, we should be boxing solar companies together with other technology companies, like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Panasonic. (Actually, LG and Panasonic make solar panels!)

And, as with any company in the technology industry, solar manufacturers and researchers are always trying to create the next great product that is cheaper, more beautiful, easier to install, or produces more energy.Continue reading

How Big and Expensive is a 5kW Solar System?

5kw-solar-system

An average-sized installation for the average home.

Residential solar installations run from a measly 2kW to a monstrous 25kW (or even bigger). Twenty-five kilowatts (kW) is a huge solar installation (at least for residential projects), equal to about 100 solar panels.

Don’t have that much space on your roof? Don’t worry! Most installations, such as the 5kW solar system, are well below that size. Most of us don’t even use enough electricity to warrant an installation that big! In fact, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (p.5), the average installation is about 5.6kW.

Today, let’s take a peek at a 5kW installation to understand exactly how big that is, how much you can expect to pay for one, and how much you can save by installing a system of this size.Continue reading

What is the Tesla Model X Price?

tesla-model-x-price

Science fiction has become reality with the Tesla Model X, but at a price

If you want to know about the Tesla Model X price, the sky’s the limit. Just like their other vehicles, Tesla offers a wide range of upgrades and add-ons that jumps the price from $79,500 for the basic model to upwards of $155,000 for the performance model with all the bells and whistles.

Of course, with the performance model (P100D), you’re getting the fastest production SUV in the world – a car that can hold its own off the line when pitted against Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and McLarens.

Let’s take a look at the Tesla Model X cost, what you’re getting, and how it compares to other performance and luxury cars.Continue reading

Are Electric Cars Worth It? 8 Pros and Cons to Help You Decide

are-electric-cars-worth-it

Weighing out the good vs bad of electric cars

Electric cars are hot stuff right now and every manufacturer out there seems to be making one. Chevy just released their amazing new Bolt. Volkswagen’s got their new e-Golf. All of Tesla’s models are worthy of jaw-dropping awe. Nissan’s still putting out the LEAF – the bestselling electric vehicle (EV) in history. Yet the question remains: are electric cars worth it?
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How Much Do Solar Windows Cost? Are They Worth It?

solar-windows-cost

Can solar windows be a viable alternative to solar panels?

You might have heard talk that solar windows are going to be the next big thing in solar. I mean, how cool would it be to look out your window and know that they’re producing electricity while you do it? While there are one or two companies actually manufacturing solar windows, many questions remain: are they really a viable option? Can you install them on your home? How much do solar windows cost?

If you’re ready to hop on this bandwagon, don’t jump quite yet. Currently, solar windows are still in the nascent stages. Only a handful of companies are actually manufacturing them and, while they are certainly super-cool, they’re still miles away from being commercially viable.Continue reading

Baker Electric Solar Reviews Indicate a Great Solar Installer

baker-electric-solar-reviews

With a solid reputation and extensive feedback, we look into Baker Electric Solar

Our research into Baker Electric Solar reviews indicates they are one of the best reviewed solar installers out there. If you’re looking to go solar in southern California, add them to your shortlist!

Located in the southern California area, they’ve installed over 7,000 solar systems and their parent company, Baker Electric, has been around since 1938. The company installs both residential and commercial solar, including battery storage with the Tesla Powerwall.

Let’s look at Baker Electric Solar reviews, what customers say about them, and why they’re so great to work with.

Continue reading

Are Time-Of-Use Rates Good For Solar?

time-of-use-rates

How time-of-use rates affects net metered solar customers

It seems like every utility these days is jumping on the time-of-use bandwagon. If you’re in California, all the big privately-owned utilities offer time-of-use rates (often referred to as TOU rates) including PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE.

In fact, in 2016, California passed regulations that all future net-metered solar customers must move to time-of-use rates. If you live in another state, there are simply too many utilities to list that offer these rates.

With prices changing based on the time of day as well as the season, time-of-use rates can sometimes get confusing. And with these fluctuating changes, how do you know how much you’re spending, or saving, on electricity? Beyond that, what is ‘peak time’ or ‘peak season?’ Why do prices even change? Why can’t we just pay one set amount for electricity?

If you’ve got solar installed, it’s even more complicated. What if your solar installation puts energy into the grid at peak period when electricity is expensive, but you pull from the grid during lower-priced times, are you compensated correctly? How is your excess generation calculated?

Today, we’re going to answer all these questions by showing you how TOU rates affect solar savings and what you can do to increase your savings as much as possible!Continue reading

Are Used Solar Panels Worth the Hassle?

used-solar-panels

What must buyers bear in mind when considering second-hand solar panels?

Solar installations can be quite expensive, so we all want to find ways to cut costs. Usually this means simply pricing out the job with several installers or choosing mid-priced equipment. For those of us who are more hands-on, this might even mean buying used solar panels.

While used solar panels are certainly cheaper than new models, there are some serious issues to consider before buying them. You need to assess your project and weigh your options carefully before moving forward.Continue reading

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