Category Archives for "Solar Technology"

Are Portable Solar Panels for Apartments Worthwhile?

portable solar panels for apartments

Do you live in an apartment and want to go solar?

Maybe it’s not even the money-saving part of going solar that interests you, but the self-sufficiency or cleaner living that really piques your interest. But, you’ve got a problem. You live in an apartment. You don’t own the roof or the land around it. You don’t have the authority to install solar panels. What to do? Are there options like portable solar panels for apartments?

Thankfully, there’s a few different directions to take if you want to go solar in an apartment. You could work with your landlord and try to figure out a system that works for everyone or you could join a community solar garden.

If those don’t fit your needs, it might be time to look at portable solar panels for apartments. You might not save a lot (or any) money going this route, but it’s certainly fun to produce your own electricity and get out from under the utility, even if just a bit!Continue reading

Plug In Solar Panels: Will There Ever be a Tipping Point?

plug in solar panels

Will we ever get to a point of mass adoption?

For years now, many have pined for a plug and play solar installation. Something so easy and simple, you can just plug it in to any outlet and – boom! – you’ve added green energy to your home without ever even hiring a solar installer. Sounds incredible, but does it have wide enough appeal? And before we even get to mass adoption, can we get to the point where plug in solar panels are a safe, legitimate option?

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First Solar: Reviews of their Business and Products

first solar reviews

Who is First Solar, and what makes them different?

Let’s take a look at First Solar reviews of their products, what the solar industry thinks of the company, and compare them to a handful of other manufacturers.

First Solar is a solar panel manufacturer and installer focused on large, utility-scale solar power plants. They own and control each step of the manufacturing and installation process: panel production, sales, installation, monitoring, and recycling of the solar panels once they’ve met the end of their useful life.

While they don’t work in the residential sector and so their name might not be familiar to you, they’ve left a huge imprint on the solar industry. They’ve installed over 17 gigawatts of solar worldwide – enough to power almost 300,000 average sized homes and in 2016, they were the 6th biggest solar panel manufacturer in the world. However, their products are quite different than the others on that list!

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The Best Indoor Solar Lights

indoor solar lights

A great step toward going solar without committing to a solar installation.

If you’re thinking of going solar, powering small household items — particularly your lights — can be a great first step. Lights are an indispensable tool we use daily, and can easily be powered by the sun. You don’t even need to hire a company to install panels on your roof to do it!

Today, we’ll figure out what exactly are indoor solar lights, their pros and cons, and then offer you a range of bestsellers to get you started.

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SolarEdge vs Enphase Energy: The Battle Continues

solaredge vs enphase

Which inverter wins the battle of module-level optimization?

With the inverter such a cornerstone component of your solar installation, it pays to take some time to find the best option for you. SolarEdge and Enphase both manufacture premium module-level inverters. But between SolarEdge vs Enphase, which one is better? Let’s walk through what makes each product unique and list their pros and cons to help you decide.Continue reading

The World’s Biggest Solar Panel Manufacturers of 2017

solar-panel-manufacturers

Looking at this year’s 10 biggest manufacturers of solar panels

Over the last ten years, the solar industry has grown at an almost unbelievable pace. From 2005 to 2016, total solar panel production increased from a paltry 1.4 gigawatts to 70 GW – an increase of 4,900%! (See NREL report below for stats.) Today, let’s take a look at the companies that make this happen – the world’s ten biggest solar panel manufacturers.

In 2016, these companies produced about half of that 70 GW total, with each shipping between 2.2 and 5 GW of solar panels. That’s enough solar for each company to power between 385,000 and 1 million average-sized rooftop installations!

For the most part, all the manufacturers produce ‘standard’ solar panels for both residential and commercial installations (panels for commercial systems are larger), though some also offer special products like frameless panels, panels with premium components, batteries, and mounting systems as well.

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Monocrystalline Solar Panels vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline-Solar-Panels-Vs-Polycrystalline-Solar-Panels

Should you ask your solar installer for one over the other?

If you’ve ever seen a solar panel (and hopefully you have!), chances are it was a crystalline silicon solar panel – the dominant type of solar cell out there. If you’ve done a bit more research on panels, you might be aware that there are actually two types of crystalline silicon panels: polycrystalline and monocrystalline.

You might’ve heard that one produces more energy or is more efficient or another is more cost-effective. What’s the real difference between monocrystalline solar panels vs polycrystalline solar panels? And does it even matter?

The difference between the two lies in the manufacture and makeup of their underlying material: silicon. Let’s take a look to see what all this means and ultimately help you decide which type to install.Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at a Solar Panel Diagram

solar panel diagram

We break down a solar panel to find out what’s inside

On first glance, solar panels are pretty simple pieces of technology. Sunlight hits them and they produce electricity, then flows out of a wire to whatever you want to power. Done. There’s no motors and no moving parts (electrons are the only moving object in a solar panel). However, when you take a closer look at a solar panel diagram, you’ll see they are actually incredibly complex.

Today, let’s break down what exactly composes a solar panel so that we can learn a little more about this wonder of the modern world.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 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

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