Tag Archives for " solar technology "

What is a Solar Tracker?

solar-tracker

Some solar installations act like sunflowers, turning to face the sun

Most of us picture a fixed rooftop installation when we think of solar panels – but did you know that there are solar panels that don’t sit still as they soak up the sun? Some photovoltaic systems are connected to something called a solar tracker, which powers ground-mounted solar panels to slowly change position so that they continuously face the sun.

Solar trackers can use a number of methods and mechanics to function, but all of them are meant to do one thing: increase energy output by moving solar panels so that they receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Some manufacturers boast that their trackers can increase energy production as much as a 45% over a fixed roof system.Continue reading

The Enphase Microinverter: Reviews and Company Information

enphase-microinverter-reviews

What is the future of Enphase, and are their products as good as many say they are?

Enphase is the preeminent manufacturer of microinverters in the US. Their products are unique, high-quality, and fill a niche in the solar industry. However, the company has been troubled by quarterly net losses and falling stock prices since 2015. What are real customers saying about the products?Continue reading

Sunpower Solar Panels: Great Products, Hurting Company

sunpower-solar-panels

Sunpower’s solar panels are great, but recent layoffs and a factory closure are cause for concern

Sunpower has been around for over 30 years – a veritable dinosaur by solar industry standards. But they’re a dinosaur in a good way, as Sunpower solar panels are some of the best in the industry, thanks to the company’s expertise, know-how, and innovation.

Unfortunately, even with all the accolades Sunpower receives for its solar panels, and despite its high revenues, the actual company continues to suffer from debt, layoffs, and a recent factory closure.

What makes Sunpower’s solar panels so great, and what does the future hold for the company? Let’s delve into all this now.Continue reading

Wiring Solar Panels in Series vs Parallel: Which Is Better?

solar-panel-in-series-vs-parallel

Understand the difference between wiring your solar panels in series vs parallel.

You want your solar panels to deliver the maximum amount of energy possible, right? But did you know how your solar panels are connected within the electrical wiring of your house makes a difference in how well they work? Connecting your solar panel in series vs parallel affects current flow and is dictated by your installation’s setup.

Warning: Science below! While we’re not going to get too deep into the details, the difference between connecting solar panels in series vs in parallel is an intermediate level solar discussion. If you’re looking for something a bit more on the beginner level, check out our articles How Do Solar Panels Work? and Everything You Need to Know About Solar Inverter Types.

OK, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we’re ready!

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The “Tesla Off Grid Generator” Scam vs Elon Musk’s Powerwall

tesla-off-grid-generator

Is the Tesla Off Grid Generator legitimate or a scam?

Nikola Tesla was a famous engineer and inventor best known for his contributions to electricity supply systems. Many have tried to imitate his greatness but few have succeeded. How can you tell if machines currently on the market that bear Tesla’s name, such as the Tesla “Off Grid Generator”, are fact or fiction?

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What are the Tesla Low Profile Solar Panels?

tesla-low-profile-solar-panels

Tesla’s low profile solar panels are an alternative to traditional solar panels.

By now you’ve probably heard about Tesla’s solar roof tiles – the panels camouflaged to look just like standard roofing shingles, allowing for a subtle, inconspicuous way for homeowners to go solar.

But now Tesla has also designed low profile solar panels for those of us who can’t – or don’t want to – tear off our roof and put up another one just to go solar. These new panels, made in collaboration with Panasonic, offer a subtle look that’s faster and easier to install than old school panels. Continue reading

Are Solar Panels Dangerous for Firefighters?

Are-solar-panels-dangerous-for-firefighters

Solar energy is good for the planet, but are solar panels dangerous for firefighters?

Solar panels are a great way to ameliorate the harmful effects of climate change, lower our household energy costs and decrease nonrenewable energy dependence. But is there a downside to all this cheap energy – are solar panels dangerous for firefighters?

Solar panels, typically installed on the roof, are rigid and produce electricity (obviously), potentially making the area unsafe in an emergency situation and threatening firefighters’ ability to respond in a timely fashion. Many governments and first responder organizations have cast a spotlight on this difficult issue.

How do we reduce climate change without creating a hazard for ourselves and first responders?

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What Exactly Is Active vs Passive Solar?

active vs passive solar

The difference between active vs passive solar can get confusing.

All over the country, people are installing solar panels on their roofs to produce their own electricity and save some cash. In fact, residential solar grew about 1,250% from 2010 to 2016 – talk about an explosion! But this wasn’t the first solar explosion. 40 years ago, there was a huge explosion in solar as well.

Back in the late 1970s, at the height of the oil crises, renewable energy was in. President Carter installed thermal solar panels on the White House, the first federally-sponsored renewable energy lab was founded, and both the federal and local governments were actually handing out financial incentives for solar panels.

But it wasn’t the electricity-producing solar panels we so frequently see today that they were subsidizing. They were actually thermal solar panels, which harness the sunlight’s heat to preheat water for home use. Even now, driving throughout the west, you’ll see old thermal solar panels dotting roofs, either pumping away hot water or rusting away as a reminder of those times.Continue reading

How to Set Up a Solar Driveway Gate

solar-driveway

A solar driveway gate provides the ultimate convenience.

Although solar driveway gates might seem a bit foreign to someone living in the city or a compact suburban neighborhood, they are quite common in rural areas where driveways can be longer than football fields.

Ranches, farms, and other working land plots often require fencing to protect livestock and crops from potential threats. This fencing also serves to distinguish land borders and helps to keep order on an otherwise sprawling acreage.

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The Best Solar Lights for Outdoor Use

best-solar-lights

Not quite ready to go full scale solar? Take baby steps with outdoor solar lights.

Outdoor solar lights enhance landscaping and improve safety, and there are many options for your lighting needs: solar garden lights, solar landscape lights, solar path lights, and stair lights. Similar to rooftop solar panels, they convert solar rays into electricity and then store it in a small battery pack for use at night. If you are looking for a creative and cost-effective way to light your yard without much fuss, we’ll help you choose the best solar lights for you.

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