Latest articles by The Solar Nerd

Keep up to date on industry news and articles relevant to green living and the solar homeowner.

Photo of a moving van.
Can I remove my solar panels if I move?
Moving houses is a big pain. Organizing all your stuff, packing, unpacking - nobody enjoys doing tha†. But for better or worse, packing your solar panels isn’t something you’ll have to worry about. There’s a few reasons for this that I’ll cover in this article. The bottom line is that if you have solar panels and you’re selling your house, you should plan for the panels to stay behind. While it might be technically possible to do so, it’s not a practical idea to remove your solar panels, take them with you, and reinstall them on your new home.
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Solar panel warranties: everything you need to know
A home solar installation has many components, and it’s a big investment - one that you’ll want to make sure is covered by a good warranty. With some exceptions, there isn’t a single warranty that covers everything. Instead, each component in the system will have its own warranty. On top of that, the solar installer should provide their own warranty which may cover different aspects of the installation, such as the workmanship, solar production, and even roof leaks.
California net metering 3.0 frequently asked questions
California's new net metering rules (NEM 3): frequently asked questions
A much anticipated ruling on net metering by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) came down on December 15, to the disappointment of many in the solar industry. The 260 page decision by CPUC effectively ends net metering in California for new solar customers, replacing it with a “net billing” scheme with lower payments. It’s a major change for solar in California, which first enacted net metering back in 1996. Prospective and current solar homeowners in California will certainly have many questions about the new rules.
Credit: Saepul Bahri/Vecteezy
Permits for home solar installation: what you need to know
If you plan to install solar panels on your home, in most cities you will require at least one permit for the project. In many cases, you’ll need multiple permits. That’s not surprising: solar panels involve electrical and structural work, which are usually regulated by local or state codes. You’ll also need permission from your utility company, unless you plan to go completely off the grid. If you live under a homeowners association, you might need their blessing too.
Rooftop solar installation. (Raze Solar/Unsplash)
Reinforcing a roof for solar panels: needed or not?
Most home and small commercial solar installations are mounted on a rooftop. This makes a lot of sense, because a rooftop is a readily available surface for mounting panels. Solar panels weigh less than you might think. Even so, sometimes a rooftop isn’t suitable because of the additional load that a solar array would place on a structure. In those cases, a homeowner might be able to upgrade their roof structure to support the additional load.
Photo of houses with steep roofs in San Francisco.
When is a roof too steep for solar panels?
With most home solar installations, the solar panels get installed on the roof. This means that crews need to be able to walk around on the roof, move equipment, and work safely. While flat roofs are easy to work on, roofs with steeper pitches can pose challenges. With very steep pitches, the logistics of the installation become too difficult for some solar installers, and they’ll turn down the job. Companies that are more experienced can work with steeper roofs, but they may add a surcharge to the project price.
Wind damaged solar array (Credit: FEMA)
Strong winds and home solar panels: installation best practices
Solar panels intended for use on homes and businesses are remarkably strong and designed to withstand many different kinds of abuse from the weather, including rain, hail, and severe wind. In North America, test standards require that solar panels must be able to support 5,400 Pascals (Pa) of force on the front of the panel. That works out to 0.783 pounds per square inch. An average sized solar panel is about 2,500 square inches, which means that one panel can support about 2,000 pounds!
SunPower SunVault battery
AC vs DC coupled battery storage for the home: buyer's tips
Due to prices that continue to fall, new incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, and power outages that are becoming routine in places like California and Texas, storage batteries are increasingly popular with homeowners. Homeowners can use batteries to keep the lights on during a blackout, store their excess solar electricity for later use, or to save money by lowering their reliance on the grid during utility peak hours. Consumers now have several battery manufacturers to choose from.