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 city during a blackout.
Do solar panels work when the power goes out?
One common misconception about home solar panels is that they’ll keep your house powered even if the electric grid goes down. They can, but only if you have the right equipment to go with it. First of all, let’s understand one thing that might seem obvious: solar panels don’t work in the dark. For the majority of homes that have solar panels, this means having a grid connection that supplies power when your panels don’t generate any electricity.
Photo of a large solar farm.
What is community solar?
Home solar is massively growing in popularity, but not everybody has the option of putting solar panels on their roof. Maybe you’re a renter who wants to go solar. You can try to convince your landlord that solar panels are worth it, but you might not have any luck. Or maybe you’re a homeowner, but you’ve learned that your roof is too shaded for solar panels to work. Or you might have a roof that gets plenty of sun, but it only has about 5 years of life before it needs replacing.
Photo of a Florida coastline.
FAQs - Florida net metering and solar incentives
Is net metering available in Florida? Yes. Net metering is available to customers who generate electricity using solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, biomass energy, ocean energy, hydrogen, waste heat or hydroelectric power. This basic policy includes investor owned utilities, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives. You should check with your utility for additional details. Here’s a list of website links to net metering information for the major utilities in Florida:
Photo of the Statue of Liberty, New York
New York solar tax credits and incentives - the complete guide (2020 edition)
New York state, despite being situated in the northeastern United States instead of the Sunbelt that people normally think of when it comes to solar, was the 6th largest state for solar photovoltaic installations in 2018. This is helped in a large part by some of very best solar incentives in the country. Summary of solar rebates available to New York residents: Federal tax credit26% off system price through 2020 (22% in 2021) New York income tax credit for solar 25% off system price, up to $5,000 NYSERDA NY-Sun rebateRebate of $0.
New Jersey solar tax credits and incentives - the complete guide (2020 edition)
The Garden State has one of the most aggressive clean energy goals in the nation: 22.5% of its electricity must be renewable by 2021, and 100% by 2050. Because of that, it’s not surprising that New Jersey is ranked 7th in the nation (PDF) when it comes to solar power deployments. That’s good news if you’re a homeowner who is thinking of adding solar panels to their house, because it means that there are several policies that make solar more attractive for New Jersey residents.
A photo of electric cars plugged into charging stations.
The complete guide to charging your electric car with solar power
If you own an electric car, or are thinking of getting one, a home solar photovoltaic system is a great pairing. Not only can your home and commute be emissions-free, but you can generate the “fuel” for your vehicle from your own rooftop. If energy independence and green energy are things you care about, this is a really attractive prospect. This guide explains the details of how this system works, and answers some common questions that people have.
Photo of a broken solar panel. Image courtesy NREL.
Do solar panels go bad?
If you’re going to drop a few thousand dollars on anything - a car, a saltwater aquarium stocked with Clarion Angelfish ($2,500 each!), or solar panels for your home, you want to make sure that your investment is going to last. Cars come with warranties, but expensive fish do not. Fortunately, solar photovoltaic equipment does come with warranties. However, even if a failure is covered by a warranty, the labor to replace it may not be, plus there’s the downside of losing power generation while waiting for a repair.
Everything you need to know about flexible solar panels
All of us are packing more and more energy-hungry devices with us all the time. Smartphones, tablets, cameras - indispensible little things that we need to keep charged all the time. If you’re into outdoor activities or anything that takes you off the grid, keeping your devices charged starts to be a challenge if you’re away from a power outlet for a day or more. If you only need a little power, portable batteries are good for a few charges of small devices.