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 hailstones.
Can solar panels withstand hail?
Did you know that the record for a hailstone in the United States is 8 inches? According to CNN, a giant hailstone discovered in South Dakota was the size of a volleyball and weighed almost two pounds. Yikes! If an 8 inch hailstone hit your solar array, there definitely would be damage. Luckily, hail like this is extremely rare. But what about more ordinary hail? Solar panels are designed and tested to withstand hail that is rated up to “severe” by the US National Weather Service, which is hail up to one inch in size or with wind gusts up to 58 mph.
Side-by-side comparison of Solaria and SunPower products.
Solaria and SunPower solar panels: 2021 comparison
There’s a lot of solar panel manufacturers in the marketplace. Chinese companies, spurred by the massive deployment of photovoltaics in China, occupy most of the top 10 spots for largest solar panel manufacturers in the world. The massive scale of the solar industry in China and Southeast Asia makes it hard for US-based companies to compete on price. Because of this, many American companies focus on the high end of the market by working to produce attractive and high efficiency cells.
An overview of Enphase microinverters
If you’ve read my article about how solar inverters work, you’ll know that one way to get the maximum output out of your solar panels in difficult shade conditions is to use microinverters. The company that is far and away the largest player in the microinverter industry is Enphase Energy. In business since 2006, the California-based Enphase has shipped over 20 million microinverters, so they have a lot of experience. They’ve gone through several iterations of their product lineup, and in this article I’ll take a look at their latest offerings.
Illustration of solar panels
Will solar panels get cheaper? (updated for 2021)
If you’re interested in solar and renewable energy, you’re probably aware that the price of wind and solar technologies have dropped by an incredible amount over time. There are a couple questions that homeowners who are thinking of going solar often have. The first is: Is solar power getting cheaper? And other is: If solar is getting cheaper, should I wait before installing solar panels on my house? The price of solar panels, inverters, and lithium batteries has gotten cheaper over the past 10 years.