Latest articles by The Solar Nerd

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

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.
An image of the night sky.
How do home solar panels work at night, on cloudy days, or under snow?
Solar panels work by collecting sunlight and magically turning it into electricity to power your home. So does that mean when the sun goes down your electricity turns off and you can’t watch Game of Thrones? Actually, no. Read more to learn about how electricity continues to work seemlessly in a solar home, even when it’s dark, cloudy, or your panels are covered in snow. First, an explanation. Sunlight is made up of elementary particles called photons.
A piggy bank in which you can put the money you save by going solar.
Do solar panels add value to your home?
For many people who are thinking of adding solar panels to their house, knowing whether they will add or reduce the value of your house is a really important question. While it makes sense that any type of improvement to your home, including solar panels, should increase its value, there are a few caveats to be aware of when it comes to solar. First of all, when it comes to the question of whether or not solar will increase your home value, the answer in most cases is yes.
Are solar panels worth it in 2021?
Thinking about solar panels for your home? It’s a major investment: even in states that offer multiple incentives, you’ll still be paying multiple thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the price of solar continues to drop, and in 2020 the cost renewable energy - especially wind and solar - has fallen to the point where it’s cheaper than natural gas at utility-scale installations. But how about for the homeowner? Home solar panels can be worth it, but it depends on a few key factors: whether your home is suitable for solar, what your financial opportunity cost for purchasing solar is, what type of financing you’re prepared to use, and how personally important the environmental benefits are to you.
How many solar panels do I need to run my house?
People often ask how many solar panels it takes to run a home with a particular square footage - a 2,000 foot or 2,500 house, for example. But square footage won’t answer that question because different homes of the same size can use wildly different amounts of electricity. The number of solar panels you need to run your home depends completely on how much electricity you use in a year. You can find this out by getting a copy of your electric bill and looking for the section that tells you how many kilowatt hours you were billed for.