Latest articles by The Solar Nerd

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

Top solar charge controllers compared
If you have a battery bank in your RV, boat, or other off-grid setting that you want to charge with solar panels, you need a charge controller. In a system where solar panels charge a bank of batteries - whether lead-acid or lithium-ion - a charge controller sits between them and regulates the flow of electricity into the batteries. While grid-connected solar panel systems also use charge controllers, this article will focus on smaller scale applications, such as 12 volt systems for RVs, boats, and cabins.
Illustration of a house with rooftop and ground mounted solar panels.
6 trends in home solar energy for 2020
Solar panels keep getting cheaper, but price isn’t the only consideration when it comes to buying solar panels for your home. As a modern technology, the rapid evolution of solar is more similar to your smartphone than to mature energy technologies that solar competes with, such as gas turbines or coal powered steam plants. If you’re a homeowner who is contemplating putting solar panels on your roof or backyard, you might be a little overwhelmed with the technical terminology and all of the choices available.
Historical atmospheric CO2 levels. Data source: Reconstruction from ice cores. Credit: NOAA
Do home solar panels really help fight climate change?
97% of scientists believe that the Earth’s climate is changing and that humans are the reason. This isn’t new. The fact that carbon dioxide traps heat isn’t in scientific dispute, and the idea that humans burning massive amounts of fossil fuels could affect the climate has been around since at least 1912: Climate change story in a New Zealand newspaper. August 14, 1912. More recently, scientists looked back at climate models from the 1970s and found that they were remarkably accurate.
Photo of Enphase and SolarEdge solar inverters
Enphase vs SolarEdge: which home solar inverter is best?
In a home solar installation, the inverter plays the critical role of turning the direct current from the solar panels into alternating current that the house can use. Broadly speaking, there are three types of inverter systems: microinverters, string inverters, and power optimizers. There are pros and cons to each of these, and situations where one type is more appropriate than another. While a quality solar installer will answer all of your questions about why they recommend a particular inverter, it’s always a good idea to have as much knowledge as possible so that you can ask intelligent questions.