Latest articles by The Solar Nerd

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

Side-by-side comparison of Solaria and SunPower products.
Sungevity: a solar company back from the dead
At one point, Sungevity was the 5th largest residential solar installer in the United States. In 2017 it died (Chapter 11 bankruptcy), sold its assets, was reborn as a new company called Solar Spectrum, merged with another California installer called Horizon Solar Power, and then it brought back the Sungevity name. Along the way, it used debt and private equity to pursue a strategy of high growth - presumably to keep up with other high growth rivals like Sunrun and Vivint.
5 solar panels with the best warranty
Solar panels don’t have any moving parts and they rarely fail. But when they do, it can be a real pain. Relative to the total cost of your system, one solar panel isn’t that expensive. A budget panel might retail for $200, while a premium one might cost twice as much. But if you have a panel failure on your roof, not only do you have to worry about the cost of replacing the part, but the labor cost of having a technician come to your house, diagnose the problem, climb onto your roof, deinstall the bad panel and install a new one.
Photo of home solar panels.
How much do home solar panels cost? (updated for 2021)
A couple decades ago, home solar panels were very expensive and mostly limited to enthusiasts running low power, off-grid setups for their cabins. Today, the prices have dropped to the point where an average homeowner can affordably install enough solar panels on their roof to provide 100% of their electricity needs. So what can you expect to actually pay? The answer is: it depends. It depends on how much electricity you use, which way your roof is pointing (if you’re planning a rooftop installation), how much shade you get, what your local climate is, and more.
Cleaning solar panels.
What is the best way to clean my solar panels?
One of the great things about solar panels is that they just sit there, silently turning photons into electricity and making you money. They can essentially be maintenance-free for 25 years. But one question solar homeowners often have is: if my solar panels are dirty, what’s the best way to clean them? The best way to clean your solar panels is with tools you probably already have: a bucket of plain water, a soft brush or cloth, and the kind of extension pole you would use to squeegee your second floor windows.
Hazard sign
Can solar panels interfere with WiFi, TV, or cell phone reception?
It’s pretty darn annoying when the electronics in your life start glitching. Are you having trouble with one of your devices? Have you tried turning the thing off and then on? That usually fixes it for me. But if that doesn’t work, it’s time to track down the source of the problem. If you’re talking about a device that relies on receiving a remote signal, whether that signal is wired or wireless, electromagnetic interference (EMI) is problem that can sometimes occur.
Top folding solar panels for portable off-grid use
If you’re reading this during coronavirus times, you might be giving the idea of getting out of town and going off the grid more thought than usual. Whether that’s the case or you’re just normally into outdoor activities like camping, boating, or hunting, one thing that most people want is portable power. You might only need to keep some low-power devices charged like some phones or a tablet, or you might have more extensive electricity needs for things like a portable fridge to keep your drinks cold.