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 sunny California seashore.
California solar tax credits and incentives - the complete guide (2020 edition)
California is a big and sunny state, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the largest markets for solar in the United States. This is helped by the 26% federal tax credit, but there are other rebates that Californians can take advantage of to lower their costs even further. Here’s a complete list of solar tax credits and other incentives available to California homeowners in 2021. Federal solar tax credit Homeowners across the US can take advantage of the federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, also known as the solar Investment Tax Credit for the business community.
Photo of trees surrounding a house.
Is there anything you can do when a neighbor’s trees shade your solar panels?
One of the important things that determine if your home solar panels will be successful is whether they are clear of shade throughout the day. Even in locations that aren’t traditionally thought of as being good for solar, if your property has a clear view of the sun throughout the day, solar panels can generate enough power to provide 100% of your electricity needs. But if shade blocks your solar panels for even part of the day, that can have a drastic impact on your energy production.
Illustration of different contractors.
Finding the best solar installation companies near you
Getting solar panels installed on your house might seem a little exotic, especially if you live outside of states like California, Hawaii, and the Sunbelt where solar is very popular. In reality, it’s less complicated than you might think. It’s actually not much different from hiring a handyman for a larger house project. You research companies, check their credentials, get multiple quotes, review a proposal, then sign a contract. Then you wait for the installation and permitting work to be completed.
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.