Articles tagged "batteries"

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California's SGIP solar battery rebate explained
As solar panels have become mainstream in the United States and especially California, energy storage has become more and more important. California is trying to deploy as much energy storage as possible, with gigawatts worth of batteries coming online. Homeowners can get in on the act too. Even if you have solar panels, your home won’t have electricity during a blackout unless you have a battery. The Self-Generation Incentive Program is operated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
Enphase IQ batteries: overview and specifications
If you’re looking for a solar storage battery for your home, Enphase offers several options with its IQ series. Enphase is best known for its microinverters. Most solar homeowners these days are choosing power optimizers or microinverters over conventional central inverters, and Enphase dominates the North American microinverter market with its IQ7 and new IQ8 series. Meanwhile, lithium batteries are getting cheaper all the time, utility companies are having scheduled blackouts (aka power safety shutoffs) due to wildfire risks, and utilities continue to attack net metering.
Photo of a small solar panel and portable battery, suitable for charging a smartphone.
The best solar phone charger (solar panel and battery pack tested)
If you want to use solar energy to keep your smartphone or portable electronics charged, you can find hundreds of choices on Amazon. We took a close look at a few of them in an earlier article. While some of them do a pretty good job, it’s also true that most of them don’t work nearly as well as most people expect. If a product is advertised as a solar phone charger, you generally expect it to actually charge your phone on a sunny day.
Photo of a Goal Zero solar kit with power station/battery storage.
Solar panel kits for RV, camping, and other off-grid uses
If you like to get off the grid, whether it’s roughing it in a tent, or you’re more of a “glamper” who likes to stay comfortable in a boat or RV, you probably still like to have electricity to keep your devices powered. We’ve written articles about some of the solar technology you can use to make this happen, such as flexible solar panels, charge controllers, and solar phone chargers. However, if you have big power requirements that involve keeping a larger battery charged, things get a little more complicated.
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 a forest fire
PG&E blackouts and solar panels: what you need to know
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has been doing planned blackouts through the wildfire season in 2019 as an emergency measure to avoid deadly wirefires like the Camp Fire of 2018 that killed 85 people and burned over 150,000 acres. Today’s planned blackout will be largest yet: over 800,000 customers will be affected. The Camp Fire of 2018 was caused by a faulty PG&E power transmission line in Butte County. A fallen PG&E power line sparked a fire on the morning of November 8, and within two days more than 6,700 structures had already been burned.
Photo of a city during a blackout.
Do solar panels work when the power goes out?
One common misconception about home solar panels is that they’ll keep your house powered even if the electric grid goes down. They can, but only if you have the right equipment to go with it. First of all, let’s understand one thing that might seem obvious: solar panels don’t work in the dark. For the majority of homes that have solar panels, this means having a grid connection that supplies power when your panels don’t generate any electricity.
Example of an RV with solar panels installed on the roof.
Beginner’s guide: How to power an RV or boat with solar panels
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could power your recreational vehicle entirely with solar power? Turns out you can! A group in the Netherlands have built exactly that: the Stella Vita is a fully electric camper vehicle with slide-out solar panels. It has a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery and a body constructed of aluminum and fiberglass. With good sun, it can fully recharge itself within 2 or 3 days. It seats two and weighs only 3,700 lbs.
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.