Welcome to the most complete guide to going solar in 2022.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why everyone is talking about solar energy right now
  • Why brands are important when it comes to choosing solar panels
  • Solar trends for 2022 and why they matter
  • Lots of pro tips on going solar and choosing wisely
  • Solar Smart tips that can help you make informed decisions

So if you’re thinking about switching to clean solar energy this year and have a hundred questions, this guide is for you.

And even if you already know what solar is, this guide for 2022 will give you the most up-to-date info available.

Let’s get started.

Chapter 1

Solar Energy 101

In this chapter we’re going to break down the basics of solar energy.

Including:

You ready to dig in? Let’s start with the basics.

Solar Energy Snapshot 2021

Let’s take a look at recent reports from SEIA that summed up the growth of solar in the first half of 2021:

  • In Q2 2021, the US solar market installed 5.7 GWdc of solar capacity, a 45% increase over the second quarter of 2020 and the largest Q2 on record.
  • With Q2 additions, the US officially surpassed 3 million installations across all market segments, the vast majority of which are residential systems.
  • Solar accounted for 56% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the US in the first half of 2021.

 

Solar Energy Snapshot 2021

Let’s take a look at recent reports from SEIA that summed up the growth of solar in the first half of 2021:

  • In Q2 2021, the US solar market installed 5.7 GWdc of solar capacity, a 45% increase over the second quarter of 2020 and the largest Q2 on record.
  • With Q2 additions, the US officially surpassed 3 million installations across all market segments, the vast majority of which are residential systems.
  • Solar accounted for 56% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the US in the first half of 2021.

The Rise of Solar Power

In addition, according to a report from November 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that, “solar power accounted for 3% of U.S. electricity generation from all sources in 2020.” In other words, of all the power supplied to homes across the nation, solar power accounted for around 3%. That may not seem like much, but it doesn’t stop there. At the rate solar power is growing, the EIA also predicts it will account for 4% of the U.S. total in 2021, 14% in 2035 and 20% in 2050. It helps that many cities in the U.S. are adapting 100% renewable energy goals every year.

There’s a simple explanation for this rapid growth:

Not only is solar power great for the environment, but homeowners who switch to solar power are saving thousands in electricity costs every year by choosing to produce their own energy.

Rise of Solar Power Blogs

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Keyoka Kinzy
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10 Cities Committed to 100% Renewable Energy

These days, citizens across the U.S are encouraging their local governments to seek ways to become 100% renewable energy cities. But can a city run on 100% renewable energy? Regardless of your hometown’s geographical location or the state of its economy, how we generate energy is a concern for us all. Harmful pollutants in the…

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Solar Stories: How One Homeowner Achieved A Negative Energy Bill

You open your electricity bill and find the usual, unbelievably high dollar amount due. It’s a tale as old as time. Many homeowners have the same disappointing experience every month. And don’t even get us started on the astronomical costs during the summer with heavier energy use. A lot of homeowners open their bills to…

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Eco
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The Big 3 Benefits Of Solar Energy To The Environment (And Your Wallet)

From potentially reducing your energy bills to decreasing your carbon output, there are so many benefits of solar energy to the environment and to your budget. Many homeowners are going solar because they’ve discovered all of the solar savings available and want a piece of that sunny pie! But you might still be on the…

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Solar as an Economic Engine

To top it all off, solar is a great economic engine. As of 2020, SEIA reports that “more than 230,000 Americans work in solar at more than 10,000 companies in every U.S. state.

Solar also employs about 30% of individuals identifying as female and 2020 saw a significant increase in the employment of various ethnicities. In addition, veterans make up a larger share of employment than the rest of the country. (National Solar Job Census 2020) Solar is a great industry to boost the economy, as the more people who choose solar energy for their home, the more jobs it creates. These jobs include extensive training programs for the investment of knowledgeable employees that desire a lifelong career in solar.

Old News: Fossil Fuels

Our old sources of energy are running out.
That’s right. Fossil fuels (like coal and gas), the most widely used sources of energy on Earth, are non-renewable.

If you don’t believe us, take a look at this. This image shows us renewable vs. non-renewable sources and how much potential energy they provide each year.

Image source: GW Solar Institute

Non-renewable energy, otherwise known as finite, includes any form of energy that is derived from sources that were formed in the earth billions of years ago. Which means we have to keep digging deeper and deeper into the earth to find more.

The Importance of Solar Energy in the Future

Renewable energy sources offer more flexibility to our electricity grids at a time when our grids need it most and homeowners need a break from electricity costs the most.

Ever-expanding electrical networks, increased demand on outdated grids, more pull of electricity required to power homes, appliances and cars — our demand for energy in the coming years is only going to intensify and become more unstable.

And the share of available fossil fuels will continue to decline.

It’s also a well-known fact at this point that clean renewable energies like solar and wind are better for our planet. The future generations who will need enough energy to power the civilizations of their own.

If we don’t curb our use of non-renewable sources soon, there will be none left for generations, not so far into the future.

It’s becoming ever more important in our current world to have alternative sources of energy.

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5 Alternative Energy Sources To Replace Power Lines

When natural disasters damage power lines, tons of people all over the country are wondering, “What happens when the lights go out?” Whether it’s the big freeze in Texas that brought on a massive blackout, or the rolling power outages in California, one thing’s for certain: the power grid isn’t as reliable as we all…

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Education
Keyoka Kinzy
6 min. read time
Running on Sunshine: Teaching Kids About Solar Energy

Does teaching kids about solar energy have to be as complicated as algebra? The answer is no! Toss that calculator away and ease your migraines right now! Solar is as simple as can be and learning more about how the sun can bring energy efficiency to your home is mutually beneficial. It’s time to educate…

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Fun Fact

The amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth in one hour is more than the entire world consumes in an entire year!

Alright, got the basics down? It’s time to tackle some of the widely held misconceptions about solar energy.

Let’s move onto the technical details about how we harvest the sun for power.

Chapter 2

Parts of a Solar Energy System

In this chapter, we’re going to break down the parts of a solar energy system. If you’ve ever wondered, “How do solar panels work?” this one’s for you.

Including:

  • The three types of solar panels and why efficiency matters
  • Microinverters versus string inverters
  • What racking is
  • Why brands matter in solar

Understanding the components of a solar system is like geeking out on the latest tech gadgets. Moreover, there’s great things to come from understanding how solar panels work. Knowledge is power and you can answer tons of burning questions, like “Do solar panels get hot?” Or maybe, “Do they work on cloudy days?” Answer these questions with ease once you learn more about solar energy.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, skip over this part, but don’t miss the pro tips at the end of the section. For those curious tech hounds, let’s dig into the parts of a solar panel system.

1. Solar Panels

Solar panels are the part that everyone knows about. They’re the technology that’s gathering the energy of the sun from your rooftop.

There are 3 types of solar panels.

Here’s the nuts and bolts.

  • Monocrystalline is the most widely used type of panel for residential use.
  • Polycrystalline panels are typically less efficient than monocrystalline and are often used for commercial buildings.
  • Thin film is more flexible, has a shorter life-span and is typically used in small solar installations.

 

Pro Tip

You may want to cut costs by choosing a cheaper brand of solar panels, but consider the efficiency of the solar panels you’re purchasing. You want a brand you can trust to be reliable and innovative. Whether it’s solar panels or a solar panel battery backup, you want high quality, security, and resiliency. Even 3% more efficiency can mean larger power output and a better return on your investment.

Read more about solar panel efficiency

Technology
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7 min. read time
Solar panel efficiency: which solar panels are most efficient?

Why does solar panel efficiency matter? When you’re going solar, you probably want to know how to get the most from your solar energy system. How do you do that? You’ve got to understand solar panel efficiency. Not all solar panels are the same. They come in different sizes and different finishes. But efficiency might…

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Solar Smart Tip

Choose solar panels that have a warranty longer than the life of your loan if you’re financing.

Hint: We prefer solar panels backed by industry-leading warranties.

2. Microinverters

What the heck is a microinverter?

We’re here to make it all easy for you so simply stated:

Your solar panels produce DC energy. Your home needs AC electricity.

So, just the opposite of the rock band AC/DC, the microinverter is the component that turns DC your solar panels produce into 230V AC  electricity that your home can use.

Fun Fact

There’s a whole history of solar you’ve probably never heard about. Before microinverters were invented, string inverters were the norm. Each panel fed straight into one main inverter via “strings” attached to each panel. The problem with this was that the system would only produce as much electricity as its least productive panel.

Solar Smart Tip

The microinverter is the component most likely to fail within 10-15 years. Choose wisely.

Hint: We prefer and only use Enphase microinverters.

Read More

News
Tara Grant
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How Enphase is Changing the Game for Solar Power

The future of solar technology is finally here. When you have solar panels installed on your home, you’ll get access to boundless solar energy during the day. Not to mention you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint. But what happens when the sun goes down? And during power outages? Enter the next generation of solar…

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Solar Panel Micro Inverters: What They Are And Why You Should Care

There’s more to going solar than the panels on your roof. After all, this technology is as advanced as it gets — down to the most efficient solar panel micro inverters in your installation. When you go solar with ADT Solar, you know that you’re getting equipment that leads the industry in quality and capability.…

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3. Racking

Racking is the most straight-forward component of them all.

The racking component is what the solar panels are installed on. The racking goes on your roof, the solar panels fit into the racking. It’s as simple as that.

You generally don’t need to worry about this part, this will come with the solar installation and your solar company will handle this.

Pro Tip

The most important part of this section is to understand how important it is to consider the brands
you’re purchasing. Solar is a major investment: an upgrade to your home that can last over 25 years
and drastically increase the value of your home, but only if you shop wisely and ask the right questions.

Discover:

How Solar Can Help You Save

1 of 2

 

Alright, let’s move onto learning about the dreaded… power grid.

Chapter 3

All About Home Energy

In this chapter, you’re going to learn all about home energy, the best ways to save energy and how the power grid powers your home.

Including:

  • Understanding the power grid
  • What being ‘on the grid’ and ‘off the grid’ really means
  • What net metering is and how it can save you money
  • Why your home energy use is important to know and how to calculate it
  • How you can free yourself from your electric company

Gridlocked: What’s the Power Grid Anyways?

Anytime you start talking about rising electricity costs, outages and blackouts, it all points back to the power grid.

Going ‘off the grid’ is something you may have heard of before.

But what about being ‘on the grid’.

Do you know the difference between the two?

What is the power grid?

The power grid carries the electricity fueled by your utility company and runs throughout neighborhoods, shopping malls, office parks and across property lines. To sum it up easily, being on the grid means your home is connected to this power grid.

Read more

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Why Did The Texas Power Grid Fail? (And How It Can Be Fixed)

Power outages can be a true inconvenience, no matter where you live. In recent years, blackouts have been happening all over the U.S., especially in California. But in Texas, they’re downright dangerous. In February 2021, the Winter Storm Uri shook the country when energy powerhouse Texas left many without their utilities. Since then, there’s been…

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Get to Know the Grid: How it Works (or Doesn’t)

Understanding Grid Failures, Power Outages, Electricity Price Spikes and More If recent headlines have demonstrated anything, it’s that increasing numbers of homeowners are uncertain about where their electricity comes from and how they can afford it. Each new season introduces dangerous weather patterns that force more power outages and more people to lose faith in…

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What does being “off-grid” mean?

Being “off the grid” means that your home does not receives power from the electrical grid.

Solar panels and being “off-grid”

In terms of solar energy, being off the grid is different from having solar panels installed on your home. Having a solar panel system installed on your home means your home will be powered by solar energy while you’re still connected to the grid. 

For this reason, solar panels alone will not work during a power outage, therefore you’ll need a solar battery for that. We’ll get to that soon, but if you can’t wait, jump there now.

Being connected to the grid certainly has its advantages. For one, if your solar panels collect more energy than your house needs (which is likely depending on your peak sunshine hours), then you have the option to “sell” it back to your utility company.

This is called net-metering, and it’s available in most states (not all, so check with your state’s guidelines on net metering.)

Off-Grid News

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5 min. read time
Solar Panels and Power Outages: What You Need To Know

When disaster strikes, alternative power sources like solar can keep your power on even when the grid goes down. However, solar panels alone aren’t enough: you’ll need a backup battery storage to stay powered through an outage. Let’s find out everything you need to know about solar when the power goes out in your neighborhood.…

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How to calculate your peak sun hours

One of the best ways to get the most out of your solar panels is to ask yourself, “What are peak sun hours?” For Southern Californians, summer temperatures can be brutal and the sunlight is plentiful. That means soaring air conditioning costs and even more electricity will be consumed. For homeowners with solar panels, they…

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Net Metering 2022

As of 2021, these are the states that offer state-mandated net metering:

But just because your state doesn’t have a full-fledged net metering program doesn’t mean there are no options for your grid-connected excess energy. More than a dozen other states offer some form of compensation in exchange for your solar panel-produced power.

Have no fear, your solar specialist will help you understand net metering and take advantage of programs as well as solar incentives in your state.

Pro Tip

The solar energy you produce is a lot more valuable when you keep it stored in a battery than when you sell it back to your utility company.

Read more: What is a solar panel battery?

Why Home Electricity Usage Habits are Important

Year after year, electricity prices get higher. This much we know is true. But solar energy presents you with a sensible, simple option that puts you in control of your electricity usage and costs.

With that being said, are you aware of how much energy you use in a day? This question will help you understand how many solar panels can power your home.

If not, you might want to start understanding your energy consumption habits.

For example, take a look at the wattages for common household appliances:

Coffee Maker
900-1200 watts
Microwave
750-1100 watts
Toaster
800-1400 watts
Washer
350-500 watts
Dryer
1800-5000 watts
Iron
100-800 watts
Ceiling Fan
65-175 watts
Space Heater (40gal)
4500-5500 watts
Hair Dryer
1200-1875 watts
Laptop
50 watts
Computer Monitor
150 watts
Computer Tower
120 watts
Television 19”-36”
65-133 watts
Television 53”-61”
170 watts
Dishwasher
1200-2400 watts

Pro Tip

To get a better idea of your home energy use, try using this calculation for a single appliance.
While the final cost of a single appliance for the month might be less than $3, all your appliances
will add up. And your usage can increase or decrease depending on this each month.
For better control over your energy consumption, opt in for a smarter home. These upgrades
tend to run more efficiently, conserve more energy, and save you more money on your utility bills.
It’s a green living tactic that keeps the green in your pocket!

Read More About Smarter Homes

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10 Simple Green Living Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Although striving for a greener life is a worthy goal, what exactly does it mean? We live in a world heavily impacted by pollution. The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels, but an onset of climate anxiety has prompted many conversations about our current power infrastructure. As a country, we’re all…

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10 Ways To Save Money With A Smart Home

Disney might have predicted it with perfect on-screen portrayal in their 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House. They were ahead of their time back then, but today you really can have a Smart Home. A smart home is optimized with the latest technology to make your life easier and save time, energy, and money…

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10 Green Home Improvement Tips

When building or renovating a house, there are so many decisions to be made. From the doorknob finishes to the stain of the beams, the choices add up quickly. Some people love the process and tailor everything to be exactly what they envision for their dream home. But others can become easily overwhelmed by the…

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How do I calculate my home energy use?

1. Calculate Watt-hours Per Day
Device Wattage (watts) x Hours Used Per Day = Watt-hours (Wh) per Day
Example: A 150-watt computer monitor used four hours per day
150 watts x 4 hours = 600 Wh/DayInstead of watt-hours. your energy bill is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Since one kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts, divide the watt-hours by 1000.

2. Convert Watt-Hours to Kilowatts
Device Usage (Wh) / 1000 (Wh/kWh) = Device Usage in kWh
Example: A computer monitor using 600 Wh of electricity per day
600 / 1000 = 0.6 kWhNow, we estimate usage over a month or, for the sake of a simulated average, 30 days.

3. Find Your Monthly Usage
Daily Usage (kWh) x 30 (Days) = Approximate Monthly Usage (kWh/Month)
Example: A computer monitor using 0.6 kWh of electricity per day
0.6 kWh x 30 Days = 18 kWh/Month

4. Calculate Your Monthly Cost
Monthly Usage (kWh) x Electric Rate ($/kWh) = Approximate Cost per Month
Note: The average residential electric rate for Americans in 2020 was 13.26 cents/kWh

After you’ve mastered understanding your energy consumption habits, you should get to know your electric bill. And learn how to read it.

What’s New

Climate change is requiring more power for heating and cooling. More electric vehicles (EVs) are hitting the road and there’s more than one way to keep your EV fully charged. Meanwhile, the demand for residential electricity is increasing as more people continue working from home.

The already fragile electric grid faces even more strain in the future.

Read More About What’s New

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5 Alternative Energy Sources To Replace Power Lines

When natural disasters damage power lines, tons of people all over the country are wondering, “What happens when the lights go out?” Whether it’s the big freeze in Texas that brought on a massive blackout, or the rolling power outages in California, one thing’s for certain: the power grid isn’t as reliable as we all…

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Solar Panels + Solar EV Charger = A Fueled Mustang Mach-E

Chances are, you’ve hopped on the electric vehicle (EV) train because you’ve discovered this clean and efficient mode of transportation. Among the best is the Mustang Mach-E, which boasts zero carbon emissions and one of the highest battery performances. Whether you have your EV in the driveway, or you’re still browsing, you want to know…

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EVs + Solar Panels: The Newest Power Couple on Your Block

There’s Mr. Grid who lives down the street from you. Skeptical, nosy, and chained to the electric company since he moved into his home in 1970. Back when electric companies ruled it all. Down the street, a hot new couple moves in. Him: an EV. Her: Solar Panels. Mr. & Mrs. Voltaic. Together, they make…

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It should come as no surprise that electricity costs are continuing to rise dramatically in 2022.

In fact, residential electricity costs are projected to rise around 3.5% in 2022; continuing a decade-long streak in climbing prices for electricity. (EIA) While there are smart ways to save money on your utility bills, the smartest way is to go solar.

 

Why Solar Panels Are Worth It

Electric prices keep climbing every year (but especially during the summer and winter), while the cost of solar is lower than ever before. If solar seems expensive, think about it this way.

Blog
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6 min. read time
EIA Warns of High Winter Energy Bills: Here’s What You Can Do About It

As the temperatures drop lower, your energy bills get higher. Drastically higher. This is due to rising energy costs each year. The U.S. Energy and Information Administration (EIA) is warning households across America to expect to spend more on winter energy bills than ever before. This is largely in part to an increased demand for…

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You’ll be paying your electric company for the rest of your life, at the mercy of whatever the utility company charges. These prices will continue to increase due to lack of available energy resources and increased demand.

It’s as certain as death and taxes except the bill climbs higher every year whether you make more money or not. That’s why it’s important to understand how much energy you consume and how to read your electricity bill.

But What About My Solar Loan?

Some homeowners can pay off their solar loan in as little as 8 years with the right incentives in place, and nearly every day thereafter, they’ll produce clean energy of their own.

Of course the size of your home solar system, the amount of panels, any added battery storage and your state’s solar incentives all factor into the cost of going solar in 2022, but the important part is that you are in control.

Maybe the coolest part about going solar: there is an end date for payments (if you have a solar loan.)

The electric company can’t say the same about their traditional residential electricity bills. In fact, they’ll still continue to charge you for the energy you use even when you have solar panels, so that’s why it’s extra important to consider a solar battery system as well.

Solar Smart Tip

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

You can put your home’s power back in your hands with solar energy.

Free Solar Quote

1 of 4

Chapter 4

What is a Solar Battery and Do I Need It?

In this chapter we’re going to go through the ins-and-outs of solar batteries.

Including:

  • What is a solar battery backup
  • How it works
  • Why to consider a solar battery backup
  • How to protect your home from outages
  • Top benefits of a solar battery
  • What brand of solar battery is best?

Ready to see what the fuss is all about?

What is a Solar Battery?

solar battery works like any other battery except for two distinct differences:

  • It’s connected to your solar system
  • It stores solar energy

How Does a Solar Battery Work? 

To understand the advantages of having a solar battery, let’s first understand how having a solar battery works into your solar panel system:

  • Solar begins powering your panels in the morning when the sun rises.
  • Excess solar energy charges your solar battery during peak hours.
  • Your solar battery runs your home at night and during power outages.

Here is how the Tesla Powerwall, one of the industry’s leading solar batteries, works.

Read More

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12 min. read time
Is the Tesla Powerwall worth it?

What is a Tesla Powerwall? The Tesla Powerwall 2 is a revolutionary home battery. It can be installed with your solar panel system to self-power your home, day or night. When you go solar, a solar battery storage system is the only way to keep your home powered through outages. It can also help reduce…

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Do I Really Need a Solar Battery?

Considering a solar battery can be a big decision.

On the one hand, it adds to the price tag of your initial solar investment, on the other hand it’s a really great investment for your home’s protection, especially during power outages and natural disasters.
Let’s break down the reasons why you need a solar battery to give your solar panels (and home) a boost.

There are 4 main reasons you’ll need a solar battery:

  • Power during the night
  • Less dependence on the grid and rising costs
  • Complete control of your home energy usage
  • Protection for your home and family during outages

Power through the night

The first major benefit of a solar battery is freedom from your utility company. While you can’t have complete independence since you’ll still be grid-tied (as we explained earlier), you can have more freedom and flexibility than your utility company can offer you. That means whatever solar energy your panels produce can be stored instead of sent back to the grid. Remember how we said the electricity you produce is 2-3 times more valuable? Well, now you can keep it all! Use it at night, during outages, or when the sun isn’t shining as much.

By the way, solar panels do work on cloudy days and can even withstand hurricanes and hail!

Avoid surging electric prices

Because you have more freedom from the utility company, you won’t be trapped by the rising rates each year. The cost of energy is constantly rising due to energy resources running out, so this will become an ever-increasing issue.

average us electricity chart

Monitor your energy

Wondering how much electricity you use during the day and how much your solar panels produce? Having a solar battery system with the most up-to-date technology, like the Enphase Encharge or Tesla Powerwall, can help you keep your power in your control. There are other ways to approach green living as well, such as using smart light bulbs and smart appliances. Overall, green improvements are the best ways you can power your home and monitor your energy. Using a mobile app, you can monitor your home energy system in real time, get weather related updates and even control what appliances are getting powered during outages with Enphase IQ technology.

tesla powerwall app

Protect your home

Do you live in an area where natural disasters are likely to occur? This is when having a solar battery really sets you apart from the rest of your block. A solar battery can keep your home powered when the rest of your block loses power, even under normal situations like routine outages.

Read more: Solar panels and power outages: what you need to know.

Other important reasons to consider

Homes that operate essential equipment that cannot have interruption like medical equipment, homes with small children, or even homes in extreme climates that need heat and AC to keep occupants comfortable.

Read more:

How long do solar batteries last?

Difference between a solar battery and a generator.

Solar Smart Tip

In most situations, you’ll want your home to stay powered ‘on-grid’. But to get an ‘off-grid’ like
experience, you can stack solar batteries to cover the full amount of electricity your home uses.
That way you’ll store as much energy as you’ll need during a power outage. A qualified solar specialist
can help you figure out how many batteries you’ll need.

Pro Tip

A solar battery is covered under the solar federal tax credit, as well as many other statewide solar rebates and state incentives.
Make sure to ask a professional about what may be covered in your particular situation.

Whats New

You may have noticed a lot of extreme weather in 2021 like in Texas and
California, causing wide areas of power outages. You can stay ahead of disaster preparation
by arming yourself with a battery backup.

Which solar battery is best?

Solar battery backups are the undisputed champs of energy storage. There are several important things to look out for when shopping for the best solar battery available for your home. Terms like depth of discharge, round-trip efficiency, lead acid and lithium ion. This can all get confusing pretty quickly, but don’t worry, we’re here to help you out.

Depth of discharge (DoD) and round-trip efficiency (RTE)

In short, all these terms are referring to is the amount of charge a battery can hold and how long it can be used before needing to be charged. All you need to know is: look for a DoD over 95% and a RTE of 90% and over.

What is a solar battery made of?

There are generally two types of solar panel battery for your home and they are made of lead acid or lithium ion. The quick facts: lithium ion batteries are more expensive but last a lot longer than lead acid. They are also a lot safer, with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) being the safest option, compared to Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC).

If you want to read more about any of these terms and see how the Enphase IQ compares with the Tesla Powerwall, read: Enphase IQ battery vs. Tesla Powerwall

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before choosing the right solar company for your solar journey.

Chapter 5

What You Need to Know Before Solar Panel Installation

Now it’s time to give you all the tools you’ll need to make an informed decision about going solar in 2022. Specifically, our pro tips for staying an informed consumer with all the confusing information out there.

Including:

  • How to choose the right solar company
  • Why warranties make a difference
  • How to avoid solar scams
  • How to choose the right amount of solar panels
  • How to take advantage of the new tax credit for 2022

Let’s get to it.

Where to Start

Solar power for your home is now more accessible than ever before, which means your decision to switch comes with many more considerations. That includes one very important question: where do you start?

If you’re convinced that solar is the way to go, it’s natural to feel puzzled about what to do next.

Let’s start with making the big decision. It can be the most dreaded step, yet, the most important part of the process.

How Do I Choose the Right Solar Company?

There are so many companies to choose from, so many different products and, like any purchase, there are even scams to be on the lookout for.

Before a single panel is placed on your roof, you’ll want to be prepared. When you know what to expect from the technology and the install team behind it, the switch to solar is easy.

In our experience, it’s a pretty exciting decision; especially when our customers are able to finally take control of their energy.

But don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed. We’re here to help!

Let’s just breathe and break it down together with our unique pro tips.

Pro Tip #1: Find the Warranties

Buying a solar PV system is a huge investment for your home and should be treated like one. Your car has insurance, so why not have peace of mind when purchasing a solar system?

The solar panels on your roof will produce power on a daily basis, but it’s important to make sure that they last longer than the time it takes you to pay for them. A warranty is a crucial sign to determine the lifetime of the panels as well as the efficiency over time.

After making the decision to switch to solar power, this is possibly the most important thing to look out for when choosing solar products and a company that will provide and install them.

Once installed, a solar panel system is as much a part of your home as the roof on which it’s installed — even more reason to be picky when it comes to quality.

Solar Smart Tip

Make sure you ask the specialist from your solar company to provide complete information about
the panels themselves as well as any guarantees of service and maintenance should any extreme or
unexpected damage occur.

Pro Tip #2: Be on the lookout for scams

You might have heard a lot about solar scams. There are a lot out there, which is why it pays to choose a trusted name company.When you provide solar service to thousands of customers in multiple towns, cities and states across America, reputation matters. More often than not, the level of trust in a company factors substantially into a customer’s decision to go solar in the first place.When you’re in our position, you simply can’t afford to overlook trust. The same is true if we were in yours.

So how can you avoid a solar scam?

  • Check reviews. Any company that has mostly bad reviews is a company you want to stay clear of.
  • Talk to your neighbors. If you know anyone who made the decision to go solar, listen to their experience. Use it to help you ask the right questions.
  • Choose warranties. As we already mentioned, choose a company that backs their products and installs 100%. This is key to protecting your investment.
  • Be aware of anything that sounds like, well, B.S. Stay away from any company quoting things like 100% consumption or something that’s too good to be true.

Pro Tip #3: Maximize the amount of solar panels during install

One of the biggest regrets homeowners have after their install is that they wish they would have installed more solar panels when they had the chance. They see the amount of power produced, and they want even more — especially if it means they can connect to a home battery like the Enphase IQ battery or the Tesla Powerwall to store excess power or sell it by way of net metering.

If you decide at some point after your install that you want more panels, it will be complicated and expensive, while adding additional solar panels to the original quote can be surprisingly cheap. Even though it may be increased initial installation costs, it’s a smart thing to consider.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

If you want to lower your monthly electricity bill, there are so many energy efficient upgrades you can make. But when it comes to solar panels, how many you need will be determined by exactly how much you want to lower it.

If you just want half your electricity use to be reduced, your solar panel system will probably be smaller. A great first step is learning how to read your electricity bill to find out how much energy your home is using.

And if you’re looking to cover all your electric needs, you’ll probably need a larger solar panel system, which means of course, more solar panels

Read: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

However, if you have limited roof space you could instead use higher efficiency solar panels. This would mean fewer solar panels, but greater generation rates.

At the end of the day, the size of your solar panel system depends entirely on your needs.

What’s New

Depending on several factors, the amount of solar panels needed to power your home can vary greatly.
For example, for an 1800 sq ft house, it can be around 25-30 panels. If you’re interested in how
many solar panels it might take to power your home, you can get a free estimate from a solar energy
professional and they can help you maximize the benefits of solar energy for your home.

You may also want to consider investing in a solar energy battery, which will store any excess energy your panels will produce. This will allow your home to run on renewable energy even at night.

 

cost of solar panels over time

Smart Solar Tip

Solar energy prices have gone down over the last 10 years. Government legislature is also providing

more incentives to make the cost of solar more affordable. And great news! The federal tax credit was just raised to 30% and extended through 2032.

Chapter 6

Owning Solar

So you went solar. Congratulations and welcome to the clean energy club! Thanks for helping make the world a better place now and for future generations. Now here are a few important things you need to know.

In this chapter we’re going to go over everything you need to know about owning solar (for those of you who are curious what it’s like to actually have a system).

Including:

  • What type of maintenance solar panels need
  • How much solar can increase the value of your home
  • How to monitor your home energy use

Starting in 3, 2, 1….

Solar Panel Maintenance

The good news: Solar panels have no moving parts, so the maintenance is a breeze.

In addition, solar panels are built to withstand weather, including hail and hurricanes! And most of the time, panels will be mounted tilted, which means the rain already cleans them off for you.

You may also hose them down or use a leaf blower if it’s been dry weather to keep them running at their highest possible efficiency.

If you live in snowy climates, you may need to wipe them off with a long squeegee or lukewarm water.

And if you have a warranty (and production guarantee) through your solar panel company, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Fun Fact

We love to debunk myths about solar, and one of these myths includes the fact that solar panels
actually work better in cold climates than warm climates. This is because the panels don’t run as
hot which can limit some brands of solar panel’s efficiency.

In addition, high-quality solar panels are made for high efficiency in all weather and are made to withstand the elements.

Read more about solar panel efficiency and why it’s important.

Solar Panels and the Value of Your Home

Here’s some more great news: having solar installed will most likely increase the value of your home.

According to data from Zillow, adding solar to your home can increase the value, depending on where you live (check your local area information).

Here are the top 10 states with the highest solar premiums, according to Zillow’s findings:

  1. New Jersey: 9.9% or $32,281 for the median-valued home.
  2. Pennsylvania: 4.9% or $8,589 for the median-valued home.
  3. North Carolina: 4.8% or $8,996 for the median-valued home.
  4. Louisiana: 4.9% or $7,037 for the median-valued home.
  5. Washington: 4.1% or $15,916 for the median-valued home.
  6. Florida: 4% $9,454 for the median-valued home.
  7. Hawaii: 4% or $24,526 for the median-valued home.
  8. Maryland: 3.8% or $10,976 for the median-valued home.
  9. New York: 3.6% or $10,981 for the median-valued home.
  10. South Carolina: 3.5% or $5,866 for the median-valued home.

What’s New

Do solar panels really increase home value? 2020 was the first year that California became the
first US state to require solar panels on all new homes. And solar has become more than an
investment in future energy savings, it’s also an investment for when you sell your home.

Watch: The Rise of Solar Power

Pro Tip

If you have Enphase IQ microinverters and IQ battery installed, monitoring the energy
use of your home is a breeze. This means added savings and control of your home for years to come.

Monitor your energy use like a pro

monitor your solar energy use

solar-icon-b

Solar Smart Tip

If you have warranties on all the equipment and service, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made a
sound investment in clean energy.

Look for something like;

  • 25 Year Labor Guarantee
  • 25 Year Power Production Guarantee
  • 25 Year Panel Module Performance Guarantee
  • 25 Year Enphase Microinverters Guarantee

Bonus Section

Top 2021 Questions about Solar Answered

So you want to go solar but you still have a ton of questions?

It’s likely Google didn’t give you the information you needed this year, and maybe you’re not quite ready to ask a Solar Energy Specialist.

No problem. We’ve got you covered.

We compiled a list of all the TOP questions about solar that were asked in 2021. And we answered them all for you in a clear concise way that helps you know what you need to know all in one handy guide. Also check out the pros and cons of solar panels.

Are solar panels worth it?

Going solar is an investment that keeps on giving. Solar helps you gain control over your home’s energy, can reduce your carbon footprint, and may even reduce your power bills.

And with the new federal tax credit increase to 30%, solar might be a great deal for you.

Here are just a few reasons why solar panels could be worth it for your home.

That sounds great, but is solar energy right for my home?

There are many things to consider when thinking about going solar. If you’re wondering whether solar panels are worth it for your individual situation, get a free evaluation from an expert who can answer your questions and help you understand if going solar is right for you.

Schedule a no-pressure consultation with an ADT Solar Energy Specialist.

Here are a few more reasons why solar is worth it in these areas:

Are solar panels expensive?

The cost of solar panels depend on a lot of things.

The price of solar panels can seem high at first. Until you start breaking down the cost with a trained solar expert. They can help you do the math to understand what makes sense for you.

And with things like solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), going solar can be more doable than you think.

Let’s put it this way. You’ll be paying your electric company every month for the rest of your life. And the cost of electricity is going up each year (see chapter 3).

us electricity prices chart 2021

Unless you have a fixed rate, (someone, anyone?) you’ll be vulnerable to these rising costs, especially as fossil fuels become less available. Because, don’t forget, they’re running out (see chapter 1).

But when you go solar, you’ll own the energy for your home. Even if you finance your solar system, you’ll pay a fixed rate each month instead of increasing, unpredictable rates. That means no more energy bill surprises. And with things like net-metering, federal and state incentives, solar tax credits and rebates, you may end up making money in the long run.

Just let us help you crunch the numbers and find out.

Oh, and by the way, you could help offset the cost of your solar system by using the ADT Solar Referral App.

Do solar panels increase home value?

Solar panels do increase your home’s value, according to studies. Let’s take a look at some of these findings.

The Department of Energy and Berkeley Laboratory did a price-premium analysis for homes with solar across 8 different states on nearly 4,000 homes.

  • They found that buyers are willing to pay an extra $12,000 to $15,000 for a home with even an average-sized solar array.

And according to a comprehensive report done by the US Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):

  • Each additional $1 in utility bill savings from your solar installation can add $20 to your home value.

This means, not only can you save on your home’s electricity bills, but for every dollar in savings, you’re also adding to your home’s value. What more could you want? And if that wasn’t enough, when you’re ready to sell your home, they also found that homes with solar arrays sold 20% faster, and for 17% more. Solar panels for the win.

What are solar panels made of?

Simply stated, solar panels are made of a few key ingredients: silicon, metal, and glass.

Nothing toxic, no moving parts, nothing to worry about, just clean energy converted from sunlight.

Read more.

solar panels are worth it: parts of a solar panel

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Solar panels will work on cloudy days for the same reason you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day. Solar panels will absorb some sunshine, depending on how much sun is coming through the clouds.

On cloudy days, solar panels will generate around 10 – 25% of their normal power output.

Although solar panels do not work as well in rainy or cloudy weather, they do still work and depending on your particular situation, that may be just enough.

In fact, some of the cloudiest cities house some of the country’s best solar producers. So don’t let that deter you from installing solar panels on your home. Talk to a professional about it.

What about when it’s raining?

They do! It’s the same as when it’s cloudy. See above for more information.

How long do solar panels last?

Depending on the brand, solar panels should perform well through 25 years and beyond.

This is precisely why it’s important to research the panels and the company you’re buying from.

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels do not work at night because they are powered by the sun.

No sun, no power. Unless of course, you have a solar panel battery like the Enphase Encharge or Tesla Powerwall. A solar battery will store your solar energy from the sun and power you through the night.

Read: Is the Tesla Powerwall Worth It?

What do solar panels do?

This is complicated, but at the most basic level, solar panels take sunlight and convert it to electricity to power your home. Here’s a great place to learn more about how solar panels work. The journey through solar energy is a long history of developed science and product testing. Today, many advancements in the ways we harness energy from the sun are being explored.

If you want to nerd out on the technology, watch this via Live Science.

Are solar panels toxic?

There are a bunch of solar panel myths out there about solar that just aren’t true. This is one of them.

Solar panels on your home are not toxic. They will not leak and they will not do damage to you or your home.

In fact, they are the only form of electricity generation that has no moving parts.

Solar panels are made from silicon, metal, and glass which takes the sun’s energy and creates a reaction to create photons (light energy particles) which then sends it to be converted to electricity for your home. That’s it.

But what about the pollution they cause after their lifespan is over? 

The good thing is that solar panels are built to last for 25 years or more. In fact, most decent solar panel manufacturers have a warranty for 25 years.

When your solar panels are finally done working, you may be able to recycle them some of the parts. This is because solar panels are made from silicon, metal, and glass, and all of these materials are useful for other things. In fact, they can be processed to re-use with around 80-100% recycling efficiency!

There is a lot of research already out there about recycling solar panels. Read about it.

While that doesn’t erase the damage of the trash or the energy that it takes to manufacture them, we’d like to think that offsetting the amount of energy you’ll be producing in the lifetime of your panels could just be worth it:

After 25 years, a 6.6 kW system will have a net saving of around 243 tons of CO2 from the air!

We can’t argue with reducing our carbon footprint by that much.

solar panels are worth it: how solar saves co2

Legal Disclaimer

*Tax and credits or incentives including those provided by federal, state, or local governments may change or end. This can impact the amount of money you might save. Consult a tax professional to understand any tax liability or eligibility for any tax credits that may result from the purchase of your solar system.

**If you have taxable income and own the system, you may qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC). It is your responsibility to determine your eligibility and to apply. Consult a qualified tax professional for assistance and details.