Renewable Energy

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6/29/2016

 Dan and Aur

Dan Alway (right) and the author

Long-time Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) member Dan Alway passed away September 21, 2015. Dan was a renewable energy pioneer and advocate who worked tirelessly to promote renewable energy. Dan was involved in many things over the years including Kalamazoo Nature Center and a scoutmaster. Dan was honored by more than 600 of his friends and colleagues at an award presentation at The Energy Fair Networking Dinner in Custer, Wisconsin, Thursday, July 16, 2016. There was also a book present for folks to record any memories of him that they would like to write down along with displaying a photo collage.

Mark Klein, longstanding Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) Board Member, Energy Fair founder, and Co-Owner of Gimme Shelter Construction presented the award on Thursday evening.

tree at mref
The Avenue of Advocates award is a tree planted at the main entrance to the annual Energy Fair, which is dedicated to Dan Alway, longtime Energy Fair presenter and renewable energy advocate who passed away this year. The Avenue of Advocates recognizes people or organizations who have shown great leadership in advancing renewable energy and sustainable living.

present

I, along with long-time friend Richard Seibt accepted the award on Dan’s behalf and said a few words about Dan. Here is some of what I tried to say about Dan.

I think the first time I met Dan was at the Energy Fair in 1997, when he was throwing together a basic, off-the-grid system for some lights in the yurt at the Portage County Fairgrounds.

His energy and enthusiasm sucked me right in, and we ended up tinkering/playing with solar for many years after. His fun-loving nature made it easy to ask him to join me in doing presentations about "Living Off Grid, Really?" at the Illinois Energy Fair and the Midwest Energy Fair. He would talk about the trials and tribulations of over 20 years of living off-grid in upstate Michigan (no sun and snow), and I would talk about the same in Southern Illinois (very hot and humid).

We would always tease each other about how crazy we were to live off-grid with so little solar. We were the Two Stooges solar act, and we had so much fun doing our stand-up/sit-down comedy solar talks. In the process, we educated thousands of people over the years about simplifying their lives.

If it wasn’t for Dan inspiring me with his wit, I don’t know if I could have ever gotten up and talked in front of people. I used to be the shyest person ever, but with Dan’s help, I tapped into the fervor of my renewable energy addiction to share and get others addicted. Dan absolutely loved educating anyone, but kids were his best students, as he figured out ways to make his education interactive and fun and, most importantly, relevant.

In a book published in 2009 about The Energy Fai,r I talked about how I kept in touch with Dan and about how he is fun and full of life.

I remember the year he was passing out fusion-powered solar dryers, which came with detailed directions on how they work. The bag consisted of the directions, 25 clothes pins, and a length of clothes line. Yes, he was selling a clothes line. People had such a hoot about them that he sold out and had to go to town to buy additional material to make more.

fusion dryer

The last time I saw Dan was at The Energy Fair in June of last year when we did our Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Presentation for more than 200 people, and we gave away a complete, off-the-grid solar system. It was a solar yard light! This was Dan’s idea of a great fun joke to give.

GLREA has started the Dan Alway Memorial Scholarship which will be awarded annually to a student entering higher education. You can donate to the Dan Memorial Scholarship fund here.

Read Dan's obituary here. I look forward everyday to the interactions I have on my Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page and hope you will join the discussion there. Stay energized.

Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Projecta fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International  and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FMFind him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!?Facebook page, and read all of Aur's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



6/23/2016

Solar Panels With Skyscrapers

The advantages of solar energy are continuing to prove themselves for homeowners in the wake of huge declines in upfront costs, proven resale value benefits, as well as national and state tax rebates. Although the benefits of generating free electricity without any harm to the environment is a no brainer, the process of acquiring the right solar system for your home can become a little confusing.

Thanks to professional resources like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), evaluating your solar power needs and understanding the best type of solutions for your home has never been easier. SEIA has made available several consumer guides to solar power that make it simpler for homeowners to properly evaluate offers (its best to get a number solar power quotes) and fully comprehend your agreement terms.

SEIA’s most recent residential consumer guide to solar power outlines several key areas:

Solar Panel Ownership

There are several options you have when it comes to solar panel installation on your house. The first step will be deciding the type of ownership you want with your system.

If you’re looking for the biggest return on investment and have saved up the money, you can buy the system outright. Now is a good time to do so considering that upfront costs have never been lower and electricity from utility providers continue to rise. You can also achieve ownership by securing a loan.

Either option will allow you to reap all of the benefits, like tax credits, and electricity that the system generates. You may also be in charge of maintenance, although some installers offer services on purchased systems.

The second option is to lease a system for a determined period of time and benefit from the electricity generated. In this case, the solar company is responsible for the upkeep and sometimes has zero money down options.

Thirdly, you can pay for the sustainable electricity generated from a solar system without paying for a lease, with a power purchase agreement (PPA). In this case, a system is installed on your home and you purchase the electricity produced from the solar company for a set rate. This gives you the luxury of having no responsibility for the system, generate clean energy, and in most cases pay a lower cost than if you bought electricity from a utility company.

Evaluate Your Home

Think about your personal electricity usage and how it’s used in your home. You should take a look at your utility bill and how much kilowatt-hours (kWh) your household uses and how much you’re currently paying for it. This will help determine the number of panels and output you will need from the system.

You should also check out your roof and get at solar professional come out for an evaluation. They will be able to provide a consolation and calculate the amount of sunlight you’re currently getting and if its enough.

Get the Best Deal

Whether you’re purchasing, getting a loan, or leasing a system, SEIA stresses the importance of getting several quotes for your solar system. The market has become competitive, which is to the advantage of consumers, but you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each solar power company to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

When using a marketplace like 123SolarPower, you can be assured that the companies are certified and have plenty of experience in your area. However you decide to shop, do your research on potential solar power companies and don’t be afraid to ask for references. You can also ask for their proof of licensure and check the BBB for any consumer complaints. Make sure that they are familiar with any tax credits you qualify for through the state or federal government. (Read more about the best states for solar.)

Lastly, make sure you understand the terms of your solar agreement. Contracts are legally binding so make sure you’re comfortable with what you’ll be receiving and the amount you’re paying. Ask plenty of questions and inquire about specifics within the warranty.

You can always use a solar power calculator to determine how much you could be saving each month on your electricity bill. It may seem like a lot, but its important to go with your gut and make sure you’re getting the best value for your needs to use solar panels to save the most money you can!

Photo by iStock/gyn9038

Sarah Kezer is passionate about helping others take advantage of the power of solar energy. At 123SolarPower, Sarah assists in answering questions and providing expert information for users to explore their options when it comes to going solar. 123SolarPower connects individuals with the largest network of solar power providers in the U.S. Read all of Sarah's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


6/17/2016

Buying Solar Panels for Home

In addition to the generous federal investment tax credit of 30%, there are over 900 financial and regulatory incentive programs for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across the United States. While going solar is still a big decision with a pretty hefty price tag, it’s becoming more and more affordable, depending on where you live.

Solar costs have been falling (by more than 55% since 2009), and more and more states and municipalities are implementing incentive programs to encourage the switch to solar. Moreover, as electricity prices continue to rise in most parts of the U.S., installing solar panels is an investment that reaps even greater rewards.

Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is a 30% federal tax credit for solar energy systems, both residential and commercial. Originally set to expire at the end of 2016, the tax credit has been extended and will remain at the 30% level through 2017, 2018 and 2019 and then be phased out completely over the following three years, falling to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021 and to 10% in 2022.

There is no cap on the maximum amount of the credit. If the tax credit is more than your tax liability in the year you install the system, you can carry forward the excess amount and use it in the future. Allowable expenditures include equipment costs and labor costs for assembly, installation, preparation, and interconnection.

The tax credit applies to installations on both principal residences and second homes (even an RV or a boat can qualify as long as they are considered as a second home according to the rules of IRS).

Net Metering

Net metering is an example of a regulatory incentive for homeowners with grid-connected systems that allows you to buy electricity from the grid when you are not producing enough solar electricity and to sell your excess electricity to the grid for a credit.

In most states, you are credited for your excess electricity at the retail rate. However, recent policy changes in Nevada have resulted in a significant disincentive where solar electricity generators are only compensated for their extra electricity at the wholesale rate. After a considerable slow down in new solar system applications in that state, other jurisdictions are weighing the disadvantages of such a policy shift.

Local Incentives

Many states have put their money where their mouth is, by implementing incentive programs that truly make solar energy a better investment than sticking with the status quo (i.e. the local utility). These solar tax credits, rebates and other financial incentives can make the difference between a state/city being at grid parity or not, where grid parity is defined as the point at which solar electricity is the same or cheaper than electricity from the utility, calculated over the lifetime of the panels (on average 25 years). Now let’s take a look at three example states to better understand some of the main types of solar incentives available to homeowners.

A great example is Louisiana: the state has the lowest average residential electricity prices across the U.S., yet because of the generous state tax credit for solar PV systems (up to $10,000), Louisiana is at grid parity, and solar panels will save most Louisiana residents money in the long run.

New Jersey makes solar energy more affordable for residents using other types of incentives. Along with other programs, they have implemented a sales tax exemption (currently 7%) for all solar energy equipment. They also have a Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) program, whereby solar electricity producers receive certificates based on the amount of electricity produced which they then sell using New Jersey’s online marketplace for trading SRECs. These programs, in addition to others, have made New Jersey one of the top solar states in the U.S.

Residents of Iowa benefit from yet another type of incentive. In addition to a state tax credit of 18% (up to $5000), homeowners with solar PV systems can take advantage of a property tax exemption, whereby the market value added to a property by a solar energy system is exempt from the state’s property tax for five full assessment years.

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the different types of incentives available in the U.S. to homeowners that make the switch to solar energy. These regulatory and financial mechanisms for making solar energy more affordable, while different from state to state, are all helping to increase the adoption of solar energy across the United States. For Canadian residents, there are also a number of solar incentives available.

While it’s great to have access to so many different programs, it’s not always easy for homeowners to find the information they need. In order to help you save time and money, we consolidated available programs by state. So, why not learn about the solar incentive programs available where you live?

Simone Garneau is the co-founder of Sunmetrix, an online consumer education website for residential solar energy. The goal of Sunmetrix is to help homeowners go solar and save money with our Solar Cashback Program. In addition to the 200+ articles about solar energy, Sunmetrix offers homeowners three main resources: a Consumer Report for solar energy, Discover to preview solar energy for your home, and GO, the only solar energy test drive experience. Read all of Simone's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



6/16/2016

ground mounted solar panels

When homeowners think of installing a solar energy system on their home, rooftop solar is probably the first thing to come to mind. What you may not realize: installing ground mounted solar panels is both easy and cost-effective, and is actually the smartest option for many homes. We'll walk you through the top three things you need to know about ground-mounted solar. 

1. In many cases, ground-mounted solar is your best option.

While rooftop solar arrays are the most common choice for homeowners, there are many reasons to consider a ground mounted solar energy system.

Generally, ground-mounted solar costs the same as rooftop solar on a per-watt basis. If your home isn’t ideal for rooftop solar, installing a ground-mounted system can actually save you money in the long term.

Rooftop solar arrays are restricted by the characteristics of the roof on which they are installed. If your roof isn’t at the right angle, doesn’t face south, or has obstructions like chimneys or skylights, your solar array will be less productive. Ground-mounted solar energy systems, on the other hand, can be located wherever the conditions are best.  

In addition, if your home uses a lot of electricity, your roof might not be big enough for a solar array that meets your energy needs. In contrast, ground-mounted solar systems can be sized to match your electricity consumption without the space restrictions of a rooftop system.

2. Not all ground-mounted solar energy systems are created equal.

There are two basic types of ground-mounted solar energy systems:

Standard ground mounts use metal framing driven into the ground to hold your solar panels up at a fixed angle. Some standard ground-mounted systems can be manually adjusted a few times a year to account for seasonal shifts of the sun. 

Pole mounts support multiple solar panels on a single pole, and elevate panels higher off the ground than a standard ground mount. Pole mounts often incorporate tracking systems, which automatically tilt the solar panels to capture the optimal amount of sunshine.

Tracking systems can increase the production of your solar panels by 25 percent or more. If you decide to add a tracking system to your ground-mounted solar array, you have the option of either a single-axis or a dual-axis system. Single-axis tracking systems move your solar panels over the course of the day to follow the sun as it moves through the sky. Dual-axis tracking systems can also adjust based on seasonal variations in the sun’s position. 

3. Ground-mounted solar arrays offer benefits for all homeowners.

Even if you are a good candidate for a rooftop solar array, there are many benefits to choosing a ground-mounted solar energy system.

First, ground-mounted solar energy systems are very easy to site, because they can be placed on open land. They don’t require drilling into your roof, and the bracings used in standard ground mount systems are lightweight and easy to remove. (If you opt for a pole mount, they will usually be installed more securely.)

Second, a ground-mounted solar array can be more productive per panel than a rooftop solar array. The panels are set at the perfect angle to optimize energy production, which means you can generate more electricity than a comparably sized rooftop system and save money in the long run.

Finally, ground-mounted solar is very easy to access for cleaning and maintenance. If you live in an area that sees a lot of snow in the winter, being able to easily sweep the snow off of your panels is a major convenience.

Most solar installers offer a ground mount option, and the cost of standard ground mounted solar is comparable with a rooftop solar energy system installation. If you decide to include a tracking system in your installation, you will pay an additional up-front cost, but the resulting increase in electricity production makes tracking systems cost-effective for many homeowners.

The best way to determine whether ground-mounted solar makes sense for you is to compare all of your solar options. Within the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can get quotes at no cost from vetted solar installers and – if you choose – specify that you are considering ground-mounted solar options. Get started today and turn your house into a solar home. 

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



6/14/2016

Big Data For Energy Industry 

As the energy industry evolves, so does big data. Big data is probably best known for tracking people’s behaviors, purchases and viewpoints, but it can have many other applications.

Now the energy sector is tapping into the resources big data has to offer. From renewable energy to oil, gas and coal, this data science can help many companies maximize profits, reduce costs and even lower risk.

The profit margin is ever present and always shifting in the energy industry. It’s one of the most volatile sectors, averaging a 3.5 percent change daily. Depending on supply and demand, the various markets and currencies involved make revenues a moving target. Big data can help with this.

Data Improves Monitoring

Producers can anticipate the market using key indicators in real-time and respond immediately. Algorithms can incorporate and evaluate large volumes of information for the utilities and power companies. This allows them to make predictions and chart energy use to make well informed plans.

Big data also improves the monitoring of equipment and its maintenance — preventing a slowing or stoppage in production. For example, British Petroleum (BP)’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster cost the company an $18 billion fine. The company wants to avoid such a disaster and thus they have invested in data to help. More specifically, they created the Center for High- Performance Computing, based in Houston, Texas.

Data Improves Efficiency

Big data ensures the efficiency of machines. This is done by installing sensors on equipment to monitor its performance. The collected data is then compared to the entire body of data on an ongoing basis — ensuring machines and individual parts are replaced when needed.

Providing better monitoring and oversight through data can enable energy producers to be proactive in the realm of public safety. This will avoid a public relations nightmare that might tarnish a brand and result in lost product.

Data Must Be Applied Correctly

Collecting data and utilizing data are very different. Making sure useful and applicable data is gathered and then guaranteeing it reaches the right department is key if data is to fulfill its goal of optimizing performance.

Not every piece of data has value, so knowing what is significant and how to store and share it is extremely important.

Moving forward in the global economy, the energy industry needs to make informed decisions to maximize profit while minimizing cost and risks. The oil and gas industries, as well as other power-generation industries, have a need for advanced computer software. It’s believed that within the next 5 years, investment in big data for higher-tech industries such as these will increase from 56 percent to 61 percent.

Photo by William Iven

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living and has an especially strong passion for helping others increase their mental health and happiness by improving their daily productivity and positivity. To learn more about Kayla, you can follow her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter and check out her most recent posts on Productivity Theory. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


5/26/2016

solar panels 

If you're an environmental enthusiast, you're probably well educated about the recent innovations in green energy. You're likely familiar with the latest, impressive Solar Impulse project, in which the world-breaking Solar Impulse 2 has become the first solar-powered aircraft to fly around the world — and by the way, the plane is currently in Tulsa, Okla. Maybe you've even spent some time installing solar panels on your roof in your noble quest to make your household more green.

The latest and greatest in solar technology? A simple light-trapping prism that's broken another world record in solar efficiency.

How Does the Solar Prism Work?

The glass prism, which maximizes the amount of energy it can derive from sunlight, contains a 28-square centimeter, four-junction miniature module that works by utilizing a hybrid receiver designed to convert electricity from each sunbeam more than other devices. The four junctions divide the rays into four separate bands. The prism includes a band-reflect filter measuring 900 to 1,050 nanometers and multiple solar cells to trap light. The ultimate goal is to eventually increase the mini-module to 800 square centimeters.

How Was the Prism Developed?

The solar-efficient prism was built by a research team, led by Martin Green and Mark Keevers, at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia. Green, who serves as director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the university, says the device is still in the prototype phase and probably won't be commercially available for at least another decade. But ultimately, the researchers have hopes that the prism could be used on rooftops — both on residential homes and business buildings — to create a widespread breakthrough in solar efficiency.

Just How Efficient Is the Prism?

 According to preliminary studies with the light-trapping prism, the device has broken solar-efficiency records because it has converted 34.5 percent of solar energy into usable electricity. That may not sound like much, but it's substantially more than currently available technology is capable of achieving. The previous solar-efficiency record, set by a module created by the U.S. solar company Alta Devices, was 24 percent. The typical efficiency range for available solar panels is between 14 and 22 percent.

What Are the Implications of Solar Technology?

If you're not entirely aware of the benefits of moving toward solar energy, consider how taxing fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil and coal are on the environment. These fossil fuels not only release toxins into the environment, but they also contribute to climate change through carbon dioxide emissions into the air.

Solar power is considered green — or "clean" — energy because it doesn't pollute the air or water, and it doesn't emit dangerous gases. It's a viable alternative to natural gases for a variety of purposes, from everyday cooking to home heating. For example, according to Smart Touch Energy's Guide to Home Heating Systems, 18 days of sunshine is equivalent to the planet's availability of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coals.

Plus, solar power is relatively inexpensive. Photovoltaic systems, like UNSW's light-trapping prism, have experienced a 45 percent cost decrease since 2010. And many state and federal agencies offer benefits like tax credits for switching to cleaner energy sources.

What Are the Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

Despite recent innovations in efficiency, solar-powered electricity is not without its disadvantages. Most importantly, solar energy can't be generated at night or during periods of heavy cloud cover. The efficiency also depends on the angle that the sun is facing the solar panels — buildings and homes will experience reduced electricity when the angle isn't optimal, even during abundant sunlight. In addition, solar panels can deteriorate over time with exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Still, in the long run, the benefits of sustainable living by investing in solar-powered devices may outweigh the cons, especially in the near future. But even if you're on the fence about the issue, you can help save the planet in other, smaller ways — as easy as making a commitment to recycling regularly, even if you have one more bin to carry outside once a week on trash day. 

Photo credits: Scott Webb.

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living and has an especially strong passion for helping others increase their mental health and happiness by improving their daily productivity and positivity. To learn more about Kayla, you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter and check out her most recent posts on Productivity Theory. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



5/20/2016

is solar worth it

Every solar company has a variation of the same sales pitch, “did you know going solar can save thousands of dollars?” They make it sound so easy, but the truth is, whether solar is a smart long-term investment for you depends on a few major factors. So before you buy into the hype, we recommend you use this simple guide to cut through the sales jargon. 

How to Determine Whether Solar Is Right for You

As you start exploring your solar options, there are a few questions you can ask to help determine whether solar makes sense, including:

How Much Do You Pay for Electricity?

Your current electricity bill is the largest factor in determining how much you’ll save by installing solar. You pay your utility company for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you use, and your rate varies significantly depending on where you live. In some parts of the country, you can pay as little as 8 cents per kWh; in others, you’ll pay 20 cents or more.

When you go solar, you effectively install a mini power plant on your roof to replace the power plant where your utility gets its electricity. That means homeowners with high electricity rates from their utility are the ones who save the most when they switch to home solar power. 

If you’re just getting started and aren’t sure how much solar can save you, start out by using an online Solar Calculator. EnergySage’s calculator incorporates local electricity rate data to give you a customized estimate of what you can expect to save, and just how quickly your investment will pay off.

solar calculator savings 1

How Much Does the Solar Panel System Cost?

Installation prices will vary significantly depending on the solar company you choose and the equipment you install. While cheap solar panels might feel like the easiest way to save some cash, your total 20-year savings will often be higher if you invest in high-quality equipment. It’s worth taking some time to review all of your equipment options and find the right combination of price and quality for your home. You can use an online solar marketplace like EnergySage to easily compare all of your offers in one place, the same way you’d shop for a flight online.

Don’t forget to research the solar incentives and rebates available where you live: they can reduce your net cost by 50 percent or even more. The federal government offers a 30 percent solar tax credit, and many states and municipalities have additional financial incentives for their residents. Some utilities even offer cash rebates to their customers to encourage them to go solar.  

How are You Financing Your Solar Panel System?

Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels will have a major impact on your system’s long-term value. If you have enough to make a purchase in cash, you’ll save more than with any other option – but even with a $0-down solar loan, your savings could still be in the tens of thousands. While solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) require no money down and promise a maintenance-free option, they come with a trade-off: your total savings will typically be just 10 to 30 percent of your utility electricity bill.

How does this play out in the real world? This screenshot from the EnergySage Solar Calculator for an example property in Massachusetts shows the difference in long-term savings between a cash purchase, solar loan, and a solar lease.

solar calculator savings chart

What if You Don’t Live in the Sunny Southwest? 

While solar loves sunlight, you might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to live in the sunny Southwest to achieve lots of solar savings. In fact, some of the states with the most installed solar in the country (including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts) are in the Northeastern U.S. – more famous for their cold snowy winters than sunny summer days. Why is this? These states often have higher electricity costs and better local incentives than elsewhere in the country.

Shop Around to Find the Best Deal on Solar

Solar is a big investment that can pay off in a major way. Be sure to inform yourself of all your options before you sign on the dotted line. EnergySage’s Solar Calculator is a great place to start – use it to get a customized estimate of your 20-year solar savings in a matter of seconds.

If you’re ready to take the next step, join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to get offers from qualified solar companies in your area. Since these installers compete for your business, you will generally save 20 percent or more off your installation costs. EnergySage was built with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy in order to help spread solar adoption across the country, so once ready, give it a try for free!

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.









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