Solar Energy Resource Hub

Introduction to Solar Energy

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, which can be used to power our homes and businesses. In this guide, we'll explain the basics of solar energy and give you an overview of what it takes to install a solar power system.

The resources in this guide are split into four main sections:

Solar Energy Basics

This section provides a basic introduction to solar for newcomers. We'll give an overview of system types (grid-tie vs. off-grid) and explain how homeowners can save money on energy bills by connecting their system to the utility grid. This section also briefly touches on costs, incentives, and approaches to installation (DIY vs. hiring a full-service solar installer).

Why Go Solar?

Not only is solar energy great for the environment, it also allows homeowners to save money on their monthly electric bill. Grid-connected solar homeowners can rack up (tens of) thousands in energy savings over the life of their solar panels. For those without grid access, an off-grid solar system can deliver power to remote locations, giving the people the freedom and independence to turn any property with sunshine into a place they can call home.

In this section, we outline the benefits of solar to help you decide whether solar is a good fit for you.

Guide to Going Solar

For those seriously considering going solar, this section gives an overview of the entire process from start to finish. We'll walk you through everything step-by-step, from sizing and designing your system, to filing a permit and getting it installed.

If you're willing to invest the time and energy, you can save a tremendous amount of money taking charge of your own solar project (rather than hiring a full-service installer to do everything for you). This section gives a realistic overview of the process of going solar so you can see what kind of work is involved.

Solar Costs & ROI

Learn how to estimate your cost of going solar based on your energy needs. We'll also help you calculate your payback period and potential energy savings over the lifespan of your solar panels.

If you're looking for a way to finance your solar project, we'll help you compare the most common financing options in the solar industry, including personal loans, solar leases, and PPAs (power purchase agreements).

Solar Energy Basics

Solar Power 101

A quick overview of solar system components, costs, government incentives, and installation options.

Solar System Types

Compare grid-tie, off-grid, and backup power systems to understand which is right for you.

Net Metering

Under a net metering plan, energy generated by solar panels is stored in the local utility grid. You'll be credited for the energy you produce, so that you can use it to power your appliances any time you like. Learn more about how net metering works.

Why Go Solar?

Is Solar Right For Me?

Solar comes with great environmental and financial benefits, but it is not suitable for all properties. Learn how to evaluate your property to see if solar is a good fit for you.

Benefits of Solar

Not only is solar great for the environment, it can also be more cost-effective than utility power. Learn more about the benefits that solar power has to offer.

Solar Tax Credit

The 26% solar tax credit offers a major financial incentive for going solar. If you owe taxes, you're probably eligible to claim the credit. Learn how it works.

Guide to Going Solar

DIY Solar

Save money on your solar project by buying a solar panel kit and contracting a local installer -- or installing it yourself, if you’re comfortable with DIY projects. This section will cover what it takes to manage your own solar installation.

Solar Components

This buying guide will help you evaluate major components like solar panels, inverters, batteries, and racking materials. Learn how to compare products and shop for the best deal.

System Sizing

There’s no one-size-fits-all solar power system. You’ll need to consider factors like your personal energy usage, roof facing, and sunlight availability during the sizing process. Click here for advice on sizing your system.

Installation

Compare the costs of DIY vs. full-service installation to see which approach works best for you.

Permitting

Solar Costs & ROI

Cost of Solar

The cost of solar varies depending on factors unique to your project, like personal energy usage and local sunlight availability. Our solar calculator can help you estimate how much it would cost to go solar.

Solar Payback Period & ROI

This buying guide will help you evaluate major components like solar panels, inverters, batteries, and racking materials. Learn how to compare products and shop for the best deal.

Solar Financing

Compare financing options to help you get started with solar power. This section outlines the pros & cons of solar loans, leases, and PPAs (power purchasing agreements) against the value of buying and owning your system outright.

Solar Calculator

How much do solar panels cost? Use our easy solar panel calculator to get a quick estimate of how many solar panels you’ll need for your home.
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