California is currently the nation's largest market for solar power installations; it has great sun, great solar policies, relatively high conventional (non solar) electricity rates, and a vibrant solar installer eco-system. So how does a homeowner start the process of finding the right system and the "best" deal for their particular situation?
The World Cruise Ship Termal at the Port of Los Angeles has installed a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that's expected to produce 1.2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy each year. Roughly equivalent to the annual usage of 110 typical American homes, the system's output will be fed into the electric grid of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been under fire for a home insulation scheme gone wrong in which as many of 400,000 properties may have received below-grade insulation-and three installers have died of electrocution. And now, the safety of solar panel installations in the country has been called into question as well.
The Importance of Structural Analysis for Roof-Mounted PV Arrays
As Adam reported yesterday, Akeena solar panels with integrated Enphase micro-inverters will now be available for purchase at Lowe's stores in California. Although solar installers have been using Enphase micro-inverters for a while now, this is the first panel to be offered at retail to the public. Easy access, easy solar. Or is it?
Updated for 2016: We get a lot of questions here at GetSolar about why solar installation seems expensive. Savvy internet users point out news items that say solar should be mere pennies per watt in the next few years, or come across the wholesale prices for solar panels and believe that's what they should be paying for installation. But like any specialty in the construction industry, solar installation has a wealth of good reasons for being as expensive as it is. One of the main reasons is expertise. When I'm asked if it's possible to learn how to install solar on your home and avoid using an installer, I say sure...if you have a few years to grab a master electrician's license and solar certifications.