Author Archives: Spencer Fields

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About Spencer Fields

Spencer is the Manager of Market Strategy & Intelligence at EnergySage, where he writes about all things energy. Prior to joining EnergySage, he spent five years at Synapse Energy Economics, providing environmental, economic and policy analysis for public interest groups. Spencer has degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from Brown University, meaning when he's not in the office you can find him outside or traveling somewhere to work on his Spanish.

tesla solar inverter

What the new Tesla inverter means for solar

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Today, Tesla launched a brand new product: Tesla Solar Inverter. In the realm of Tesla announcements, this one may go under the radar for the general public – it’s nowhere near as flashy or exciting of a launch as any of their electric vehicles, the initial Powerwall or Solar Roof. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that this announcement is insignificant: by building their own Solar Inverter, Tesla has the potential to drive the cost of solar even lower. Here’s what Tesla’s announcement means for the solar industry.

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The ITC was extended (again)! What you need to know in 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the omnibus spending and COVID relief bill, and on Sunday, December 27, 2020, President Trump finally signed it into law. In addition to keeping the lights on in our government and providing much needed financial relief for businesses and people alike who have been impacted by COVID, the 5,000+ page, end-of-year spending bill also provided a ray of bright light for the solar industry: an extension of the solar ITC. Here’s what you need to know about how the ITC extension impacts your solar project. 

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macrs

What is MACRS? All you need to know for your commercial solar installation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re a homeowner looking to go solar, the incentives you have available to you are pretty straightforward: from net metering to the federal investment tax credit, and to any local utility or government rebates and incentives. Between the incentives and the declining cost of solar, the average homeowner on EnergySage sees a payback period for solar of eight years. Easy! 

If, on the other hand, you’re a business owner considering solar, there are additional tax incentives that help decrease the time it takes for your solar investment to payoff. The most widely-known of them is the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, also known as MACRS.

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energy storage and battery terms

Energy storage glossary: the most important terms to know

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Home energy storage systems are becoming increasingly popular in the US. In fact, solar installers say that one-third of customers nationwide express interest in energy storage, while on EnergySage’s Marketplace that number is even higher, with over 70 percent of solar shoppers also interested in energy storage. 

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power outages with solar and batteries

PG&E power outages: what you need to know

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you live in Northern California, you’ve likely been impacted by electric power shut-offs or outages from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) over the last couple of years. As wildfires become increasingly prevalent in the state, and as the link between utility infrastructure–like transmission lines–and wildfires becomes increasingly clear, that trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, we wanted to take a step back and look at PG&E outages: why are they occurring, what does the past timeline of outages look like, and what can you expect moving forward. 

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sgip program updates 2020

SGIP 2020 program updates: what you need to know

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(Updated November 2020)

California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is one of the first incentives for battery energy storage in the country. The program has been very successful, helping California to lead the nation in residential energy storage deployment. Recently, the program has received additional funding, with a slightly revised charter for how to use those funds. Below, we detail the adjustments to SGIP and how it will impact individual, residential solar + storage shoppers in California. 

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future proof solar installation

How to future proof your solar installation

Reading Time: 4 minutes

People who invest in solar are inherently forward-looking: solar panels last for 25 years or more, producing clean energy for decades to come. For people who are considering a new solar–or solar plus storage–installation today, it’s worth thinking about more than just what solar panels to install on your property. There are a few specific ways that you can set up your solar panel system now so that it’s future-proofed for anything else you might want or purchase over the next three decades.  

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generator vs. battery

Backup generators vs. energy storage: do the math

Reading Time: 4 minutes

More and more homeowners are looking for ways to improve the resilience of their home’s electricity systems. Historically, many people who wanted backup power for their homes in the event of an emergency–think natural disasters and other outage events–looked to back up generators for that resilience. These days, however, homeowners are increasingly looking to energy storage systems, and solar plus storage systems in particular, for that peace of mind during outages. 

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Comparing efficiencies for AC vs DC-coupled batteries

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As is the case with comparing solar panels and inverters, when comparing solar batteries, there are a number of different technical specifications that differentiate one battery from another: power ratings, usable energy capacity, warranties throughput or cycles, start-up power, and the efficiency of the battery. Unlike solar panels and inverters, though, the stated efficiency of each battery is not necessarily directly comparable to the efficiency of other batteries. Here’s why: 

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Highlights from the eleventh EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report

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Last week, EnergySage released our eleventh Solar Marketplace Intel Report. The free, publicly available report provides insight into the state of the solar market nationwide and at the state level through July of 2020. In this report, we take a look at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the solar industry, check in on how solar pricing compares on EnergySage to data from the rest of the market, and introduce a few brand new analyses of energy storage data, from cost to brand preference. A few key takeaways from the report are outlined below, and we look forward to your analysis and feedback on the report. 

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