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.

running a house on a battery

How much of my house can I run on a battery–and for how long?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you are researching a solar battery there’s one major question that you likely have: how much of your house can you power with a typical solar battery, and how long can you provide power to your home? As with most things, the short answer is an ever unsatisfying: it depends! The longer answer is a complicated one, so we’re here to help. 

We’ve split this article into two separate questions–how much and for how long–since both questions are important as you decide which battery to install, but the answers rely on different factors.

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solaredge energy hub

The SolarEdge Energy Hub: what you need to know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2020, SolarEdge launched their newest and most versatile home inverter: the SolarEdge Energy Hub Inverter. The aptly named Energy Hub combines the functionality of all of SolarEdge’s existing inverters under one hood to provide a future-proof solution that allows you to easily integrate additional SolarEdge home energy products into the same inverter product, from home battery backup to a Level 2 Smart EV Charger to their growing line of additional smart home/smart energy options. And the best part? Energy Hub has been well received throughout the industry, with the inverter winning PV Magazine’s 2020’s Inverter of the Year Award.

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net metering in california with calssa

What’s happening to net metering in California? A Q&A with CALSSA

Reading Time: 5 minutes

California has historically been the best market for solar in the US, and the success of the solar industry as a whole can largely be traced back to the success of solar in California. In fact, out of the more than 2.5 million residential solar installations in the US, more than 1.2 million are in California alone! 

However, the future of solar in California –and of residential solar in particular–hangs in the balance. In a current review of the future of net metering in the state, a series of proposals before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recommend significantly reducing the value of residential net metering credits. For a sense of the types of proposals submitted, check out this joint proposal from the major utilities in the state, which would reduce residential net metering credits to 23 percent of their value today and impose a monthly fee on solar owners of nearly $80 per month, making new residential solar all but impossible in the state. 

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texas blackouts 2021

Don’t snow on Texas: diving into the 2021 blackouts

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Much has already been written about this week’s power outages in Texas, and the devastating impact they’ve had on the millions of people who are left in the dark and the cold. Unfortunately, a large portion of the original reporting about the cause of the blackouts contained misinformation. So we want to join the growing chorus of articles setting the record straight on what actually happened in Texas, as well as to take a look at how to prepare to keep the lights on during severe weather events in the future. 

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electrification overview

What is electrification?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As more and more homeowners make the switch to both solar panels and electric vehicles in the US, the clean energy transition is now about more than just increasing clean energy. Increasingly, an important piece of the clean energy transition is electrification. Electrification is a vital piece of any carbon reduction plan, and could have some big implications for the appliances in your home–and your garage!  

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solar battery maintenance

All about solar battery maintenance

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whatever device you’re reading this article on likely has a battery in it, meaning that you are at least a bit familiar with battery performance and, whether you realize it or not, battery maintenance. Think about all of the rules around how and when to charge your cell phone to extend the battery’s life: you’re supposed to run the battery as far down as possible before plugging your phone back in, and you shouldn’t leave your phone plugged in all the time or else the performance of the battery will degrade. While your cell phone battery–hopefully–doesn’t require any maintenance over its lifetime, the decisions you make around how and when to charge it can be considered a form of maintenance to extend its life. 

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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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high solar panel prices in the u.s.

Why is solar more expensive in the US than in other countries?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The cost of solar has plummeted in the US over the last five years. With solar prices beginning to drop below $3 per Watt for residential solar shoppers, the industry has hit a very important and impressive milestone. However, the cost of solar in the US remains higher than the cost in other countries, most notably Australia. But just how much less expensive is solar in Australia, and is it possible for the US to slash solar costs even further?

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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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