Author Archives: Spencer Fields

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.

Solar incentives for businesses

Solar incentives for businesses in 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s not just homeowners that can take advantage of the benefits of solar: commercial and industrial businesses can also participate in the clean energy revolution by installing solar–and storage!–on their properties. In fact, in many cases, the incentives for businesses to invest in solar are even better than they are for homeowners. If you are a business looking to explore your solar options, here are the key incentives to be aware of in 2021.

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Bonus depreciation

Bonus depreciation: what you need to know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a business looking to go solar in the US, the best incentives available to you are tax incentives. Between the investment tax credit (ITC)–which works the same for businesses as it does for homeowners–and depreciation benefits at both the state and federal level, you can expect to receive half of what you pay for solar back as tax benefits. While the ITC has been around for a long time, and its success is well documented, bonus depreciation is a newer incentive that can provide nearly as large of a tax benefit as the ITC. 

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Ethical Solar Sourcing

Ethical sourcing of solar components

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The solar industry is very much a part of the global economy: its supply chain traverses countries, oceans and continents, sourcing raw materials from certain regions, manufacturing products in others, and, ultimately, sending solar products to home and business owners everywhere. With how interconnected the solar industry is, it’s important to be cognizant of where and how solar equipment is sourced. In lieu of recent credible reports of human rights abuses and forced labor in parts of China that feed into the solar supply chain, it’s worth looking at how to ensure that the solar equipment you purchase is ethically and sustainably sourced. 

Before digging into this, a quick note: allegations of human rights abuses and other unethical practices are an atypical topic area for us. After all, we write about clean energy, not issues of geopolitical intrigue. But we don’t take these reports of human rights violations and forced labor lightly, and we want to make sure you’re aware of this ongoing investigation and have options to ensure your solar equipment is ethically produced.

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Sungage Loan Review

Sungage Financial zero fee loan review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Solar loans are a very popular way to pay for a new solar or solar plus storage system, since they are a great way to take advantage of the benefits of solar ownership–from tax incentives to increased home value–without requiring you to have the cash on hand to pay for the full system up front. What’s more, many solar-specific loans offer low, fixed interest rates and flexible payment terms, helping you to find the monthly payment that’s right for you. However, a low interest rate (or APR) comes with a caveat: a low APR often means a high cost to borrow money. That cost or fee to borrow money is passed on to your installer, or even built into the overall cost of the project, making a tradeoff between the lowest monthly payment (i.e., low APR) and the lowest project cost (i.e., lowest cost to borrow money). 

Recently, Sungage Financial, one of the most popular solar loan providers on EnergySage, launched a zero fee solar loan to keep your solar project costs as low as possible. Here’s what that means for solar shoppers like you.

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Schneider Energy Center

Schneider Energy Center review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The modern home is a smart home, with everything from voice activated speakers to thermostats you can control from your home. But to truly be “smart” about your own home, you need to have insight into–and control over–more than just the color of your desk lamp. Enter smart panels: the new technology that’s taking home energy insights and the solar-plus industry to the next level. One such smart panel is Schneider Electric’s Square D Energy Center. We sat down with the team at Schneider to learn more about their brand new product.

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Solar Census 2020

An overview of the 2020 National Solar Jobs Census

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Every year, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the Solar Foundation, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and BW Research release the National Solar Jobs Census. Each release is a great opportunity to take a step back and take stock of the solar industry, and this year’s report–which was launched earlier this month–is no different. Taking a look back at 2020, this year’s Solar Jobs Census chronicles the impact of COVID-19 on the solar workforce, tracks efforts to diversify the solar industry, and looks to the future for how many workers the solar industry will employ under different policy scenarios. Spoiler alert: we’re all hiring

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Arcadia_Power

Arcadia Power community solar program review

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Community solar provides access to solar for residential electric customers who otherwise would not be able to install solar panels on their property. To date, though, community solar has not seen the same levels of adoption as residential rooftop solar. We conducted a Q&A with Arcadia Power to learn more about how their new community solar offering helps lower barriers to participation. 

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wallbox review

Introducing Wallbox: the European-based smart EV charger company

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association declared the 2020s would be the ‘Solar+ Decade”. So far, their designation has come true, and then some: 2020 was the best year ever for energy storage deployment in the US, including at the residential level. But it’s not just energy storage that is being paired with solar; according to our recently released Installer Survey, in 2020, 1 in 12 solar installations also included an electric vehicle (EV) charger, while nearly as many people purchased an EV as purchased a solar panel system nationwide. 

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SMA q&a

Q&A with SMA

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Outside of solar panels, solar inverters are the most important part of a solar energy system, responsible for converting electricity generated by your solar panels into usable electricity for your home’s electronics and appliances. When it comes to deciding which equipment is best for your solar panel system, you have many different inverters to choose from, including options for both the type of technology (string vs. microinverter vs. string + power optimizers), and well as the inverter brand. 

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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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