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Choose a date and time. Household solar system

Choose a date and time. Household solar system

    Household solar system

    See what your power plant produced today

    Track your energy and count your savings

    Not sure which portal to use? Check our bill identification guide.

    What do you really save with solar?

    You can save more money with better solar panels, and you can save more than just money with SunPower. Save time, save fossil fuels, save yourself the hassle of grid outages—with SunPower solar storage you don’t have to choose.

    Better solar, bigger savings

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    Going solar is more practical, reliable and cost effective than ever. Host Matt Muenster explains how going solar with SunPower helps homeowners and businesses generate their own electricity and maximize their savings.

    See what your home looks like with solar

    SunPower currently creates thousands of solar designs per week for our customers. Now we can create thousands per second.

    Monitor your home solar, storage and electricity use

    By integrating seamlessly with your SunPower® solar and battery storage solutions, the mySunPower® app puts the power to monitor system performance and control battery settings in the palm of your hand. Learn more about the mySunPower mobile app or download it now!

    • . Additional equipment may be required. Consumption monitoring is not compatible with all electrical services. Check with your installer to see if your home is eligible for electricity usage monitoring.

    SunPower Equinox ® SunVault ® Storage

    A complete home solar storage solution

    Gone are the days of clunky, piecemeal systems. Our SunPower Equinox ® system with SunVault ® Storage is the only home solar storage system designed by one company. From record-breaking panels to seamless energy storage, every component is designed to work together perfectly.

    Industry-leading warranty, all from one company

    The SunPower Equinox ® system is backed by a home solar warranty that covers your whole system (not just the panels). That means you never have to wonder which company you can depend on. We’ve got you covered for 25 years. including performance, labor and parts.

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    The only solar warranty to cover your complete system for 25 years—including performance, labor and parts. We have absolute confidence in our panels’ ability to deliver more energy, reliability and savings over time.

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    Smarter Solar ®

    The SunPower Equinox ® system features unrivaled performance with access to the most efficient solar panels on the market. Because more power means more savings and fewer panels on your roof.

    SunPower’s elegant panels achieve a world-record setting 22% efficiency rate, the highest efficiency solar panels you can buy for your roof. In fact, a SunPower solar panel produces the same total energy in its first 17 years as a conventional panel running for 25 years.

    • . SunPower M-440 panels offer the highest efficiency of any commercially available solar panel based on the top 20 panel manufacturers by market share in the US (per Wood Mackenzie US PV Leaderboard Q3 2022 report).
    • . Based on search of datasheet values from websites of top 10 manufacturers per IHS, as of January 2017
    • . SunPower 360W compared to a Conventional Panel on same sized arrays (300W, 17.9% efficient, approx. 1.6 m2), 5% more energy per watt (based on 3pty module characterization and PVSim), 0.75%/yr slower degradation (Campeau, Z. et al. SunPower Module Degradation Rate, SunPower white paper, 2013).

    How Does Solar Power Work on a House? Your Questions Answered

    How does solar power work? A simple explanation is that solar panels convert sunlight into electricity that can be used immediately or stored in batteries.

    The sun essentially provides an endless supply of energy. In fact, with the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in 90 minutes, we could supply the entire world with electricity for a year — all we have to do is catch it!

    That’s where solar panels come in.

    How solar panels power a home

    Solar power has many applications, from powering calculators to cars to entire communities. It even powers space stations like the Webb Space Telescope.

    But most people are concerned about how solar panels can power their house and reduce their electricity bill.

    Here’s a step-by-step overview of how home solar power works:

    • When sunlight hits a solar panel, an electric charge is created through the photovoltaic effect or PV effect (more on that below)
    • The solar panel feeds this electric charge into inverters, which change it from direct current (DC) into alternate current (AC) electricity
    • The AC electricity runs through your electrical panel and is distributed throughout your home — just like grid energy
    • Excess solar energy is stored in batteries or pushed onto the grid to power local systems (like your neighbor’s house!)
    • Through net metering, solar owners get credit for the excess energy they put on the grid to offset the grid energy they pull off the grid when their panels aren’t producing
    • With battery storage, solar owners can store excess production to power their homes at night

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s break down how solar panels work in more detail.

    How does solar power work? The photovoltaic effect explained

    Solar panels turn sunlight into elctricity through the photovoltaic (PV) effect, which is why they’re often referred to as PV panels.

    The photovoltaic effect occurs when photons from the sun’s rays hit the semiconductive material (typically silicon) in the cell of the solar module. The photons activate electrons, causing them to free themselves from the semiconductive material.

    Photons hit the solar panel causing electrons to be freed during the photovoltaic effect.

    The free electrons flow through the solar cells, down wires along the edge of the panel, and into a junction box as direct current (DC).

    This current travels from the solar panel to an inverter, where it is changed into alternative current (AC) that can be used to power homes and buildings.

    How is solar energy used to power your home?

    Most home solar systems are “grid-tied” meaning that the solar system, home electrical system, and local utility grid are all interconnected, typically through the main electrical service panel.

    Connecting these systems means you can power your home with solar electricity during the day and grid electricity at night. It also means your solar system can push excess electricity onto the local grid to power surrounding systems, like your neighbor’s house.

    Through net metering, you earn credit for excess solar production that can be used to offset the grid electricity you use at night.

    Home solar with battery storage

    Home solar with battery storage works similarly to the process above, but intsead of pushing excess solar production onto the grid, it’s first stored in batteries in your home or garage.

    Pairing solar and battery is especially handy for:

    • Off-grid solar systems
    • Backup electricity during power outages
    • Areas without net metering policies
    • Powering your home on 100% clean and renewable energy

    What types of material are used in solar panels?

    The most common residential solar panels contain monocrystalline or polycrystalline (also called multicrystalline) solar cells.

    Both types of cells produce electricity when exposed to sunlight, however there are some key differences between the two:

    Monocrystalline solar cells Polycristalline solar cells
    Tend to appear darker in color, often black or dark grey Often appear a dark blue when exposed to light
    Performs better in high temperatures and shady conditions Less efficient at higher temperatures
    Tend to be more expensive Tend to be less expensive

    If space is limited on your roof or project site, a higher-efficiency, monocrystalline panel may be preferred, and could result in a better return on investment. Alternatively, a lower-cost, slightly less efficient, polycrystalline panel may do the job just as well if you have ample roof space on your home.

    Many panel manufacturers also build panels containing both mono and polycrystalline wafers to form solar cells, capable of harvesting energy from a wider spectrum of light.

    Be sure to ask what type of cell (“mono or poly”) your home solar system design contains, This distinction may affect the aesthetics and economics of your project.

    How does sun exposure affect solar panel efficiency?

    It is important that your solar panels receive good insolation (sun exposure) throughout the day and are free from as much shading from trees or neighboring obstructions as possible.

    There are a number of factors that influence solar panel efficiency. They include:

    • Temperature — Solar panels operate best in temperatures between 59 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Type of solar panel — Solar panels typically range from 15-20% efficient, with the best panels pushing 23%.
    • Shading — Solar panels perform best in wide-open sun. Even partial shading can substantially reduce the efficiency of a panel
    • Orientation and angle — Solar panels perform best when they are directly facing the sun and are often tilted to increase efficiency

    Solar engineers use satellite imagery to determine which panels and placement will provide optimum solar panel efficiency for you home.

    How does solar power work FAQs

    How does home solar power work?

    Solar power works by converting sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic (PV) effect. The PV effect is when photons from the sun’s rays knock electrons from their atomic orbit and channel them into an electrical current.

    Using PV solar panels, sunlight can be used to power everything from calculators to homes to space stations.

    How does solar power work at night?

    Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity, so they do not generate electricity during the day.

    However, home solar systems typically generate excess electricity during the day, which can be stored in batteries or sent to the local grid in exchange for net metering credits. This is how solar owners maintain power when the sun isn’t shining.

    Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

    Yes, solar panels still generate electricity on cloudy days, although not as effectively as sunny days. Solar panels can capture both direct and indirect light (light that shines through clouds), but perform at around 10-25% of their normal efficiency when it’s cloudy.

    Cloudy days can be beneficial, however, as rain washes the panels and increases their overall efficiency.

    What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

    You might know what solar panels can do – convert sunlight into energy, save money, create energy independence, increase your home’s resale value – but.

    Do Solar Panels Work At Night?

    Do solar panels work at night? The short answer is: no, solar energy systems only operate during the day. This is because the power from.

    How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

    One of the most important features of a solar panel is how much energy it can produce. After all, that’s what they’re designed to do.

    Bacteria-enhanced Solar Can Boost Production in Cloudy Skies

    In May 2018, researchers at the University of British Columbia discovered a new way to build solar cells that incorporate bacteria. Yes, germs… But.

    Does Solar Panel Temperature Coefficient Matter?

    If you are trying to maximize the amount of energy that your solar panel system can generate, then your solar panel’s temperature coefficient is.

    The Latest Update in Flexible Solar Cells for Your Smart Devices

    As solar increases in popularity across the world, more investments are being funneled into the development of solar cell technology. The goal is to.

    Do Solar Panels Work Less Efficiently at Certain Temperatures?

    It’s easy to confuse heat energy and light energy since we often experience them in tandem. But when it comes to solar panels, there.

    Space-Based Solar vs. Conventional Solar. How Are They Different?

    We all are familiar with residential and commercial solar panels. They can be found all around states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and more.

    How Solar Panels Absorb and Store Energy

    The sun’s energy is expressed in different ways, depending on what materials it interacts with. Solar panels are built with materials that physically interact.

    How are solar panels manufactured?

    You know solar panels as the futuristic-looking black or blue rectangles that soak up sunlight and bring down your energy bills. You might even get.

    DIY Soda Can Solar Thermal Panels

    Are you inclined to tinker on backyard projects? Is it something you’re curious about? Here’s a fun DIY solar project (featuring soda cans) that might.

    Top Portable Solar Panels for Under 200

    As the fundamental technology behind solar improved, a number of new consumer devices started hitting the market. One such device was the portable solar panel.

    Smappee vs. Sense vs. CURB Home Energy Monitor Comparison

    Whether or not you’ve made the decision to go solar, knowing exactly where your electricity is used can help you save on energy bills by.

    Monocrystalline Solar Panels vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

    Over six decades ago, New Jersey scientists announced their invention of a practical silicon solar panel. Solar panels have come a long way since then.

    How Do Solar Panels Produce Electricity?

    Solar panels contain cells of semiconductive material, usually, silicon usually encased in a metallic frame and tempered glass. When subject to sunlight, photovoltaic cells create.

    Why Falling Back is Bad for Solar

    With daylight savings recently ending, it is that time of year again to reflect on why “falling back” is a really bad idea. In the.

    How Much Does a Home Solar System Cost?

    Solar energy installations have skyrocketed in recent years; it’s likely there are some in your neighborhood. One of the reasons solar power has become so popular is the cost of solar systems has plummeted in the last decade or two. As a result, many more households can afford to install solar.

    But just how much will a solar system cost? Many homeowners want to get a sense of the cost before having a solar company inspect their property or giving away their personal information online.

    Ballpark Solar System Cost

    According to Energy Sage, the average solar system costs about 2.77 per watt installed. This price covers labor, permitting, solar panels, the inverter, and other solar equipment, but may vary by the installer, solar panel location, and equipment.

    The size of your solar energy system will be determined by your total electricity usage, available space for installing solar panels, and budget. To determine how much electricity you use, review your electric bills for the past year or more.

    The average home needs about a 6 kilowatt (kW) solar system, which costs roughly 17,000 before incentives. If you can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit in 2022, you can receive a tax credit for 30% of the total system cost. Speak with a tax expert to ensure you can take advantage of the tax credit.

    Factors Affecting a Solar System’s Cost

    There are several factors that impact the cost of your solar panel system. Let’s explore them so you know what to expect.

    Solar System Size

    If your home doesn’t consume a lot of electricity, you might be able to install a solar system that will cover 100% of your needs. Some homeowners install an extra couple of solar panels specifically for charging an electric vehicle.

    Before installing solar panels is a great time to examine if there are ways to reduce your home electricity usage. For example, do you have an old fridge that runs and runs to keep your food cold? If you have an electric water heater, installing a water-saving showerhead can conserve both water and energy.

    Also, the size of your solar system depends a bit on the climate. For example, a solar system in San Diego, California, will produce more electricity over the course of the year than an identical system in Seattle, Washington.

    Solar Panels and Equipment

    Many installers will offer a choice in solar equipment, especially solar panels. For example, if you install premium solar panels with a long equipment warranty and higher efficiency solar cells, the price will likely be higher. By contrast, some solar panels will cost less but may also be less efficient and have a shorter warranty period.

    Solar System Batteries

    Adding batteries to store energy can significantly increase the cost of your solar system. For example, an advanced lithium-ion battery with installation could add about 12,000 to 16,000 to the total system cost before incentives. But, having a solar storage battery would allow you to have backup power when the grid is down.

    If you live in an area with time-of-use rates on your electricity, the cost of electricity varies by time of day and season. Typically, rates are highest in the late afternoon and early evening and lowest in the middle of the night. If you have batteries, you can use the energy you store to save money during high-rate times.

    If your utility company offers both time-of-use rates and net metering to compensate you for your surplus power, battery storage can increase your savings even more. You can supply surplus power to the grid when rates are highest and pull power as needed when rates are lowest to maximize your solar energy savings on your electricity bills.

    Rooftop Solar versus Ground Mount

    When possible, the best place to mount a solar system is on the roof of your house. The ideal roof faces south and is in full sun and good condition. Another good location is a garage roof or even a shed. If none of these options is viable, you may be able to install a ground-mount solar system. Unfortunately, this typically increases the cost of the solar system because of the additional material and labor costs. But it may be the best option if the roof is not suitable for solar.

    Local Incentives and Utility Rebates

    In addition to the federal solar tax credits, some utility companies or local governments offer solar energy incentives. The Arizona Residential Solar Tax Credit, for example, can reduce the cost of a solar panel system by 1,000. Refer to the DSIRE database to determine if there are any local solar incentives in your area.

    Also, some solar homeowners can take advantage of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). In Pennsylvania, for example, a solar homeowner can receive a few hundred dollars annually in RECs. However, this is more like income after the system is operating and doesn’t offset the cost of purchasing the system.

    Alternatives to Buying a Solar System

    Buying a solar system isn’t a good fit for everyone. Perhaps you have a shaded property or can’t afford the cost of solar panels. Maybe you’re a renter, so you don’t own the property where you live. If so, joining a community solar project might be a better fit.

    This approach allows a group of people and businesses to use the energy from a solar farm to lower their utility bills. Instead of installing solar panels on your property, you would pay the community solar provider a monthly fee for clean solar energy, typically at a discount over grid power. These arrangements often use a subscription model, so participants don’t buy into the solar farm, but they pay monthly fees and can cancel with advanced notice.

    Some states have policies that support community solar development, including Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

    Regardless of whether you install solar panels on your home or join a community solar farm, using renewable energy is a great way to reduce your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. If you buy a solar system, taking advantage of the solar tax credit and local incentives can reduce the cost of your solar panels by thousands of dollars.

    By Sarah Lozanova

    Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.

    Solar Panel Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know

    Considering solar panels for your home? Start here for information on solar installations, tax credits, batteries, solar panel lifespans and more.

    Stephen J. Bronner is a New York-based freelance writer, editor and reporter. Over his more than a decade in journalism, he has written about energy, local politics and schools, startup success tips, the packaged food industry, the science of work, personal finance and blockchain. His bylined work has appeared in Inverse, Kotaku, Entrepreneur, NextAdvisor and CNET, and op-eds written on behalf of his clients were published in Forbes, HR Dive, Fast Company, NASDAQ and MarketWatch. Stephen previously served as contributors editor and news editor for, and was the VP, Content and Strategy, at Ditto PR. He enjoys video games and punk rock. See some of his work at

    The case for getting some or all of your home’s energy from solar panels has never been stronger.

    Jump-started by the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides a 30% tax credit for the cost of solar system installations, along with falling panel and rising energy costs, homeowners can see a return on investment on solar within seven to 12 years.

    With that said, there are homeowners for whom residential solar won’t make financial sense, like those whose roofs get limited sunlight or live in states without net metering. For everyone else, here is everything you need to know about buying solar panels.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    How solar panels work

    Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The sun emits solar radiation, which is absorbed by the photovoltaic cells. Electrons within the solar cell are energized, escape their bonds and form an electric current. That current, which starts as direct current, is switched to alternating by the solar system’s inverter. From there it’s used up in the electronics in your home or sent back to the grid.

    It’s not a magical technology, but it seems like it because you just stick something in sunlight and it makes electricity for you, said Joshua Pearce, a professor at Western University in Ontario and co-author of To Catch the Sun, a free e-book on DIY solar systems. Even being a scientist who works on this stuff all the time, it’s amazing that these things actually work.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    The benefits of solar panels

    Why would you want home solar panels?

    • Savings on energy: The most direct benefit is that you can gain the opportunity to power your own home outside of the electrical grid. That saves you money, and if you generate extra power, you might even be able to get credit on your bill from the electric utility via net metering. The average payback period for solar panels is six to 12 years, according to some sources.
    • Solar is an abundant power source: According to the US Department of Energy, just one hour of noontime summer sun meets the annual US electricity demand. Depending on your situation, turning it into electricity can save on your electricity bill.
    • Help with your home value: If you plan to sell your home down the line, having home solar panels can be a major perk to buyers and can help increase your home’s value.
    • Going green: Since solar is a renewable resource, you can shrink your carbon footprint.
    • Independence from electrical grid failures: Some areas have electrical grids that are less than reliable. If you experience frequent power outages in your area, your own solar power can keep the lights on.
    • Power your campsite: Some small solar panel arrays fit right onto RVs, or you can take them camping so you have electricity, no matter how remote the location.
    choose, date, time, household

    Where to buy solar panels

    Many businesses specialize in selling and installing solar panels for homes. Search online to locate solar panel suppliers and installers in your area. You can start with CNET’s best list of solar panel companies.

    You can even shop for solar panels at major home goods stores like Home Depot. Stores like this can even set you up with professional installation to help you get a residential solar panel setup.

    Major installers often offer solar financing options, too, though you might be best served by shopping around for a loan. Many solar installers also offer solar panel leases or power purchase agreements, which you can enter with no money down (though savings over the lifetime of your panels are typically lower).

    You can also apply for the federal solar tax credit, that will give you 30% of the cost of your solar back to you on your taxes, assuming you have that much tax liability.

    Solar panel installation

    Most residential solar arrays are installed by a professional. Installing solar panels yourself is technically possible, but you run the risk of voiding warranties. You should only attempt it if you have the necessary expertise. If you opt for a professional installation, be sure to shop around for the best deal. Compare the warranties installers offer along with price, customer service and how well their proposed plans meet your needs.

    A reputable solar installer will advise you on the age of your roof before installation. Replacing your roof before installation may ultimately be the cheaper option, since removing the panels to replace the roof will be an additional expense.

    Care and lifespan of solar panels

    Many solar panels are warrantied to last 25 years, though their useful life is likely longer. On top of that, they’re fairly maintenance free, just requiring that you keep them free of obstructions like dirt, leaves and snow. extensive repairs may be covered by warranty.

    Solar panels get less efficient over time, though that downward trend isn’t necessarily a problem for you. A typical manufacturer’s warranty will guarantee that your solar panels won’t lose more than 2% efficiency in the first year and not more than 0.5% per year in the next 24 years. That means your panels are guaranteed to produce at 84% their original capacity after year 25. Some panels will set a higher benchmark.- like 92%.- after 25 years, but you’ll still be getting plenty of electricity out of them two decades on.

    Do you need a solar battery?

    Installing a solar battery in your home will allow you to store excess energy produced by your panels. However, they are currently almost as expensive as a solar panel system (from 12,000 to 22,000), so while a battery is nice to have, it’s not a necessity.

    There are instances where a solar battery is worth the investment. Those who live off the grid will need a battery to use solar power. And if your area is prone to frequent blackouts or you have medical needs that require refrigerated medicine or machinery, a battery may be worth the cost.

    How to pay for solar panels

    There are a breadth of options for paying for the installation of residential solar panels, aided in part by the 30% federal tax credit. Homeowners can pay out of for the entire project, then receive money back from the government. There are also relatively cheap solar financing options, with plans that offer 1.99% APR over 25 years, that also result in the tax credit. Interest rates have shifted higher over the last year or so and you should shop around for the terms that best fit your needs. Other financing options include bank loans or a home equity loan, but given their higher interest rates, consider these financial tools carefully.

    For those without the financial means to buy or finance a system, there are solar leases and power purchase agreements. A solar lease is similar to that of a vehicle.- you pay a set amount each month for a system that will be owned by the installer. Under a power purchase agreement, you pay a set rate for the energy generated by the solar panels (the rate may increase after a certain amount of time), rather than the system itself. The drawback of these mechanisms is that you won’t own the solar panels yourself, and hence won’t get any of the tax credits or have the ability to sell renewable energy certificates.

    How the solar tax credit works

    The federal residential solar energy credit, which grants a 30% credit to homeowners who install panels on their home through 2032. (If your entire project costs 30,000, you’ll be granted a credit of 9,000). The credit applies to homeowners who purchase a system with cash or through financing.

    According to the Office of Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy, you should seek professional tax advice to determine your eligibility, then fill out IRS Form 5695 following the IRS’s instructions.

    Improve your home’s efficiency first

    Before you start the process of going solar, you should try to improve your home’s energy usage in other ways.

    Solar is an exciting type of infrastructure, but if the ultimate goal is to save money on your electricity bills, I encourage homeowners to think about efficiency upgrades first, said Gilbert Michaud, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Environmental Sustainability. Those could include insulation, upgrading and replacing Windows or other things that are maybe less fun, but can help you realize savings immediately and lower costs. Once you’ve done those efficiency retrofits or upgrades, maybe solar is a good idea.

    These upgrades will give you a clearer idea of how many solar panels you’d need to power your home, too. That means you’ll likely need less panels.- reducing the cost of the installation.- than if you didn’t do efficiency upgrades first. Here’s some suggestions.

    • Check your insulation: Inside your walls is a layer of material meant to keep hot or cold air where it is. In the winter, this means the warm air from your heating system stays inside your house, and vice versa for cool air in the summer. If there are leaks in your insulation, hot or cold air is escaping or getting in, which makes your HVAC system work harder and costs you more money.
    • Upgrade or replace Windows: Much like insulation, your Windows play a large role in keeping your home heated or cooled. If your Windows are out of date, air could be coming in or out, which is not great for your energy bills.
    • Replace old household items with efficient ones: If you have older appliances, thermostats or light bulbs, replace them with newer, more efficient ones to realize energy savings.

    Solar panel FAQs

    How much money will solar panels save me?

    Many experts say that homeowners will see a return on investment on a solar panel installation in a period between seven to 12 years. That’s when the money saved from paying your energy bills will exceed the initial money spent on a solar project. Those who go solar through a lease or power purchasing agreement should see savings practically immediately.

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