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Community Solar: Access Solar Power Without Rooftop Panels. Solar panel in rooftop

Community Solar: Access Solar Power Without Rooftop Panels. Solar panel in rooftop

    Community Solar: Access Solar Power Without Rooftop Panels

    Power your home with renewable energy without purchasing a solar panel system. Here’s how to know if it’s right for you and your state allows it.

    Andrew King is an award-winning journalist and copywriter from Columbus, Ohio. He has covered sports, local news, entertainment and more for The Athletic, The Columbus Dispatch, Major League Soccer, Columbus Monthly and other outlets, and writes about home energy for CNET. He’s a graduate of Capital University, and recently published a non-fiction book called Friday Night Lies: The Bishop Sycamore Story investigating the fraudulent high school football team that became the talk of the nation.

    Andrew Blok has been an editor at CNET covering HVAC and home energy, with a FOCUS on solar, since October 2021. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make Smart energy decisions. He’s a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.

    In 2023, it’s a demonstrable fact: most Americans want access to clean energy.

    But switching to clean energy isn’t as easy as simply deciding to stop using coal or natural gas. What happens when you can’t install a solar panel on your roof, for reasons ranging from tree blockage to homeowner association rules? What if you rent or can’t afford solar panels just now?

    In those cases, community solar might be a solution.

    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.

    Community solar expands access to solar energy by allowing you to use energy, not from solar panels on your roof, but from a nearby solar farm. Community solar could become a accessible option in the coming years. The White House announced this year 10 million in awards to boost community solar and additional awards to projects that have a send the most benefits back to participating communities.

    Unfamiliar with community solar programs? Let us break it down for you.

    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.

    What is community solar?

    Community solar is a fast-growing solar option for when traditional solar doesn’t work. Rather than using electricity from solar panels located on or around the home, community solar subscribers get power from larger arrays of solar panels usually located nearby.

    Community solar arrays are typically owned by nonprofit organizations, third-party companies or utilities. Subscribers sign up to pay for the electricity produced by a portion of that array, often at a discounted price.

    Signing up for community solar will make your bill look different, depending on your utility and your community solar supplier. In some cases, you’ll receive two bills; in others, the electricity generated by your portion of the community solar array will be credited against your utility bill. You’ll save over the course of the year, but your bills will vary month to month. The Department of Energy says typical savings are about 10% of energy costs per year.

    In most of the US, utility companies operate as regulated monopolies. Unless otherwise mandated, they’re the only ones allowed to generate and distribute electricity in a given area. For community solar to really save consumers money, the state legislature needs to allow third parties to construct and operate solar arrays.

    Why community solar?

    The most obvious and attractive benefit of community solar is savings on your electricity bill. Saving 10% of an electricity bill in the contiguous US can be anywhere from 97.04 a year in Utah to 187.45 in Connecticut, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s 2021 data.

    Community solar opens these savings to people who aren’t able to acquire rooftop solar: renters, low-income homeowners and people who live in shaded areas, to start. Some state’s enabling legislation requires that a certain percentage of subscribers are low- or moderate-income.

    Community solar arrays can be built on a larger scale (which is typically cheaper) in places better suited to solar production. Instead of placing panels on roofs oriented in less-than-ideal directions or cutting down trees to eliminate shade, community solar arrays can be sited in ideal locations. That might mean more cheap, highly performing solar in a community than would otherwise be.

    Because community solar isn’t tied to a rooftop, if someone moves within a service area, they can take their service with them to a new address. Homeowners don’t take rooftop solar panels with them (some research shows that it does boost a house’s selling price).

    Community solar can benefit the grid and utilities as well. Placing solar farms on the grid where there are few other power sources can help stabilize the grid. Solar power can also help utilities meet renewable power thresholds mandated by the state.

    How does community solar work?

    First comes the biggest hurdle: a legislature must pass a bill to allow community solar in that state. But not all states have passed such legislation. Existing forces can often prevent access, said Matt Hargarten, vice president of campaigns for the Coalition for Community Solar Access, a national organization advocating for greater access to community solar.

    Not everyone wants to see competition on the energy grid, namely utilities, he said. Those utilities are invested in keeping control of their territories, so generally they will oppose these types of bills, and they carry considerable power and weight in their states.

    But if that hurdle can be cleared, the next steps are relatively simple. A community solar developer establishes its solar array and begins to look for customers, often calling and emailing residents and advertising online and elsewhere. When someone decides to sign up, they pay the developer a fee for that subscription to the energy and, in turn, receive a credit that is typically 10% to 20% more than the bill. After that, it’s business as usual.

    What states allow community solar?

    As of December 2021, community solar projects are found in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Of those states, 22 and DC, have policies that support community solar.

    In those states, community solar projects represent more than 3,200 megawatts of total installed capacity, and about 74% of that total market is concentrated in the top four states for community solar: Florida, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts.

    Clean energy supplier

    Some utilities or energy suppliers offer a clean energy option. But often, those aren’t the same as a community solar project. Rather than installing local panels and guaranteeing savings, these deals are often more favorable to the companies.

    The clean retail energy suppliers don’t produce that energy, they get it somewhere else, most often outside of the state you live in, Hargarten said. With community solar, you’re actually supporting the building of solar projects in your community, and you’re guaranteed to save money on your bill. You will never pay more on your bill through a true community solar program. Clean energy options from utilities may get more expensive over time.

    What are the benefits of community solar?

    For most people, the biggest benefit of community solar is likely the savings. You’ll receive the electricity the same as before, so why not save a bit of money while you use it? For most, a 10% to 20% savings is worth the switch alone.

    But for many, the real benefit is what solar energy brings to not just your community but the world by replacing climate-warming fossil fuels. And you don’t have to have a clear view of the sky, own your home, have a suitable roof or even have enough cash in the bank to invest in solar energy. You just sign up.

    Community solar is one of the best ways to get equity in our energy system and more renewables onto the grid quicker, Hargarten said. Those felt like very noble causes to me. The premise behind community solar is that about 75% of Americans can’t access rooftop solar.

    What are the downsides to community solar?

    The drawbacks of community solar are fewer than they once were. There was a time when it was a challenging process to sign up. Now, just a few downsides remain, and most come from the existing utility environment.

    Once a state decides that they want to do community solar, the utility.- who is generally opposed to it in the first place.- has a very important role to play in the issuing of bill credits and the interconnecting of the facilities to bring them online, Hargarten said. Sometimes, that process can be a little sloppy, and there are some states where maybe credits haven’t been applied in a timely manner or it’s taking forever to get projects interconnected into the grid.

    The only other challenge can be waitlists for programs in new states, where so many people want to sign up, the provider simply doesn’t have the capacity yet. But even that problem is beginning to fade.

    Is community solar right for me?

    If you live in an area that has access to community solar, it’s likely an option to look into. Not only does it support clean energy, it will probably save you money and might guarantee savings. And although there was a time when signing up was challenging, Hargarten says it’s become much easier.

    The product has become almost as easy as signing up for Netflix, he said. It used to be onerous contracts, credit checks and all these other things. But as financiers have become more comfortable with these products, it’s become month-to-month, cancel whenever you want, no credit checks and a really easy energy tech product for people to sign up for.

    Plus, community solar deals may actually offer a great amount of flexibility.

    If you move, you can bring that contract or subscription with you to your new house, as long as you’re still within the utility service territory, Hargarten said.

    Here Are The Different Types Of Solar Panels You Should Consider For Your Home

    Lexie came from HomeAdvisor and Angi (formerly Angie’s list) and is responsible for writing and editing articles over a wide variety of home-related topics. She has almost four years’ experience in the home improvement space.

    We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Home. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

    If you’ve considered adding solar panels to your home, you’ve probably also considered the amount of money and energy you could save by doing so. The potential savings is important, of course, but it isn’t the only thing to keep in mind when it comes to making the switch—you also need to decide what type of solar panels are right for you.

    Because there are several types to choose from, it isn’t as easy as simply scheduling an installation appointment.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    How to Decide What Type of Solar Panels to Get

    The first thing to do when figuring out which type of solar panel is right for your home is to acquaint yourself with the choices at hand as well as how many solar panels you want.

    According to Energy Sage, a U.S. Department of Energy-endorsed online resource that allows consumers to comparison shop for solar energy. there are three main types of solar panels available for residential use. They are: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film.

    A fourth option, solar roofing shingles, is a newer and more expensive technology—but certainly a suitable (and enticing) choice for those with the budget to cover the initial costs.

    Monocrystalline Solar Panels

    When you picture rooftop solar panels, you probably picture monocrystalline simply because they are very commonly used. And while all solar panels offer some level of energy efficiency, monocrystalline is considered the most efficient of the bunch. How efficient? Up to 20%, Energy Sage reports, meaning that 20% of the sunshine that hits a monocrystalline panel is converted into usable energy. Monocrystalline panels are also:

    • Made of an individual pure silicon crystal (in other words, the silicon comes from one source)
    • Cylinder-shaped
    • Uniform in color
    • Durable and long-lasting (some come with warranties up to 30 years)
    • Able to generate between 300 and 400 (sometimes even more) watts of power each

    The downside? Monocrystalline often requires a larger upfront investment than some other types of solar panels. This is because they are more expensive to make—a cost that, naturally, gets passed on to the consumer.

    And if 20% isn’t quite efficient enough for you? No worries—under the monocrystalline umbrella falls an additional type of solar panel called the PERC (passivated emitter and rear cell). While use of this technology is still ramping up, experts say it offers even more efficiency than traditional monocrystalline panels (thanks to an added layer of silicon material on the panel’s back side) and isn’t particularly cost prohibitive to manufacture.

    Polycrystalline Solar Panels

    Polycrystalline panels, on the other hand, are less expensive to make and therefore less expensive for the customer. The cost difference is attributed to the manufacturing process—rather than the individual silicon crystals used to make monocrystalline, polycrystalline panels are made from many different pieces of silicon that are separated into fragments and melted together.

    Polycrystalline is also somewhat less efficient than monocrystalline, producing around 250 watts of power each rather than 300-plus. Physically, though, they look similar to their monocrystalline counterparts and last almost as long (warranties are in the 25-year range, but vary by brand).

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    Thin-Film Solar Panels

    Thin-film solar panels have a few advantages over monocrystalline and polycrystalline ones. First of all, they are comparatively lightweight. They are also malleable (the others are rigid), making them easier to install than the thicker, heavier varieties.

    They are also far more affordable to manufacture than other types of solar panels and also more affordable to install.

    Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Thin-Film

    Amorphous solar panels are silicon-based, like the others, but in this case, the silicone portion is just the first of three very thin layers (the second layer is heat-conductive; the top layer is protective).

    Amorphous panels also do well in warmer climates because they can withstand intense heat and are more adept at generating energy on darker days (meaning the sun doesn’t have to be shining bright in a clear blue sky for them to do their job).

    Unfortunately, amorphous panels don’t last as long as other types of solar panels—according to the American Solar Energy Society, you’ll only get between 10 and 20 years out of them. Furthermore, they are only around 7% efficient.

    Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Thin-Film

    Produced with cadmium, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers a toxic heavy metal, cadmium telluride thin-film is the second most used solar cell type in the world after crystalline cells. However, CdTes aren’t the best in terms of efficiency,

    Copper Gallium Indium Diselenide (CIGS) Thin-Film

    Also produced with cadmium, Copper gallium indium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film is above-average in efficiency but is very expensive. The cells place Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenide layers on top of each other to efficiently convert sunlight into energy.

    (PERC) Passivated Emitter and Read Cell Panels

    PERC (passivated emitter and rear cell) panels are a newer type of solar technology designed to be more efficient than traditional monocrystalline panels. While this technology is still ramping up, PERC panels feature silicon material on the panel’s backside to achieve higher energy conversion efficiency. They also aren’t particularly cost-prohibitive to manufacture.

    Solar Panel Types by Efficiency

    Monocrystalline solar panels are the front runner as the most efficient panels with 20% and up. Polycrystalline solar panels are a close competitor with 15% – 17% efficiency. While CIGS thin-film has 13% – 15% efficiency, CdTe thin-film has 9% – 11% efficiency, and a-Si thin-film has 6% – 8% efficiency.

    Solar Panel Types by Cost

    Although monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient, they are also the most expensive type of solar panels, with the average cost being 1 to 1.50 per watt. Polycrystalline solar panels are next in line as the most expensive, costing 0.70 to 1 per watt. While CIGS thin-film costs 0.60 to 0.70 per watt. CdTe thin-film costs 0.50 to 0.60 per watt. and a-Si thin-film is the least expensive at 0.43 to 0.50 per watt.

    Solar Panel Type by Power Output

    Most residential solar panels on today’s market are rated to produce between 250 and 400 watts per hour. Monocrystalline solar panels can generate between 320 watts and 375 watts of power capacity, while polycrystalline solar panels generate ratings between 240 watts and 300 watts. Thin-film panels don’t come in uniform sizes, so there is no standard measure of power capacity. However, thin-film solar panels have a lower power output comparatively.

    Solar Panel Type by Appearance

    One benefit of thin-film solar panels is their sleek appearance. Labeled the most attractive of the three solar panel types, the panel’s all-black thin design allows them to lie flat against roofs, so they blend in seamlessly.

    Like thin-film solar panels, monocrystalline panels have a sleek, solid black aesthetic. However, the panel’s solar cells are shaped in a unique way that causes quite a bit of white space on the panel, making them more pronounced than thin-film solar panels.

    In the last place for appearance, polycrystalline solar panels look less seamless than thin-film and monocrystalline. Each polycrystalline cell is manufactured with a blue, marbled look, making each panel look substantially different from the next, making them more distinctive.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    Other Factors to Consider When Comparing Panel Types

    In addition to efficiency, cost, power output and cost, there are several other factors to consider when determining which panel type is right for you. For instance, the weather in your area should undoubtedly be a consideration.

    Hail Rating

    Although most solar panels are protected by a thick layer of tempered glass that can tolerate severe impacts, a hail storm can present significant problems for your solar panels. Therefore, they are tested for hail impacts.

    On average, solar panels are certified to withstand hail of up to 1 inch falling at approximately 50 mph. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are ideal for areas that experience heavy hail. At the same time, thin-film solar panels are not ideal for hail since they have a thin design.

    Hurricane Rating

    Hurricanes are inevitable in some locations, so solar panels must withstand high winds and rain. While there is no formal solar classification rating for hurricanes, most solar panels can withstand up to 140 mph winds and are secured via fasteners, through-bolting modules, or a three-frame rail system to ensure safety through a hurricane or tropical storm.

    community, solar, access, power, rooftop


    The temperature outside can determine how efficiently solar panels generate energy. Solar panels work best at about 77°F. If the peak temperature of your solar panels gets higher than 149°F, solar panel efficiency can decline.

    Fire Rating

    In the event of a fire, solar panels are required to match the fire rating of the roof where they are installed to ensure they do not accelerate the spread of flames. Therefore, solar panels now carry the same fire classification rating as roofs, such as:

    • Class A: severe fire test exposure
    • Class B: moderate fire test exposure
    • Class C: light fire test exposure

    How Do Solar Panels Work?

    Before deciphering which solar panel type is right for your home, you should know how solar panels work and what to expect when you utilize them. The first thing to know is that solar panels harness the sun’s power and are an endless energy source that can perform all necessary functions. Solar panels are also able to create this energy in a manner that can save not only the planet but also your money.

    Solar Roofing Shingles

    Efficiency and price aside, some homeowners are hesitant to go solar for purely aesthetic reasons. In other words, they just don’t like the look of solar panels. If this is you, consider solar shingles.

    Solar shingles allow you to get many of the benefits of solar panels without disrupting the look and feel of your roof. They are manufactured using the same technology as solar panels, and they are available at a variety of price points (depending on the brand).

    Sadly, the cons are not insignificant. First and foremost, price is a huge concern—shingles are almost always more costly (especially if you go with a brand like Tesla, which launched a line of solar roofing shingles in 2019). Not only that, solar shingles are in short supply. So, even if you have the budget and the desire to add them to your roof, you might not be able to track them down.

    Efficiency-wise, solar shingles are also only between 14% and 18% efficient, which isn’t bad compared to the less efficient amorphous panels but, on the lower end, doesn’t really seem all that great next to the monocrystalline ones.

    Furthermore, solar shingles won’t necessarily work on every type of roof. Most are made to replace asphalt roofing tiles only (with some exceptions). The most cost-effective route? Coordinating overall roof replacement with the addition of solar shingles, which has a higher upfront cost, but is more likely to even out in the long run.

    Which Type of Solar Panel Is Best?

    Due to a wide selection of capabilities, quality, price points and features, shopping for the perfect solar panels for your home can be overwhelming. However, with some help, you can typically find the panel type that suits your home’s needs.

    For instance, monocrystalline solar panels have proven to be the best solar panel type due to their 20% and up solar efficiency, although they may be the most expensive per-watt solar-type. The second most popular solar panel type is polycrystalline, which is also made of crystals but is less durable, efficient and costly to produce and purchase. Finally, thin-film solar panels are the least efficient, least expensive type and are more common in commercial applications.

    Should I Get Solar Panels?

    You are now familiar with your solar panel choices, but is it even a good investment? That depends. Before getting your hopes up, ask yourself a few questions:

    • Do I have the right roof for solar panels? Roofs on older homes are often incompatible with solar panels, and things like skylights can also be problematic. Consult with a roofer and solar panel installer to find out for sure.
    • Does My HOA allow it? If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, the rules may or may not allow you to install solar panels.
    • Do I have the money to cover the costs? Solar panels should save you money over time, but there is still an upfront investment. If you can’t afford it, the future savings might not be worth it.
    • How long am I going to live in this house? If you are planning to sell your house anytime in the foreseeable future, it might be better to let the future homeowners decide for themselves whether or not to get solar panels. Otherwise, you might find yourself investing a lot of money for a benefit you don’t get a chance to enjoy (it can take years to recoup your investment).
    • How much do I spend each month on electricity? Households with low energy costs aren’t going to benefit as much from solar panels as a household with large electrical bills, so be sure to run the numbers before making a decision.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    How to Install Solar Panels on a Home Roof and Connect Them

    Solar energy is quickly establishing itself as the quintessential modern way to generate power. It’s green, renewable, and can reduce (or even eliminate) your monthly electric bills.

    There are numerous advantages and benefits to installing your own set of solar panels on your roof rather than paying for professional installation.

    But how do you go about doing it?

    Well, you’re in the right place.

    In this guide, we’re going to take you through all the benefits of installing solar panels on your roof and how you can DIY it all by yourself!

    Why You Should Install Solar Panels on the Roof

    There are numerous pros to installing your own solar panels. To make them easier to digest, we’ve broken down the key points below for you to review.

    Solar Panels Are a Renewable Source of Green Energy

    Over the past two decades, the damage caused by climate change has become clearer and clearer. Life on our planet is in danger, and we all feel the pressure to change our habits and live greener.

    Generating your own clean, renewable energy from the sun is an excellent way to do this, and that’s exactly what solar panels provide you with!

    If you’re looking for a greener way to live, solar is a fantastic place to start.

    Solar Panels Can Help You Save Money

    Living greener isn’t just about saving the planet. You can also keep more green in your wallet.

    Generating your own energy means less (or zero) reliance on the grid. You can reduce your electricity bills or eliminate them altogether. The initial investment can be significant, but over time you will certainly start to see the financial benefits.

    With the world’s fossil fuel supply diminishing and an unpredictable geopolitical situation — not to mention the natural disasters exacerbated by climate change — the price of on-grid electricity is likely to keep climbing.

    At the same time, an aging energy infrastructure has made the grid less reliable than ever.

    With the rapidly declining and improving technology of solar power, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.

    Solar Panels Are Easy to Install

    Installing your own solar panels on your roof might seem like a massive undertaking, but it really isn’t.

    community, solar, access, power, rooftop

    You may be entirely capable of doing it yourself!

    We’ll walk you through a DIY solar installation step-by-step a little further down. Home renovations don’t have to be stressful or excessive, and solar panel installation is neither.

    Solar Panels Are Low Maintenance

    Not only are solar panels easy to install, but they also require next to no maintenance. Once the panels are set up on your roof, you can essentially just forget about them. Solar power systems require no refueling and — if purchased from a reliable manufacturer — are highly durable. The Rigid Solar Panel from EcoFlow features an IP68 weather resistance certification, making it totally waterproof! These panels are designed to last with minimal intervention. You may need to clean them once or twice a year, but the rain will generally take care of that.

    What to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof

    Now that you know why solar panels are such a good idea, we’re sure you’re eager to purchase your own.

    Don’t rush to the stores (or your laptop) just yet — there are some key considerations to make first.

    You don’t want to invest in technology that doesn’t meet your electricity generation needs or install the incorrect equipment.

    Consider the following factors carefully before jumping into solar.

    Your Location

    Location isn’t just about the amount of sunshine you receive on a daily basis. Peak sun hours have an impact, but solar panels can pick up energy even in low-light situations. You don’t need to live in a desert for your solar panel to generate adequate power.

    However, if your roof is positioned under heavy shade, you won’t reap the same benefits as a solar panel that receives direct sunlight.

    Do some research on how much sunlight your location receives on average and consider factors like shade. It pays to know how worthwhile your investment will end up being before committing.

    How Much Energy Does Your Home Use?

    Numerous factors affect how much energy your home consumes. The number of people in your house, how many devices you have running concurrently, and your home’s size all contribute. Make sure you review how much electricity your home consumes, with specific reference to the wattage of essential devices and appliances, before purchasing solar panels and a solar power system.

    Doing the math will give you a clearer insight into how beneficial the switch to solar will be for you!

    The Condition of Your Roof

    Solar panels do not typically damage your roof, but they do exert additional weight on the existing structure. This is because they are usually mounted via panel hooks or similar devices.

    If your roof hasn’t been inspected in a few years or has shown signs of degradation (rot, woodworm, rust, etc), it might not be the best time to invest in roof-mounted solar panels.

    The last thing you want is to splash out on a set of solar panels only to find your roof can’t support them.

    Besides, portable solar panels are also a more than viable option. You can set them up in your backyard — and take them anywhere.

    The Brand You Purchase From

    Last but perhaps most importantly, you need to consider which manufacturer to purchase your solar panels and the solar power system that converts and stores electricity from.

    Not all brands (or solar panels) are created equal — and reputation matters!

    You should always read up on the brand you’re investing in before proceeding through checkout. You might think you’ve found a bargain, but if you’re purchasing subpar technology, it will likely need to be replaced much sooner than you’d like.

    How to Install and Connect Solar Panels on a Roof – Step by Step

    Now let’s get into the nitty gritty: installation!

    When it comes to installation, rigid solar panels are somewhat similar between brands. But there are some unique differences.

    This step-by-step guide is a generalized approach, but it should still apply to your installation.

    It isn’t as complicated as you may think, so let’s get into it already.

    Attach the Solar Panel Mounts

    Once you are safely up on your roof, the first thing you will need to do is secure your solar panel mounts. Mounts are what your panels will attach to and ‘hang’ from, so you must ensure they are completely stable.

    Also, consider how you’re going to maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day. Attach your mounts to the side that receives the most daylight at an 18-36 degree angle.

    Secure the Solar Panels in Place

    Once your mounts are securely in place, it’s time to place the panels themselves.

    EcoFlow offers both rigid and flexible solar panels to suit your rooftop installation needs. No matter how sloped or unusual your roof may be, you should have minimal difficulty fitting them in place.

    Just make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tightly fastened, securing the panel to the mount. This will help ensure that they stay precisely where you put them, no matter the weather.

    Wire the Solar Panels to the Inverter or Portable Power Station

    Next is the wiring. This may be the part you find most daunting, but it’s actually a relatively simple process. In most cases, MC4 cable connectors are used because they are compatible with all kinds of solar panels. You should only attempt this when the household electrical supply is entirely shut down, or you run the risk of electrifying yourself rather than your panels.

    Install the Solar Inverter or Use a Portable Power Station

    The inverter converts the sunlight your panels absorb into electrical energy you can use and store. EcoFlow’s portable power stations and solar generators have the inverter built in, as well as everything else you need for a true plug-and-play solar power system.

    Your inverter should usually be installed near your main electrical panel, ideally in a cool location.

    If you choose to install the solar inverter outdoors, make sure it’s out of the direct sun.

    Connect the Inverter to the Consumer Unit

    Finally, you need to connect the inverter to the consumer unit (fuse board). You will also need to connect solar batteries to your consumer unit to store the electricity you generate.

    This step is unnecessary with EcoFlow Portable Power Stations and Solar Generators, which are both all-in-one solar power system solutions.

    A generation meter alongside can tell you how much energy your solar panels are generating.

    With many of EcoFlow’s products, you can access this information and much more using the EcoFlow app on your smartphone.

    Congrats, you’ve completed your very first installation!

    NOTE: Your solar panels should always arrive with a specific installation manual for your system. Our guide is a catch-all for numerous solar panels, so make sure to refer to it as a high-level guide alongside your product manual.

    Do I Need Permission to Install Solar Panels on My Roof?

    In most cases, no, you do not need to apply for planning permission to install solar panels on your roof. Typically, it’s considered permitted development and shouldn’t affect neighbors in any meaningful way.

    After all, you aren’t expanding your property. You’re just adding to what’s already there.

    However, some exemptions to this may apply depending on your location and local regulations. Particularly if the following criteria are breached:

    • The panels rise higher than 8 inches (200mm) from the roof
    • Your home is a listed or landmark building
    • You live close to a listed or landmark building

    Check your local and national guidelines for specific information relating to your home, but for the most part, you should be good to go!

    If you are denied planning permission for a rooftop solar installation for whatever reason, don’t worry, it isn’t the end of your solar journey. EcoFlow offers a range of portable solar panels that can be used with portable power stations (such as the DELTA Pro) to generate power no matter where you are — and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission!


    Installing solar panels on your roof can seem like a huge undertaking, but it can prove highly worthwhile.

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    Consider purchasing your own solar panels today and see for yourself why so many people and businesses are turning to solar power.

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    Why putting rooftop solar on all US warehouses is a no-brainer – in numbers

    The US has more than 450,000 warehouses and distribution centers – that’s 16.4 billion square feet of rooftop space ripe for hosting solar panels.

    Rooftop solar on US warehouses

    Environment America and Frontier Group crunched some numbers and shared what they discovered in a study called “Solar on Warehouses.”

    community, solar, access, power, rooftop

    They report that the rooftops of US warehouses built before 2019 alone have the potential to generate 185.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of solar electricity annually – enough to power 19.4 million average households. That’s equivalent to roughly the entire New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area.

    Additionally, there was more than 626 million square feet of warehouse space under construction in the first half of 2022, thanks to online shopping growth in response to the pandemic.

    On average across the country, warehouses could produce 176% of their annual electricity use by fully building out their rooftop solar potential, allowing them to produce more electricity than they use and provide electricity to their communities.

    And if all US warehouses and distribution centers adopted solar, then the equivalent of more than 112 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually would be reduced. That’s like taking 24 million gas cars off the road for a year, or taking 30 coal-fired power plants offline.

    So, how would this idea get implemented? Environment America and Frontier Group call for businesses to commit to installing solar on their facilities, and they also call for government at all levels to support rooftop solar on warehouses by reducing permitting time and cutting red tape around permitting and interconnection.

    They also state that businesses should be compensated for hosting solar – as it not only benefits the businesses but also the public – with programs such as net metering, feed-in-tariffs, and value-of-solar tariffs.

    Alex Keally, senior vice president for Massachusetts-based Solect Energy, which has completed numerous solar installations on warehouse rooftops, said:

    The key to realizing the solar potential of warehouse rooftops is for warehouse owners to connect with solar developers and for utility companies to quickly connect rooftop solar systems to the grid.

    Electrek’s Take

    Big, boxy rooftops are some of the best places to put solar panels, so I was happy to see a new study surface that promotes this idea.

    Warehouses and distribution centers have large, flat, open roofs that usually get direct sunlight. These solar panel arrays are not going to take up land or upset neighborhood residents – they’d be on commercial buildings, and let’s be honest – they’re almost always an eyesore anyway. It’s unused space that’s ripe for clean energy, and I’ve never heard anyone object to this idea (although if you do, please politely tell me why in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below).

    While we’re at it, let’s whack rooftop solar on top of all the box stores and car dealerships, too. IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowe’s are at it. The federal tax incentives are there. Solar is a more cost-effective way for businesses to power themselves instead of using fossil-fueled power.

    Top comment by Scott King

    This is a good idea. The 2 big constraints people don’t discuss is the cost to remove and reinstall panels during a roof replacement. The solar has to be installed along with a new 25 year roof. Warehouse roofs are also designed for minamal dead load so the structure has to be able to support the weight. For new construction, this should be in the code along with L2 charger, min 7.6KW PER CONNECTOR!

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