Solar panels for backyard: From concept to reality
Solar panels are a renewable and sustainable source of energy, but they also have the potential to save you thousands of dollars in the long run. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of installing solar panels in the backyard, covering everything from initial planning to maintenance and troubleshooting.
To roof or not to roof: Benefits of ground installation
One of the pros of ground mounting is the possibility to install larger solar panel arrays, increasing the overall power output of your system. This is because the ground is better suited for installing big heavy panels in large numbers. Additionally, backyard installation allows for greater flexibility in panel orientation and tilt, which can increase the overall efficiency of your system.
Another argument in favor of backyard solar is ease of maintenance and repairs. It is much easier to access and work on panels that are installed on the ground, rather than on a rooftop. This means that any issues can be addressed promptly, without the need for expensive equipment or scaffolding.
Finally, ground installation offers increased tweaking and customization options. Non-roof solar panels can be easily adjusted and repositioned to optimize energy production, whereas roof-mounted panels are more limited in this regard. Additionally, ground-mounted panels can save the day if the roof is unusable due to angle or shading.
However, there are also situations when roof installation is more beneficial. If you have a small or shaded backyard, or if you want to preserve it for other uses, then roof installation may be your only option.
Get up to 25% more power by following the sun
Solar trackers are devices that adjust the position of solar panels to optimize their exposure to sunlight. When installing solar panels on the ground, solar trackers can be used to increase their efficiency by up to 25% compared to fixed panels. The way they work is by following the sun’s movement throughout the day, adjusting the panel’s angle to always face the sun directly. This allows for more energy to be captured, leading to higher electricity production.
Solar trackers come in two main types: single-axis and dual-axis. Single-axis trackers move the panels along one axis, following the sun’s east-west movement. Dual-axis trackers, on the other hand, move the panels along two axes, allowing them to also adjust for the sun’s elevation in the sky. Dual-axis trackers are generally more efficient, but also more expensive.
When considering solar trackers for a backyard installation, it is important to take into account the cost-benefit ratio. While they can increase energy production, they also add to the overall cost of the installation. It’s recommended to use trackers in locations with high solar radiation and to consider the shading from nearby trees and buildings.
Popular brands of backyard solar panels
When it comes to installing backyard solar, there are a few brands that stand out as being reliable, efficient, and cost-effective for backyard solar installations.
Canadian Solar is a well-known and reputable brand that offers a wide range of solar panels specifically designed for residential use. They have a strong FOCUS on quality, performance and reliability, making them a top choice for homeowners looking to install solar panels in their backyard.
LG Solar has a reputation for producing high-efficiency solar panels that are perfect for backyard installations. Their panels feature a sleek and durable design, making them a great option for homeowners who want a visually appealing solar panel system. Additionally, LG Solar’s panels have been tested to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them ideal for outdoor use.
Trina Solar is a global leader in the solar industry, known for producing high-quality and affordable solar panels. Their panels are designed for easy installation, making them a great option for homeowners who want a DIY installation. Trina Solar’s panels also have a high efficiency rate, which means they can generate more electricity per square foot of space, making them ideal for small backyards.
Ground Mounted Solar Panels
If you’re looking for a way to go with solar energy and cut your energy costs, you may be wondering if ground mounted solar panels are a good option for you. Ground mounted solar panels, or free standing solar panels as they are also known, offer many benefits, including the ability to generate more power in shaded areas and the ability to be installed almost anywhere. In this guide, we will discuss the basics of a ground mount solar system and answer some common questions about them.
Can Solar Panels be installed on the ground?
Yes, solar panels can be installed on the ground. In fact, ground mounted solar panels can be installed anywhere where there’s sufficient open space and sunlight exposure. Free standing solar panels are a popular choice for businesses and communities with high energy demands, or private owners who live in a shaded area but have a wide open space ideal for ground-mount solar.
Ground mounted solar panels have many benefits over a traditional rooftop system. Rooftop solar panels are often limited by shading from trees or buildings, but ground mounted panels can be placed in direct sunlight. Ground mount solar panels can also be installed on slopes or uneven terrain, making them a good option for properties with difficult or sloped roofs. In addition, ground mounted solar panels are often easier to maintain and repair than a rooftop system.
What is a suitable area for a ground-mounted solar system?
A suitable area for a ground-mounted solar system is any open, sunny space. Ground mounted solar panels can be installed in a wide variety of locations, including on the ground, on a pole, or on a roof. The best location for your ground mount solar panels will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you’re looking to generate the most power possible, you’ll want to choose a location with direct sunlight exposure. If you’re looking for an installation that’s less obtrusive, you may want to consider a location on the edge of your property or on a roof.
You should search for a location that is:
- The ground to the south may be flat or gently sloping (up to 5 degrees), depending on the terrain.
- Outside of a flood zone containing 100 years or less of flooding
- Not heavily shaded by trees or other objects
- Only a few meters from the existing electrical system
- If the system is big enough (greater than 100 kW), it will not be seen from neighbouring houses.
- Ground that is suitable (pre-drilling is not required for foundations that are too hard, pre-drilling is necessary for foundations that are too soft)
How much does it cost to install ground mounted solar panels?
The cost of installing standard ground mount solar panels varies depending on the size and scope of the project. Ground mount solar panel installations can range in cost from 25,000 to 50,000 or more. The best way to get an accurate estimate of the cost of your project is to contact a qualified solar installer in your area.
Ground Mounted Solar Panel Racking Options
Steel pillars are the most cost-effective method of building a standard ground mount system. Steel pillars may be driven into the ground without pre-drilling if the soil is deemed suitable during the geotechnical study, and they are wind rated for Wind Region A in Australia. If you live in the areas of the Hawkesbury or Blue Mountains that can get snow in Winter, this may not be a suitable mounting option for you.
Pole Mounted System
Pole mounts are a good solution when there is not enough space for a traditional ground mount system, or when the property owner wants to avoid disturbing the existing landscaping. Pole mounts can be installed on any type of terrain. A pole mount will take up less surface area on your property and if installed with a tracking system, can be used to tilt the panels or rotate them certain angles throughout the day. It should be mentioned though that the tracking system itself will require electricity which could outweigh its benefits.
A concrete foundation may be required to install the panel mounting system in certain circumstances. This gives the structure greater stability and resistance to the wind. Concrete foundations are more expensive than steel pillars, but they may be the best option in some cases.
Whilst expensive, ground screwing when you install solar panels into the ground, can provide a very stable solution, especially for those in windy areas. Ground screws are also a good solution for properties with difficult or sloped roofs.
In certain cases, it is better not to dig through the earth at all. Solar panels may also be set up on concrete blocks that rest on the ground and keep the system in place. This method, called ballasting, is often used on rooftop solar arrays but can also be used for ground-mounted systems.
Single Axis Tracking
Tracking systems use motors to pivot the panels throughout the day so they are always at the optimum inclination to the sun. Single-axis trackers follow the sun’s path from east to west. The advantage of tracking systems is that they can generate up to 30% more electricity than fixed-tilt panels. The downside is that they are more expensive and require more maintenance than fixed-tilt systems.
Dual Axis Tracking Systems
The axis of a two-axis tracker is divided into many paths that allow the panels to move in a more circular pattern, resulting in enhanced output.
The pros and cons of ground-mounted solar panels
If you’re thinking about installing a ground-mounted solar system instead of a rooftop system, there are several things to consider. Your choice will be based on your specific demands and the constraints imposed by your solar provider.
- Maximise sunlight exposure
- Better air circulation can help improve efficiency
- Easier to access when it comes to maintenance
- expensive than a rooftop solar system
- Takes up more land space
- May require a building permit
- Can be prone to damage from wildlife or other objects hitting them
How many ground-mounted solar panels will I need?
The typical house requires 20 solar ground-mounted panels.
Assume a location that receives 5 peak sun hours of sunshine each day and uses 300-watt panels. In that time, each solar panel will generate 1.5 kWh (1,500 watt-hours) of power each day.
In Australia, the typical household consumes approximately 900 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each month, or around 30 kWh each day. We know that each solar panel produces 1.5 kWh of energy per day, so we can offset the average daily usage of an Australian home by installing 20 solar panels.
Who makes the best ground-mounted solar panels?
There are many manufacturers of solar panels, and the quality of their products varies. Some brands have a good reputation for producing a high-quality solar system that will last for many years, while others have a reputation for producing inferior products.
When choosing a brand of solar panel, it is important to do your research and read reviews from other consumers. You should also compare the price of the solar panel to its features and warranty. Some brands offer better value than others.
In our opinion, the best ground-mounted solar panels on the market are made by SunPower. SunPower manufactures high-quality products that come with long warranties and have a reputation for being durable and reliable.
Can I install a ground-mount kit myself?
Whilst the technical answer is yes, you could if you have the skills and knowledge, the question should also be asked, do you want to risk it? Ground-mounted solar systems are not cheap and if installed incorrectly, could lead to subpar results.
We would recommend engaging the services of a professional solar installer, like Skyline Solar, who will be able to install your system quickly and efficiently. Not only will they do a better job, but it will also likely void your warranty if something goes wrong when you attempt the install yourself.
Is a ground-mounted solar panel system right for my home?
If you have a lot of open area on your property and want to install solar panels at a greater number than you can fit on your roof, ground-mounted solar systems may be preferable. This is especially true if you have a lot of free space on your land so that you may put in more solar panels than you can possibly use.
However, if the amount of space you have for solar panels is insufficient, it’s probably not possible to install as many of them as you need. Roof-mounted systems can also leave room for your grass, flower beds, or other landscaping. If that’s essential to you, rooftop solar panels may be the way to go.
I should also emphasize that if your roof space is not suitable for solar panels, you can install a ground-mount solar system or a solar carport, as well as a variety of other options.
Ground mounted solar panels, or free standing solar panels, are a great renewable energy option for those who have enough open space on their property to install them. They offer the potential to produce more energy than rooftop solar panels, and are easier to access for maintenance. However, they can be more expensive than other options and require a building permit in some cases. A ground mounted system should be installed by a professional solar installer to ensure they are installed correctly. The team at Skyline Solar have been installing solar panels for decades and would be happy to assist. If you have the space and budget for a ground-mounted system, it may be the right choice for your home.
Ground-mounted solar panels
Rooftop solar panels are the most sought-after option for homeowners to installing solar energy systems at their residences. Most homeowners are not aware that ground-mounted solar panels can be just as cost-effective and easy to install.
What are ground-mount solar panels?
Ground-mounted solar panels are solar panels that are positioned at ground level. They function in the same way as rooftop solar systems. These panels receive sunlight, which is then converted to electricity through solar cells. This is used to power a buildingor community when using solar farms.
These are the top three facts about ground mounted solar panels.
Ground-mounted solar systems are often the best choice.
Ground-mounted solar panels typically more expensive over rooftop panels because of the extra work and permits that could be required. Ground-mounted solar systems might reduce your costs in the long run if your home isn’t suitable for solar installations.
You might also find that your roof isn’t large enough to accommodate a solar energy system that is able to meet your electricity consumption. Ground-mounted solar systems however can be adapted to meet your power needs without the restrictions of a rooftop system.
All ground-mounted solar panels systems are not created equal
There are two types of solar panels that are mounted on the ground. systems:
Ground-mounts are constructed of metal framing. which is placed in the ground. This keeps your panels at a set angle. The standard solar panels mounted on the ground can be adjusted manually to accommodate seasonal variations.
Pole-mounted solar systems can support multiple panels on a single pole and raise panels higher than conventional ground mounts. The majority of pole-mounted solar systems come with tracking systems that automatically tilt the panels to get the most sunlight.
All homeowners can benefit from ground-mounted solar panels systems
Ground–mounted solar panels are easy to set up because they can be placed on any surface. They don’t have to be installed on your roof.
Additionally, the bracings in conventional ground-mount systems can be removed without difficulty and are very light. They’ll be more secure when you select the pole-mount.
A ground-mount solar panel system can be more effective per solar panel than rooftop arrays. Ground-mounted solar panels don’t need to be attached to the roof, and they can be set at the most optimal angle for maximum energy production.
Ground-mounted solar panels can be easily cleaned and maintained. It’s very practical to to sweep snow off of your panels if you reside in an area with lots of snow.
Ground-mount solar systems are available through [xfield-company] installers. The price of a traditional ground-mounted solar system is similar to the cost of a rooftop system. If you incorporate a tracking system you’ll need to pay an initial cost however this could be offset by higher power generation and makes tracking systems more reasonable for homeowners.
What is a suitable area for a ground-mounted solar system?
You want a space that’s perfect for you.
- In the southern part, flat or gently slopes (up up to five degrees).
- A floodplain that is more than 100 years old isn’t likely
- Shade from nearby trees not needed
- It is simple to find the existing electrical infrastructure without the need for trenching or cabling.
- Massive installation (above 100kW) aren’t evident from the homes around them.
- A suitable soil (not too soft so that concrete foundations are needed however not so difficult that pre-drilling is needed)
An investigation of geotechnical conditions is needed prior to a solar installation proceed. This will confirm that the correct solar mounting structure can be utilized, as well as the warranty.
Different Ground Mounted Solar Panel Racking Systems
Traditional. Steel pillars are the most affordable method to install the ground-mount systems. Steel pillars can be used to drive into only if the ground has been considered appropriate by the geotechnical assessment.
Concrete. Sometimes, a concrete footing is required in order to mount the panels. This will give you more stability and also wind resistance.
Ground Screw – Even though they’re more costly to install, ground screws are a solid solution. It is possible to drill the screws using specialized equipment.
Ballasted – It’s possible to not penetrate the ground entirely in the event that it is needed. Concrete blocks can be used to install solar panels. They can be placed on the ground and hold the solar system in the right place.
Single Axis Tracking: Tracking systems use motors that pivot panels through the day, ensuring that they are exactly at an distance from the sun. Single-axis trackers trace the path of the sun from East to West.
Dual Axis Tracking. Dual trackers are equipped with various motor choices that permit these panels to rotate in a more circular manner, thus maximizing the power output.
Ground-Mounted Solar: Drawbacks
Ground-mounted solar systems do have drawbacks, but it all depends on what your particular situation is.
The requirement for land is that it must be cultivated.
Ground-mounted systems have the obvious disadvantage of having to be installed on land. This makes them more appropriate for rural and suburban areas than urban ones. Ground-mounted solar systems capable of producing enough power to meet an American family’s daily requirements would require approximately 1,000 square feet of uninterrupted sunlight.
Potential Environmental Impact
The United States has more than 8 billion square metres of roofs which can be used to install solar panels. These panels are capable of double the nation’s electricity production capacity. There is no requirement to create more land available. Rooftop solar has a minimal environmental impact in terms of the land used.
A typical solar array that is mounted on the ground requires land to must be cleared and then graded before it can be covered with gravel. The sacrifice of land with a an environmental significance is expensive. It can lead to lost time for permitting and public approvals, aswell in the event of litigation.
Ground-mounted solar projects are able to be installed on land that is marginal, like brownfields or other land that is contaminated or disturbed to limit their environmental impact. You can also mount solar panels that are high enough to support agrivoltaics. This combines solar panels and agriculture. The panels can be used to help with the growth of crops or shade for livestock. The United States is introducing more renewable energy sitting tools to help with the environmentally-friendly development of ground-mounted solar plants.
In certain urban areas, rooftop solar panels could be classified as “permitted expansion”. But, since this is a new application for a property, systems mounted on the ground could require approval from local zoning or environmental authorities. It is contingent on the size of the system and height, as and local regulations.
Ground-mounted systems require more wiring that connects to the house. To protect the wires from getting eaten by squirrels and other animals, it could be necessary to put them in a secluded area.
What is the cost of ground-mounted solar panels?
A solar system costs about 2.77 per Watt, on average. That means a 10 kilowatt system would cost 27,000.8 Ground-mounted systems are more expensive in upfront cost. We include extra mounting hardware and labor and permits.
A solar system is an investment that will last for a long time. It is therefore crucial to determine the return on investment (ROI) not only the initial cost. The ROI of a solar installation is determined by a variety of variables, including the price and efficiency of the system, expenses for financing, labor charges, incentives from the states and federal governments, and the price for electric power in your area. It takes between 7 and twelve years to allow the system’s cost to be fully payed off.
Its efficiency is the primary aspect that determines if an array mounted on the ground is more competitive in price than a rooftop solar array. It could be more efficient when it can generate more power with less panels. This would allow it to have a faster return on investment.
Is Ground-Mounted Solar cheaper than Roof-Mounted Systems?
Ground-mounted systems may be more costly than roof-mounted systems, even though it may seem like a contradiction. Even though it could seem that the burden of putting panels on roofs and having them put in difficult locations could be expensive, having the roof for building on could help lower costs.
Solar panels that are mounted on roofs require a foundation to set up the racking. It may be necessary to lay a foundation using cement or other materials. But, this is not just about mounting the solar mounting brackets for your panels and calling it a day.
Ground-mount panels are more costly than roof-mount, however it’s not much. You might need additional permits based on the size of your solar array and foundation. This can take time and costs.
Ground-mounts are able to be adjusted manually throughout the year so that they get the most benefit from the sun’s rayons. Although they might not provide the same flexibility as pole-mount systems however, they can be more easily adjusted than roof-mount systems. This increases electricity production and reduces the cost gap.
It’s important to note that even though the installation may cost more, the ground-mount panels will be more efficient. They don’t require being adjusted to the orientation or direction that your roofing has. This allows them to be placed to get the best sun exposure. This means you will receive more power and could reduce your costs throughout the lifetime of your solar panel.
Ground-mounted solar panels: What are the pros and cons?
It is important to be aware of the pros and cons of a ground-mounted system if you’re thinking about one over a roof system. Your needs and the parameters which you and your contractor will decide on will ultimately impact your choice.
Freestanding solar panels have the benefit of maximising the amount of sunlight that is absorbed. Even though your rooftop may not be perfectly oriented (e.g. it’s in the south and has a slope of 30-40 degrees) You can decide the best way to install your solar system on the ground to maximize the energy output. Systems that have been mounted to the ground are much more effective since they have greater air circulation beneath the panels. This allows them to remain cool. Systems mounted on the ground are simpler to access to perform maintenance. This could reduce the cost of labor.
Ground-mounted systems aren’t the best fit for everyone. Rooftop systems can be placed on top of your roof, and they can take up the space of your property. Ground-mounted systems could necessitate you to work with property. This can be a problem for homeowners who want to use the land for gardening, recreation or farming. In certain situations you might be able to combine farming and ground-mounted systems with the agrivoltatics. Ground-mounted solar panels are more vulnerable to damage by animals or people who try to modify the equipment. Ground mount solar systems are more expensive in the event that you don’t need extensive repairs to your roof in order to set up a solar panel on your roof (which is likely to be required to complete in the future).
[xfield-company] is the best place to start your solar journey.
You can request seven estimates from local installers through the [xfield-company] Marketplace. This will allow you to choose the system that best suits your needs and will be at the best price. Make sure to register your property today to talk to one of our Energy Advisors, who will be able to answer your questions throughout your entire registration process.
June 16, 2022
A Resource Guide to Claiming Solar Tax Credits in California
September 7, 2017
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Florida in 2023?
Considering going solar in Florida? Learn about solar panel installation costs to prepare your budget.
- Installation Cost
- Cost Factors
- Solar Incentives
- Best Installation Companies
- The Bottom Line
Florida is one of the best states to transition to solar power. It provides almost 3,000 hours of annual sunlight, and there are more than 370 solar companies to choose from.
This guide breaks down the typical solar panel installation cost in Florida. We at the Guides Home Team have also provided recommendations for the best solar companies in the state. During our research process, we analyzed more than 30 solar companies, interviewed industry experts and read more than 1,000 customer reviews.
Solar Panel Cost in Florida: Local Installation Prices
The average cost of solar panels in Florida is 2.57 per watt. The price for an average-sized 5-kilowatt (kW) system is 15,420.
Below is a breakdown of Florida’s average solar panel cost based on system size. We’ve also included the reduced price after applying the federal solar tax credit. which offers a tax credit equal to 30% of your installation costs.
are based on 2022 averages from various sources.
What Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Florida?
Solar panel costs are influenced by various factors, ranging from local legislation to your specific energy needs. We’ve listed some of the most significant factors below.
- Net-metering: Net-metering allows you to transfer surplus electricity from your solar power system into the power grid. Your utility company subtracts this energy from your next electric bill at the retail rate. Investor-owned Florida utility companies (Florida Power Light, Gulf Power, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Company) offer net-metering programs.
- Payment method: Most solar companies offer at least two of these payment options: purchasing your solar panel system up-front, taking out a solar loan or signing a lease. (Power purchase agreements, or PPAs, are not allowed in Florida ). Paying for the system up-front is the most cost-effective option because you avoid interest rates and get access to tax incentives. Choosing a solar lease has less up-front costs but disqualifies you from cost-saving incentives since you don’t own the system.
- Solar panel type: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular option for residential installations because of their high efficiency rates. However, they’re more expensive than other types of solar panels. Polycrystalline panels cost less but have lower efficiency rates. Thin-film solar panels are the cheapest but are best for smaller projects, such as converting a shed or RV to solar energy.
- Solar tax credits: Solar tax credits provide financial relief for solar panel installations. Learn more about the incentives offered in Florida below.
- System size: Your energy needs dictate how many solar panels your home requires. The average Floridian installs a 5 kW system. Assuming you use standard 250-watt panels, that equates to approximately 20 panels at roughly 11,000. Larger systems are more expensive because they require more panels and have higher installation costs.
Solar Incentives in Florida
Florida has several solar tax incentives that reduce the cost of solar panel installations in the state. Homeowners can also take advantage of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This provides a tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost of your solar panel installation. The rate will reduce to 26% in 2033.
Read about Florida’s state-specific solar tax incentives below.
- Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy Property: Florida provides a 100% tax exemption for the added property value of residential solar energy systems and an 80% property tax exemption for non-residential systems. This incentive will remain effective until Dec. 31, 2037.
- Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption: This exemption eliminates Florida’s 6% sales tax for new solar equipment. It was made permanent in 2005.
Best Solar Installation Companies in Florida
Florida residents have many solar installers to choose from, but we recommend Elevation as our top choice. The company focuses on maximizing solar panel efficiency by allowing customers to monitor their energy usage and output in real time through the curb app. They are also known for providing high quality customer support and fast installations.
SunPower is another excellent option for Florida homeowners. They have decades of experience and knowledge of the solar energy industry, and offer some of the highest efficiency panels in the industry.
Use our tool below to request quotes from these top providers.
Energy Star-certified products Comprehensive active monitoring 25-year warranties on products and labor
Offers 7 solar panel brands Partners with Enphase for battery options Helps customers enroll in savings programs
The Bottom Line: Solar Panel Cost in Florida
A solar panel system costs around 15,000 in Florida. However, using the federal solar tax credit and state incentives can reduce some of that cost. A reputable solar installer in Florida, such as Momentum Solar, Elevation or SunPower, can help you determine which incentives you qualify for. Use our tool below to find which top solar companies service your address.
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Costs in Florida
Is it worth going solar in Florida?
Yes, going solar is worth it in Florida. It’s one of the sunniest states in the country, and it offers solar tax incentives and net-metering programs to maximize savings.
How many solar panels are needed to power a house in Florida?
Roughly 20 to 30 solar panels are needed to power the average household. Your roof design and monthly energy consumption determine how many solar panels your home needs.
How long does it take for a solar power system to pay for itself?
The average solar power system pays for itself in around six to 10 years. The payback period depends on your local electricity rates, personal energy consumption, selected payment options and whether you use tax incentives to reduce costs.
Do solar panels increase your property taxes in Florida?
No, solar panels don’t increase property taxes in Florida. The state currently offers a property tax exemption for residential solar systems.
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Solar Installation Companies
Alex Hawkins is an avid writer and researcher specializing in solar, pet insurance and home improvement. When he isn’t surveying homeowners to understand their pain points or speaking with professionals in the industries he covers, Alex can often be found creating videos for his YouTube channel, Analysis with Alex, or attending a heavy metal show.
Dana Getz is a seasoned editor with nearly a decade of experience writing and editing content. She has a background in journalism and worked as a fact-checker for prestigious magazines such as New York and Chicago. She holds a journalism and marketing degree from Northwestern University and has worked across numerous categories within the home services space.
Karsten Neumeister is an experienced energy professional with subject-matter expertise in energy policy and the solar and retail energy industries. He is currently the Communications Manager for the Retail Energy Advancement League and has prior experience writing and editing content for EcoWatch. Before EcoWatch, Karsten worked for Solar Alternatives, curating content, advocating for local renewable energy policy and assisting the solar engineering and installation teams. Throughout his career, his work has been featured on various outlets including NPR, SEIA, Bankrate, PV Mag and the World Economic Forum.
Solar Panels by Sunrun
Learn about our best-in-class solar products and services.
Experience Peace of Mind for Decades to Come with Sunrun Rooftop Solar Panels
When you team up with a solar company like Sunrun, you can create your own affordable, clean energy and gain independence from your utility company. A Sunrun solar installation can help power your home when the sun is out while you boost control over your energy usage and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.
We offer several residential solar plans to help you start your solar journey. Find out which is the ideal fit for your budget and unique energy needs.
We offer some of the best solar rooftop panel systems on the market, and you can bring them home through a lease payment plan, flexible solar financing, or by paying outright. Our made-to-fit solar solutions, paired with exceptional service and our industry-leading solar guarantee, have positioned us as the leading residential solar and energy storage company in the U.S. 1
Solar panels are just one part of the solution to experience energy freedom and security. To ensure you get the most out of your home energy system, consider adding a solar battery back-up service like Sunrun’s Brightbox. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by blackouts from 2008 to 2017. 2 With Brightbox, you can keep your lights on and your food fresh during outages with a Smart, affordable, and reliable back-up power system.
Benefits of Adding Sunrun’s Battery Storage Service to Your Solar Panels
Brightbox doesn’t need dangerous, expensive, and toxic fossil fuels to work. 3 When the sun is out, it can store clean and affordable back-up power for later use.
Brightbox paired with a Tesla Powerwall can help you back up your entire home, or you can back up just the rooms you need with an LG Chem solar battery.
Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem solar batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and they typically come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind.
Solar with incentives
Our Automated Site Modeling tool is a revolutionary technology that allows us to design a custom Sunrun home solar energy system based on your roof’s unique dimensions and layout.
Sunrun’s Automated Site Modeling tool will use your roof’s individual profile, including shading, pitch, sun exposure, seasonality, and roof obstacles. This will ensure that the designed Sunrun solar panel system matches your home’s structure and unique energy needs. A customized system can let you know your potential control over your future electricity bills
Sunrun’s Product Selector is an innovative and simple tool. It lets you know in minutes which solar plan, with or without a home battery, can give you and your family more benefits in the long run, depending on where you live.
Sunrun’s Product Selector will use information about your roof’s type and pitch, your household size, and other important aspects, like if you have a home office or if you need back-up power, to recommend the best Sunrun home solar plan for you. This can help secure the peace of mind you deserve during rising energy costs and power outages while reducing your carbon footprint.
Does my state offer incentives to go solar?
See the states where Sunrun is currently available and the solar incentives that might be offered where you live. Some of the most common solar incentives include tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebates. No matter what state you live in, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) if you decide to purchase a home solar energy system.
You can get a Sunrun monthly plan to lease your solar panels or prepay for your renewable energy through a solar power purchase agreement or PPA plan. As a result, any incentive savings you would receive through tax credits and rebates with a system purchase can be passed to you in the form of a lower solar bill.
How do solar panels work?
You can’t talk about solar panels without talking about silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic element and the second-most abundant material on earth. 4 It can also convert sunlight into electricity, and it’s a key component in a solar system (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV system). 5
Solar panels, solar cells, or PV cells, are made by slicing crystalline silicon (also known as wafers) that are millimeters thin. These wafers are sandwiched between protective glass, insulation, and a protective back sheet, which make a solar panel. The back sheet helps to regulate the temperature and humidity to optimize the solar panel’s efficiency. 6 Multiple solar panels connected together create a solar array, and ultimately, a solar system.
Then there’s the physics of how solar cells work: Electricity is made when electrons move between atoms. The top and bottom of a silicon wafer in the solar cell are treated with small amounts of atoms of extra materials—such as boron, gallium, or phosphorus—so that the top layer has more electrons and the bottom layer has less. When the sun activates the electrons in these oppositely charged layers, the electrons move through a circuit attached to the panels. This flow of electrons through the circuit is what generates the electrical current that ultimately powers a home. 7
What are the different types of solar panels?
Monocrystalline solar panels:
Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency and power capacity out of all other types of solar panels. Another reason why people choose them is because of how they look. The solar cells within monocrystalline panels are square-shaped and have a single, flat black color, making them the most popular type of solar panels among homeowners. 8 Sunrun uses monocrystalline PV modules in all its home solar systems.
Polycrystalline solar panels:
The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels is less costly than monocrystalline panels, but it also makes them less efficient. Usually, polycrystalline solar panels don’t have the corners cut off of them, so you won’t see the large white spaces on the front of the panel that you see on monocrystalline panels. 8
Thin-film solar panels:
Thin-film solar panels are less costly and easier to install than their counterparts. Still, they aren’t the best option for a home solar installation due to their efficiency, lightweight material, and durability. 8
How long do solar panels really last?
When you consider investing in a solar installation, you might wonder how long home solar panels last. Studies show that solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, or sometimes longer. 9 Still, this doesn’t mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average household’s energy needs.
Do home solar systems have a warranty?
All of our solar equipment is backed by factory warranties. On top of that, our monthly solar lease plan and prepaid solar plan (also known as a solar PPA) come with 24/7 proactive monitoring and free maintenance on us. If we notice that your rooftop panels or solar battery aren’t working at their full capacity, we’ll send an expert over to fix it without you lifting a finger. This benefit sets Sunrun apart from the other solar installers in the country.
How does Automated Site Modeling work?
After you enter a few details about your home, our Automated Site Modeling tool will analyze hundreds of thousands of variables in home solar system designs to build a high-resolution image of the ideal system for your roof. These factors include your home’s pitch, seasonality, sun exposure, shading, and roof obstacles. This helps Sunrun guarantee you receive maximum benefits from your new home solar system.
How does Sunrun’s Product Selector work?
After you answer a few simple questions about your home’s details, lifestyle, and electricity usage, Sunrun’s Product Selector will let you know if a monthly lease plan, prepaying for your solar energy, financing a system, or purchasing outright—along with a back-up power service—is the most cost-effective solution for your unique needs.
Are Automated Site Modeling and Sunrun’s Product Selector really free?
Yes. At Sunrun, we’re committed to providing you with the best technology, services, and tools, like our Automated Site Modeling tool and Product Selector, to make your switch to solar as affordable and straightforward as possible. This can help you worry less about controlling your electric bills and protecting your home during outages while reducing your carbon emissions for decades.
Do solar panels get hot?
Rooftop solar panels can get hot, particularly during scorching summer days. If the panels do get hot or overheat, they can produce less energy as the temperature rises above their optimal energy production range.
In general, residential solar panels are designed to reach their peak efficiency level at 77 °F (25 °C), but their efficiency will decrease by 0.5% for every degree above this temperature. The actual percentage of lower production varies by the solar panel’s manufacturer and model. Ultimately, you want to aim for an exterior temperature range of 59 to 95 °F (15 to 35 °C). Yet, it’s unrealistic for rooftop solar panels to stay within this range all year, especially in places where temperatures can go past 100 °F (37.8 °C). Fortunately, most solar panels can withstand heat up to 149 °F (65 °C). 10
Nonetheless, solar panel overheating can be prevented. Many solar panel manufacturers cover the panels in a material that generally conducts and vents heat away from the glass. In addition, solar panels are usually mounted a few inches above the roof, which allows airflow space to help move heat away from the panels.
Despite the reduction in efficiency from extreme heat, solar energy generation doesn’t stop. The lower electricity production due to scorching weather balances out with the longer days of sunlight throughout the seasons. Although solar panels work best on cold, sunny days, they produce solar power year-round in nearly every location and climate.
Do solar panels work in cold weather?
Solar panels create energy from sunlight—not the sun’s heat. In fact, solar panels produce electricity more efficiently in cooler conditions. Even in the most frigid weather, solar panels can turn sunlight into electricity.
How does this work? Colder temperatures enhance solar energy production efficiency, which increases the amount of electricity produced. Electrons are at rest in cooler climates. When the electrons in solar panels are activated by increasing sunlight, a voltage difference is attained that creates an electric current.
Warmer summer temperatures raise the overall energy levels of electrons in solar panels. This increased energy level decreases the energy differential that can be gained, producing less energy. A higher energy state interferes with solar panel electricity production since some energy transfers into heat instead of electricity. Your home doesn’t need to be in a warm-weather state like Arizona, California, Nevada, or Texas to generate year-round reliable solar power.
Do solar panels work at night?
While solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, there are two ways you can benefit from solar power during the nighttime: enroll in a net energy metering (NEM) program (if it’s offered where you live), or add a home battery storage service, like Sunrun’s Brightbox.
Net energy metering (NEM): Lower-cost grid energy at night
If NEM is offered in your state and by your utility, you may be eligible to earn credits on your bill for the excess solar energy you produce and send to your utility company. 11 At night, you could use those credits toward drawing electricity from the grid at a lower cost. Net metering may help you save money on your future electricity bills. Visit your utility company’s website for more information.
Solar battery storage: Reliable, affordable back-up energy, day and night
A battery storage service like Brightbox can let you store the excess solar power you produce for later use. This stored solar energy can help keep your devices and appliances running at night, during outages, cloudy days, and rainy afternoons.
Brightbox offers two lithium-ion solar battery storage options: Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. Tesla Powerwall can help yo back up your entire home while LG Chem can help you back up to four circuits inside your home. There are also differences in software and app functionality.
Request a free, personalized quote to connect with a Sunrun Solar Advisor and determine which Sunrun back-up solution would work best for your home.
How does Brightbox work?
Brightbox allows you to store the excess energy your solar energy system produces during the day to use it in the evening, at night, or when the electric grid fails due to physical damage or an extreme weather event or.
Do I need solar panels to use Brightbox?
Aside from very rare exceptions, Sunrun’s Brightbox service includes rooftop solar panels. Brightbox can store 100% clean, renewable, home-grown solar power directly from the rooftop panels when the sun is out, so you can use it when you need it most.
Can I add Brightbox to my current home solar system?
At this time, Brightbox with a Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem solar battery is only available in the installation of a new Sunrun home solar system due to tech compatibility issues. We can’t install rooftop solar panels or a home battery if you already have an existing solar installation or if Brigtbox’s battery storage service isn’t available in your area.
What happens during a solar installation?
Once you’re approved for a solar installation, your property will undergo a site assessment, and an expert solar technician will schedule a visit with you to confirm your system design.
After that, our Solar Design Experts will make any necessary adjustments to your design and get your final approval. Once it’s approved, we’ll submit your design to the city for permitting, which can take up to eight weeks. From there, either Sunrun or one of our local certified partners will start your solar installation. We only partner with the top-rated solar installers, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll have the highest quality solar installation available.
When your installation is finished, the city or county will perform a final inspection of your system. Once it’s approved, it’ll be connected to the grid, and we’ll submit your documents to the utility company. After your utility company grants Permission to Operate (PTO), you’ll be all set to start powering your home with the sun.
What happens if I move?
We have an entire team of professionals standing by to help you sell your solar home and transfer your contract, if applicable, to the new owners. Sunrun makes it easy to pass your solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) to the new owners. Our Service Transfer Specialists handle everything from educating realtors and potential buyers to working with escrow officers, title agents, home inspectors, as well as anyone else who might need to know about your system and solar lease or PPA agreement.