The Solar Blog

Keep Bugs Away Naturally

Bugs Bugging You? Summertime means hot weather, but it also means the creepy crawlies are out. Not all bugs are bad – in fact, some bugs are vital, like bees and ladybugs. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to invite them to your next outdoor BBQ. Here are a few clever ways to keep bugs from munching on your food (or your guests): 1. Hang ‘paper bag wasp nests’ from different areas surrounding your BBQ area. Simply take a paper bag and tie a rubber band around the open end, much like you were making a balloon. Blow a little air into the bag to give it a nice, round shape – wasps will think it’s a nest and [...]


Beat the Heat this Summer!

The heatwave has landed! And with our drought still going strong, doesn’t look like we’ll have any relief soon from these hot temperatures. So here are a few ideas and tips to stay cool: 1. Stay out of the sun as much as possible – especially when it’s at it’s hottest in the afternoon. 2. Stay hydrated – water is the best thing you can drink to keep yourself hydrated. No fancy sports drinks needed unless you’re exercising. You can freeze a bottle of water and take it with you while running errands or whatever you plan for the day. The ice will melt for drinking and holding the bottle with keep you cool. 3. Dress cool – light, cotton clothes are [...]


Be Water Smart

We talk a lot about switching to solar and making sure you've got a handle on your energy needs, but what’s happening with your water? California is in a drought that doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, so how can you be more water smart? There’s no two ways about it - we need to use less water! And many of us who have grown up in California remember experiencing previous droughts, so it comes more natural to us to think about conserving (you remember the rhyme: If it's yellow, let it mellow...) A few ideas to help conserve water: Less baths, more quick showers (and if you do decide on a bath, make sure you reclaim your gray [...]


Spring Cleaning Checklist

We are a few weeks into spring and that means it’s a great time for thinking about spring cleaning and home maintenance. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure your home is running efficiently: If you have solar panels, make sure they’re nice and clean and that there isn't any debris collecting on them (if you need them cleaned, we can help!) Prune any overgrown trees or shrubbery that could be blocking the sun from fully reaching your panels. Check around window trim and doors for any water damage and replace soft or cracked wood. Make sure weather stripping is intact to keep the heat in and the cold out. Caulk any exposed edges. Clean the inside of your windows, [...]


Should I Wait for Solar Power Technology to Improve?

Should I wait? That is what most people ask themselves when thinking about whether or not they should switch to solar. However, the real question they should be asking themselves is: how soon do I want to start saving money? Installing solar power on your home is one step further into the renewable energy direction and also one step closer to keeping your wallet full. But is current solar technology good enough to use now or should you wait until newer technology comes out? We’ll answer your question with a more important one: why wait? Why the hesitation when solar can be saving you money? There will always be newer technology and newer versions of everything, from computers to toasters, so you may [...]


Can I Fix a Cracked Solar Panel?

Unfortunately, you cannot fix a cracked solar panel. Although there are many internet sites that claim you can, the chemical reactions that occur within the photovoltaic panels we install on your home require properly and completely sealed cells to allow for maximum performance of your system. Once moisture enters your panel after it has cracked, it is: 1. Unlikely able to be removed completely and 2. Can lead to possible corrosion within the panel and even further damage to your system. Prevention and maintenance of your solar panels is key to maximizing benefits when using solar power to avoiding unfix-able damage. Keeping your panels clean is a good idea that helps ensure that the greatest amount of light can be [...]


Can Solar Panels Work at Night?

During the day, the sun shines brightly and solar panels get busy absorbing rays and generating electricity. But what happens when the sun goes down? Can solar panels work at night? Even though solar panels are not actively producing much at night (maybe just a little bit if the moon is bright enough), appliances are still getting power in your home. How? Your home is connected to a utility grid. Think of the grid like a giant bank that you can draw power from or even deposit power to from your solar power system. During the day, extra power that your system produces but doesn’t use gets sent back into the electric grid that everyone shares. Your utility company will [...]


Who Uses Solar Power?

No matter how old you are or where you live, everyone uses electricity. And chances are you’re already using solar power in some aspect of your life. Calculators, cell phone chargers – the uses for solar power are endless. But are you using solar power all the ways you could be? How can solar work for me? When you get a solar power system installed on your home, gone will be the days of chasing the kids (or your partner!) around the house, turning the lights and appliances off. Or even worrying about running your air conditioning on those hot, summer days. The great thing about solar is that it gives you the freedom of using power whenever you need to [...]


Solar Production During Winter

February was a busy month for solar! We don’t usually have as much sun as we’ve been having this far into winter – but due to the drought, it’s meant drier weather for more installations. And it’s not just California solar that’s been growing like crazy. A recent report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that renewable energy provided 99% of all new US electrical generating capacity for January 2014. And solar led the way with 287MW of new generating capacity installed. But what about all of the extra sun we’ve been enjoying? How does this winter's solar production compare to last year's? We took a cross section of our customers’ data to see just what kind of impact [...]


Adding Solar Panels to an Existing System

We are asked fairly often: Can I add more panels to my system down the road? How difficult is it to upgrade? There are many factors to consider in upgrading a system. Panel size, inverter capacity, and space are going to be the biggest deciders. As far as possible, stick with the same manufacturer. But since brands come and go, it isn't unheard of to mix and match components – as long as the voltage is compatible and can be balanced it can generally work. Not the best scenario, but if options are limited as far as what’s available, it is possible. However, if the panels are too unbalanced, they will only perform as good as the lowest wattage panels. [...]