California is setting the pace for converting to solar energy in the U.S., but some parts of the Golden State lean more toward solar than others. So, what are the top cities for solar in California?
According to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), California is the top state for solar installation in the U.S., producing nearly 45% of the country's estimated small-scale residential solar energy generation in 2019. Additionally, the total solar investment in the state topped $73.7 billion through the first quarter of 2021.
In this article, we'll break down which California cities are at the forefront of that charge.
Top 10 Cities for Solar in California
When ranking the top cities for solar in California, we considered sources including EIA data on solar power generation; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's annual solar irradiance report and Solar For All maps; and Environment America's latest Shining Cities report.
Based on the data we collected, the following cities are leading the solar charge in California:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- San Bernardino
- Palm Springs
1. Los Angeles
The City of Angels leads the U.S. in total installed solar PV capacity. According to Environment America, the city has a total installed capacity of 483.8 megawatts, which is enough clean energy to power 134,000 homes and eliminate 280,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. For perspective, that would be like taking more than 60,000 gas-fueled cars off the road.
2. San Diego
Known as one of the most moderate and pleasant climates in the country, there is a reason why San Diego is No. 2 on our list of top cities for solar in California. With consistent sunshine year-round, this city is an attractive location for homes to have solar panels, which explains why it has the second-most total installed solar PV capacity of any place in the U.S., right behind LA.
3. San Jose
Ranking at No. 3 within the state and No. 7 in the nation, San Jose residents have embraced solar energy. Not only is solar cleaner than traditional energy offerings from the leading local utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), but it is also cheaper. Plus, since summers are long, arid, warm and mostly clear, the city is ideally suited to truly harness the power of solar.
As the capital of California, the majority of renewable energy policy comes out of this city, so it's no shock Sacramento has landed itself a spot on our top 10 list. The state also ranks No. 16 in the country for total installed solar PV capacity, likely due in part to the city's Mediterranean-like climate with plentiful sunshine, dry summers and mild winters.
5. San Francisco
Currently, San Francisco is pursuing the robust goal of achieving a 100% renewable energy supply by 2030. And while most people associate San Francisco as an area besieged by fog, the City by the Bay actually became the first major locale to mandate rooftop solar panels on any newly constructed building.
Located in California's Central Valley, Fresno is popular for its agricultural prowess and its extensive farmland. One reason this area is so prosperous in fruit and vegetable production is that sunlight abounds, which also makes the city well-positioned to benefit from solar energy. In fact, according to NREL maps, it has one of the highest potentials for residential solar capacity in the state.
7. San Bernardino
Saddled due east of Los Angeles alongside one of the most famous roads in the U.S. — Route 66 — San Bernardino is known for its wealth of water, contained in underground aquifers. But it also has plenty of sun. What's more, NREL maps show the area has an above-average number of buildings suitable for solar installation.
Southeast of San Bernardino is Riverside. The city is known for its robust citrus industry and was built around the production of the sweet and zesty navel orange. Sunshine lends its hand to the growing of this delicious fruit, which explains why Riverside takes its place in the top 20 solar cities in the nation and the top 10 in California.
9. Palm Springs
Recognized as the Golf Capital of the World, Palm Springs offers visitors and residents alike abundant sunshine year-round. Of course, some seasons in Palm Springs are easier to manage than others. As Palm Springs is in the desert, the hot sun bakes the area during summertime. While the heat can be brutal, the upside is that residents can save big on utility bills by turning the sun's energy into usable electricity for their homes.
Just north of Los Angeles, Bakersfield soaks up the Southern California sunshine year-round. In fact, the city boasts an average of 272 sunny days throughout the year. Thus, the city's potential for solar energy generation is sky high, as shown on NREL's Solar For All maps.
Where Solar Panels Work Best
Overall, cities that are well-suited for solar energy typically share a few commonalities. Firstly, for solar power to be advantageous, the region must receive plentiful sunlight. In California, sunshine prevails throughout most of the year; this explains why the Golden State is a leader when it comes to having so many solar energy-producing cities.
What's more is that energy costs tend to be significant in California, which gives residents more benefit when considering switching to solar energy. Ultimately, when energy costs are high, solar power value is enhanced. Where electrical costs are moderate, homeowners don't get as large a return on their solar energy investment.
Average California Electricity Costs
According to the EIA, the average monthly electric bill for a California resident is $101.92, with average monthly consumption totaling 532 kWh. The price per kilowatt equals 19.15 cents. When compared to other states in the Pacific Contiguous region, California tops both Oregon and Washington. However, it falls under the national average of $115.49 per month.
California Solar Tax Incentives
When deciding whether solar panels are worth it for your home, you should be aware of the tax credits, rebates and other financial incentives offered by both California and the federal government. Golden State homeowners may be eligible for the following incentives:
|California Solar Incentive||Details|
|Local Solar Rebate||Across the state, homeowners have access to rebates that pay either up to $500 total or $0.95 per watt of installed solar capacity.|
|Net Metering Program||California homeowners can sell any excess solar power generated by their systems back to their utility company (excluding customers of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power).|
|Disadvantaged Communities — Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH)||
This program provides upfront rebates to single-family homeowners living in one of the state's top 25% most disadvantaged communities. Participants must meet income qualifications and be a customer of either Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
Federal Solar Tax Credits
No matter where you might happen to live across the U.S., all Americans can receive a 26% federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). This is one of the key incentives for going solar and can be combined with California's statewide incentives to help homeowners save even more on the cost of solar panels.
California Solar Regulations
In 2018, an important solar mandate was introduced in California. It requires solar photovoltaic system installation on all new single-family homes built in 2020 and beyond. It also requires that multi-family homes such as condos and apartments up to three stories high have solar systems installed.
Specific requirements are based on the state's climate zones as well as homes' floor areas. There are also a few exceptions to the mandate — for instance, if the property is heavily shaded or if the roof is too small to accommodate solar panels.
Final Thoughts: Top Cities for Solar in California
Solar energy presents an incredible opportunity for homeowners, including the ability to lower electric bills, reduce their impact on the environment and become less dependent on traditional utilities and forms of energy. With that being said, it is also true that certain areas of the country offer greater prospects for solar when compared to others — and the Golden State certainly stands apart in that category.
The higher cost of electricity, as well as usage within the state, makes California well-positioned to receive optimal solar benefits. If you didn't see your city on this list (and even if you did), there are plenty of ways individuals can push for more solar power in their areas. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Solar energy systems for homes and businesses have become very popular in many parts of the world. However, there are also solar panels for camping and other off-grid situations, which can be taken on trips and used virtually anywhere the sun shines. This is much easier than traveling with a heavy diesel generator, which can run out of fuel when you're in the middle of nature.
In this article, we will review the best solar panels for camping in 2021 based on a detailed comparison of technical specifications, costs, durability and more.
The 5 Best Solar Panels for Camping
To narrow down our list of the best solar panels for camping, we looked at the industry's top products and ranked them based on factors including durability, ease of setup, charge time, run time, portability, total power output and cost. Based on our findings, these are the five top portable solar panels for camping on the market:
|Best Solar Panels for Camping||Our Award||Buy Now|
|FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank||Best Overall||Check Price|
|Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger||Best Pocket Solar Charger||Check Price|
|Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel||Best Folding Panel||Check Price|
|Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel||Best for Long-Term Camping||Check Price|
|Renogy PHOENIX Power Station||Best Camping Power Station||Check Price|
Below we will compare the main features and specifications of each portable solar panel system, along with its pros and cons.
Best Overall: FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank
The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank has four panels that can generate 6W of solar power and fold down to a size slightly larger than a smartphone. There is a built-in lithium battery with a capacity of 25000 milliamp-hours (mAh), which is enough for around eight smartphone charges, with a charging time of about an hour. The device has dual USB ports to charge two devices at once, and it recharges its own battery at the same time when the solar panel is unfolded and in direct sunlight.
The FEELLE Power Bank has a tough waterproof enclosure, so you don't have to worry if it gets wet. It also comes with a powerful LED light built-in, which can be used as a flashlight after dusk, and protection against common electrical faults: overcharge, overvoltage, overcurrent and short circuit.
Even with all of these features, the charger only weighs 1.18 lbs, making it one of the best solar panels for camping trips and other outdoor activities.
- Foldable, lightweight and compact
- Waterproof and durable housing
- The 25000 mAh lithium battery can recharge smartphones several times
- Includes electrical protection
- Cannot power larger devices — designed for smartphone and tablet charging only
- The lithium battery bank is vulnerable to high temperatures
Best Pocket Solar Charger: Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger
The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger is similar to the FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank, having dual USB ports and a built-in LED flashlight. The main difference is that the Power Bank unfolds into four panels (6W), while the Portable Solar Charger uses a single panel with a capacity of 1.5W.
The Portable Solar Charger has a 20000 mAh lithium battery pack, capable of providing four to six smartphone charges, and it can recharge itself and your phone at the same time when placed in sunlight. This device has an IP67 enclosure, which offers protection against dust and water splashes. It has a weight of only 1 lb while measuring about 7 inches by 3.5 inches.
- Compact and lightweight enough for backpacking
- Dust-tight and waterproof IP67 enclosure
- 4-6 smartphone charges with the 20000 mAh battery
- Capable of fast charging
- CE and ETL electrical safety certifications
- Not designed to power larger devices — only smartphones, tablets and its own LED light
- Low solar panel capacity (1.5W). The battery recharges quickly with a power outlet, but it needs 45 hours to recharge from 50% to 100% with sunlight alone.
Best Folding Panel: Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel
The Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel can unfold into a 30-watt power source, and it converts 22-25% of sunlight into electricity, matching the high-efficiency performance of the best home solar panels. This portable solar panel can recharge a cellphone or action camera in two to four hours, and a tablet in four to six hours. It can charge three devices at once thanks to its triple USB port.
This portable solar panel comes with a 25-year power production warranty and a 5-year material and workmanship warranty. It weighs only 1.6 lbs and measures a compact 12 inches by 6 inches when folded.
- Lightweight and water-resistant design
- Can generate up to 30W of power
- Charges a smartphone or camera in two to four hours
- CE and ETL electrical safety certifications
- No battery, so it can only charge devices while it's in direct sunlight
- Only designed for mobile device charging; does not power large devices like laptops
- Vulnerable to piercing and squashing, so must be handled with care
Why Buy: The Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel has the same efficiency as the best rooftop solar panels while being lightweight and foldable. It can charge up to three devices at once.
Best for Long-Term Camping: Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel
The Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel is designed for long periods in the wilderness. This is a tough and durable solar panel, with an aluminum frame, a tempered glass covering and a kickstand for easy setup. When combined with a portable power station, it can provide electricity for many types of devices, from phones to laptops to even mini-fridges.
The Boulder 50W solar panel has monocrystalline solar cells, which are the most efficient solar panel cells, and three units can be connected to generate up to 150W of power. Each panel has a weight of 12.4 lbs while measuring roughly 22 inches by 27 inches.
- Heavy-duty battery charger with an aluminum frame and tempered glass covering
- Can generate up to 50W of power, or up to 150W by connecting three panels
- Larger and heavier than other solar panels for camping
- Requires a chargeable power station and is not designed to connect devices directly
- Due to its rigid enclosure, it cannot be folded
Why Buy: The Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel is a reliable electricity source for long-term camping, thanks to its tough construction and high power output.
Best Camping Power Station: Renogy PHOENIX Power Station
The Renogy PHOENIX Power Station can power electronics and small appliances, delivering up to 200W in total. The Power Station is compatible with many types of devices, thanks to its multiple outputs: 110V AC, 12V DC, 3x USB-A ports, a USB-C port and a CIG port.
The Power Station has a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 17500 mAh and two LED flashlights. Its total weight is 4.6 lbs while measuring roughly 7 by 6 by 5.6 inches. The Power Station can be charged with a wall outlet, car socket or solar panel. When combined with a 50-watt solar panel, the unit recharges in seven hours.
- Provides up to 200W of power
- Compatible with many types of devices (USB, 12V DC, 110V AC)
- Recharges with wall power, car socket or at least 30W solar panel
- Includes a 17500 mAh lithium-ion battery
- Compact design
- CE and ETL electrical safety certifications
- Depends on an external solar panel or other power source to recharge
- When used at full power (200W), its charge is depleted in less than one hour.
Why Buy: The Renogy PHOENIX Power Station provides up to 200W of energy, and it can power many types of devices — USB, 12V DC and even 110V AC.
Why Get Camping Solar Panels?
Portable solar panels for camping make trips safer, since they can be used to recharge smartphones and emergency devices when you're off the grid. Many of them have built-in LED flashlights, which are useful at night, and larger models can power small 110V appliances.
Diesel generators can also be used for this purpose, but they have several disadvantages: they're loud, they're polluting, they can be dangerous and you must also carry their fuel. On the other hand, solar panels are completely silent, which means they will not disrupt the natural environment. They also run with a free resource that is found everywhere.
Types of Solar Panels for Camping
Solar panels for camping can be classified into two main types:
- Stand-alone solar panels generate electricity but do not store it. They can be used to charge devices directly when sunlight is available, or they can be used to charge an external power station. Some of them are foldable, while others have a rigid construction.
- Solar panels with built-in batteries can store electric charge, which means they don't depend on an external power station. These panels are generally smaller than stand-alone units, since high-capacity batteries are heavy. When you need more solar battery capacity, a rechargeable power station with external panels is easier to handle.
Cost of Portable Solar Panels for Camping
The cost of solar panels for camping depends on many factors, especially wattage. For example, you may find pocket solar panels below 10W for less than $40, but you can expect to pay over $100 for a larger panel with an output over 30W. Things like durability and sunlight conversion efficiency also affect the price of portable solar panels.
Additionally, there are larger systems available, and prices increase accordingly. For example, if you're looking for a 1,500-watt power station with its own solar panels for recharging, the price can exceed $2,000. This may sound expensive, but it can be well worth it if you're using solar panels for RV camping or need a reliable long-term setup.
How to Choose the Right Solar Panels for Your Camp Setup
Any solar expert will agree that purchasing the right product is key — this applies for both portable solar generators and fixed installations. When comparing solar panels for camping, you should look for products that are durable and easy to use. Since you're dealing with electricity, safety is also important — the risk of electric shock is higher when using low-quality solar panels.
The following are some other important factors you should consider before purchasing portable solar panels for camping:
- Size and weight: Solar panels with a higher wattage can power more devices, but they are also larger and heavier. Carrying a larger system is viable if you take your car, but a lightweight and foldable solar panel is a better option when hiking.
- Design: Before purchasing a portable solar power system, make sure it has the right connectors and wattage for the devices you want to use.
- Portability and ease of setup: Compact solar panels are lightweight and easy to use, but most are limited to smartphone charging and LED lighting. Chargeable power stations with larger panels require more work to set up, but they also provide more electricity.
- Durability: If your portable solar panels will be exposed to dust and water, you must look for a product with a suitable enclosure.
- Power output and amperage: Portable solar power systems should provide the voltage, current and wattage required by the devices you plan to use.
- Charge time and run time: There are two important charging times to consider when purchasing solar panels for camping: the time needed to charge your devices and the time needed to charge their own batteries. If you plan to go camping for several days, you need a solar panel system that can recharge daily with the available sunlight.
- Cost: As mentioned above, many factors determine the cost of portable solar panels for camping. With a higher budget, you can get more watts of solar power and more watt-hours of battery charge.
FAQ: Best Solar Panels for Camping
How many solar panels do I need for camping?
If you choose the right wattage and battery capacity, you only need to carry one or two solar panels. For example, you can look for a compact and foldable 6W panel that fits in your pocket, and it will produce enough power for your smartphone and an LED flashlight. On the other hand, a 50W panel produces enough electricity for several smartphones and small appliances.
What is the best solar panel for camping?
We picked the FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank as the Best Overall, since it unfolds into a 6W panel that meets the most important needs — smartphone charging and lighting. You will need a larger system if you want to use small appliances. For example, you can use the Renogy PHOENIX 200W Power Station with a 50W solar panel to power most camp amenities.
Are portable solar panels worth it?
Yes, portable solar panels are silent, safer and easier to use than diesel generators. In addition, there is no need to carry diesel when using solar panels. When compared with standalone power banks, the advantage is that they can be recharged over and over again without a wall outlet.
How do you use solar panels while camping?
Solar panels for camping are designed to be user-friendly and can be set up without needing a professional electrician. The smallest foldable panels fit in your pocket or backpack, and you can simply unfold them and connect your smaller devices. On the other hand, larger panels are normally connected to a portable power station, which includes connectors for many types of larger devices and appliances.
Medically reviewed by Anna H. Chacon, M.D.
From eating foods for healthy skin to switching up your morning and routines, taking care of the largest organ in the body can get overwhelming. Recently, vitamin C has grown in popularity in the skincare world — but do the best vitamin C serums live up to the hype?
Vitamin C is not only an essential supplement for your immune system and overall health, but it's also a great skincare ingredient that can help limit inflammation, brighten skin, dull fine lines and wrinkles, fight free radicals, and reduce discoloration and dark spots.
Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine seems like a no-brainer, but before you start shopping for a serum, it's important to be aware that vitamin C is an unstable ingredient. Dermatologists say it's important to find legit and properly formulated vitamin C serums to capitalize on the benefits of the antioxidant. In this article, we'll help you find the right dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum to add to your routine.
Our Picks for the Best Vitamin C Serums of 2021
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
- Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
- Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
- Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
- Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Skincare Benefits of Vitamin C
Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is present in the formation of collagen and that protects against aging, according to Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist with MyPsoriasisTeam. A vitamin C serum may be a solid addition to your skincare routine because it has a great safety profile, and it's safe for most skin types.
"Vitamin C serum restores and neutralizes environmental stressors that accelerate signs of aging and can be used morning and evening," Dr. Chacon says. However, she warns, "it does not come with sun protection, so additional use of sunscreen is recommended."
As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects skin cells from being damaged by free radicals from things like UV exposure, vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke. It also hampers melanin production, which can help to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots and even out your skin tone.
6 Best Vitamin C Serums
Based on dermatologist recommendations and our market research, the following products are the best vitamin C serums available today.
Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
Our overall recommendation for the best vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. The product contains 10% vitamin C, which has anti-aging properties and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots by promoting collagen production. "I have this in my bathroom," Dr. Chacon says. "It is gentle and non-irritating, and it leaves your skin radiant afterward."
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with under 100 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Along with L-ascorbic acid, this serum includes ingredients like Coenzyme Q10 for multi-layer antioxidant protection and plant-derived squalane for added hydration. ZO Skin Health's products are all cruelty-free.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
Made with plant- and vitamin-derived antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides and CoQ10, Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum will help rejuvenate your skin. The formula fights dullness, enhances firmness and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with about 300 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This product is paraben-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free, as it's not tested on animals. The container is 100% recyclable through TerraCycle, and it's formulated and manufactured in the U.S.
Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid offers high value at a reasonable price. It is a hydrating vitamin C serum that's fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and budget-friendly to boot. The formula uses 10% pure vitamin C to prevent free radical damage as well as soothing vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to make the skin look smooth and create a moisture barrier for your skin.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 20,000 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Chacon calls CeraVe "a trusted, dermatologist-oriented brand" that comes at drugstore prices, so it's a great choice if you want to try out a budget-friendly vitamin C serum.
Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
Timeless Skin Care's vitamin C serum promotes healthy cell turnover to help minimize the effects of hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone. According to Dr. Chacon, "vitamin C, E and ferulic acid are all key ingredients that help to brighten skin, building up collagen and evening out tone." This product's formula is non-greasy and lightweight, so it absorbs quickly and clearly into the skin.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,700 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The Timeless Skin Care formula is paraben-free, synthetic dye-free, fragrance-free and polyethylene glycol-free. The company doesn't test on animals, and the product is made in the U.S. from natural ingredients. It's also part of the TerraCycle recycling program.
Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
Using dermatologist-approved ingredients, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is lightweight and helps to firm, smooth, and brighten the skin for a more youthful look. The formula utilizes 15% pure vitamin C as well as vitamin E and ferulic acid to protect against environmental damage from things like sunlight, ozone pollution and diesel engine exhaust. Plus, it helps firm the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Customer Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars with over 200 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is one of the best vitamin C serums for anti-aging purposes. It has an oil-like formulation that goes on smoothly and works effectively without clogging pores.
Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a topical form of vitamin C that's rich in antioxidants to target aging and brighten the skin. It uses a high concentration of L-ascorbic acid as well as hyaluronic acid spheres for skin hydration. The brightening serum helps enhance skin smoothness and radiance without being too harsh. However, to test skin sensitivity, it is always recommended to perform a patch test before a full application.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 4,500 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This vitamin C brightening serum is cruelty-free and vegan and does not contain alcohol, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, nuts, oil, silicone, parabens or sulfates. The moisturizing serum is good for all skin types, including acne-prone skin and dry skin.
FAQ: Best Vitamin C Serums
What vitamin C serum is the most effective?
Our top recommended vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. It is a dermatologist-approved antioxidant powerhouse, yet it is gentle, non-irritating and leaves you with glowing skin.
Should you use vitamin C serum every day?
Dermatologists recommend using vitamin C serum either every day or every other day. After you cleanse and tone your face, use your vitamin c product before applying moisturizer and reef-safe sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Does vitamin C serum really work?
According to dermatologists, the best vitamin C serums work to protect against skin aging. However, if you do not purchase a doctor-recommended product, you run the risk of wasting your money on a low-concentration serum that won't give you any benefits.
What are the drawbacks of vitamin C serums?
Many vitamin C serums on the market, especially cheaper products, have nearly immeasurable concentrations of antioxidants, which makes them ineffective. Additionally, as with any skincare product, some individuals may have reactions to vitamin C serums including itchiness and redness.
Anna H. Chacon, M.D. is a dermatologist and author originally from Miami, Florida. She has authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and has been published in JAAD, Archives of Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology and Cutis.
Solar phone chargers are a great way to keep your phone juiced on the go. But many solar phone chargers don't stop there: Units with larger panels and higher-capacity batteries are capable of charging cameras, GPS units, tablets and even computers, too.
Most solar-powered phone chargers incorporate integrated batteries and small solar panels with one or more ports for charging your gear. They're hardy, portable and affordable. And best of all, you can feel good about the eco-friendly mobility they'll give you on your next adventure.
In this article, we'll break down the top 5 best solar phone chargers available in 2021.
5 Best Solar Phone Chargers
We narrowed down the best solar phone chargers on the market based on criteria including durability, power output, portability, design, functionality, extra features and cost.
Each of the products listed below provided good value for the price and would be a great choice for powering up your iPhone or Android using solar energy.
|Best Solar Phone Charger||Our Award||Buy Now|
|Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger||Best Overall||Check Price|
|FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank||Runner Up||Check Price|
|Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel||Best Low-Profile Panel||Check Price|
|Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel||Best Solar Charger for Hiking||Check Price|
|Blavor Solar Power Bank||Best Charger Under $30||Check Price|
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Best Overall: Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger
The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger boasts a powerful 10000mAh battery to keep your gear going longer. Its water-resistant exterior and built-in flashlight give you peace of mind in any conditions, anywhere.
- IPX4-rated weather and dust sealing
- Efficient solar panel
- Multi-mode built-in flashlight
- 2 USB outputs
- Battery level indicator
- Quality build
- A bit heavy for backpacking
- Solar panel only powerful enough for trickle charging battery
- Long solar charging time
- Not best-in-class battery capacity
Why Buy: The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger is the perfect companion for off-grid, on-the-go applications where you need rugged and reliable power. With effective weather-sealing, dual USB charging ports and a carabiner, you'll have enough juice to power your small electronics on a backcountry camping trip or wherever your adventures take you.
Runner Up: FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank
The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank has a powerful 25000mAh battery powered by four solar panels, nearly the equivalent of a 5-watt wall charger. The panels fold neatly over the battery for compact storage, and the water-resistant cover gives you peace-of-mind when encountering adverse weather.
- High-capacity solar battery
- Multiple panels allow simultaneous device charging when in direct sunlight
- Dual USB outputs
- Weather-resistant cover
- Built-in flashlight
- Battery level indicator
- Solar charge indicator
- A bit heavy and bulky for backpacking
- Large footprint when unfolded
- Long solar charging time
- Build quality lacking
Why Buy: The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank is a great option for those needing more battery capacity with simultaneous solar charging. Like most solar panel chargers of this size, it takes a while to get a full charge from the panels and it's a bit on the heavy side. But for the price and features, the FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank is well-deserved as our pick for runner-up.
Best Low-Profile Panel: Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel
The highly efficient Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel provides best-in-class charging speeds. Three large solar panels provide an impressive 22% to 25% energy conversion rate and clock out at 21 watts. Two USB outputs allow charging to multiple batteries or devices at once. While not intended for strapping to a backpack for mobile charging, it's light enough to pack in a backpack or camera bag or strap to a kayak or use as an RV solar panel.
- More than enough capacity to quickly charge phones and small electronic devices
- Generous wattage
- Good build quality
- iSolar Technology provides fast charging and prevents overheating
- Relatively fast charge rate
- A bit heavy
- Large footprint
- Batteries and charge controllers not included
- A bit pricey
Why Buy: If you need a foldable solar panel to charge your devices at basecamp, the Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel is tough to beat. It's the perfect portable solution for quickly charging devices, cameras, and even laptops in off-grid situations.
Best Solar Charger for Hiking: Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel
The Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel provides low-profile, intuitive solar charging. Featuring two solar panels with a combined 10W of power, it provides ample capacity to charge cell phones, GPS units, camera batteries and more. A built-in kickstand allows optimal positioning, and its efficient design makes it small enough to strap to a bag for charging on-the-go. An integrated USB port charges phones, external battery banks, and other small devices.
- Built-in kickstand for multiple angles and optimal exposure
- Easily straps to backpack or tent
- Integrated USB ports
- Rugged and well-built
- Slower charging rate than other panels
- Batteries and charge controllers not included
Why Buy: Goal Zero has established itself as a leader in portable solar solutions. While it's not the largest portable solar panel out there, the Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel hits the sweet spot between portability, versatility and capacity. If you need relatively fast charging for small electronics on your next outdoor adventure, this is the panel for you.
Best Charger Under $30: Blavor Solar Power Bank
For a budget option, we've placed the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank as our top pick. The generous battery capacity is enough for multiple cell phone charges, and the solar panel offers trickle charging when the sun is shining. A useful dual LED flashlight, compass and Qi wireless charging make the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank an attractive solar phone charger.
- Generous battery capacity
- IPX4 rated weather and dust sealing
- Built-in dual flashlights
- Dual USB outputs
- Battery level indicator
- Compass strap
- Qi wireless charging
- Great customer service
- Small single solar panel only offers trickle charging
- Very long solar recharge times
Why Buy: While not the fastest solar charger out there, the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank is a steady performer nonetheless. Whether charging from a wall or trickle charging with the solar panel, the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank is loaded with impressive features you might not expect at this price point.
How Do Solar Phone Chargers Work?
For those looking for a sun-powered adventure, the heart of a solar phone charger is the solar panel itself, which works exactly the same way as a larger rooftop panel does.
Solar panels convert the energy of photons (light particles) into electricity, a process called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a solar panel, its energy causes electrons to flow throughout the solar cells, producing an electric current to charge devices or batteries.
All solar panels produce direct current (DC) energy, which can be used to charge small battery-powered devices like cell phones and computers. Solar panels for homes and businesses must be converted to alternating current (AC), which requires an inverter.
Lack of inverters and small panel sizes make solar phone chargers a compact and efficient way to charge DC electronics.
Types of Solar Phone Chargers
Just like there are different types of solar panels for homes, there are different types of solar phone chargers.
Standalone panels: These solar phone chargers consist of one or more panels with built-in charge ports (usually USB ports). They're great if you need a large amount of energy for quick charging or powering larger devices. The downside to standalone panels is that they lack integrated batteries, so you can only charge your devices when the panels are in direct sunlight. They also tend to be on the large side. But if you need more power than a smaller charger can provide, standalone panels are the best option.
Solar battery banks: Solar chargers with a built-in battery are handy for carrying a reliable, portable charge wherever you go. The most common variants include a small solar panel atop a battery, but some options include fold-out panels for better capacity and faster charging. Aside from some notable exceptions, most solar battery banks take days to fully charge via sunshine alone, and almost none of them will charge your cell phone and the internal battery simultaneously. If you prioritize a rechargeable battery with solar backup, solar battery banks are a good option.
How Much Do Solar Phone Chargers Cost?
Solar phone charger costs vary depending on type, capacity, quality and features. The best solar phone chargers balance quality, performance and price, ranging from $30 for basic solar battery bank chargers to $150 for standalone solar phone charger kits.
Choosing the Best Solar Phone Charger for Your Needs and Budget
Now that you know how solar panels work to charge your phone and some of the best solar phone charger models available, you may be wondering how to narrow down the right product for you. Here are some things to consider when making your purchase:
Design and Size
You'll probably want to take your solar phone charger on the go, so think about the following:
- How will you be transporting your charger?
- How much weight can you handle?
- Do you need to charge while moving or stationary?
In addition, look for other features that might come in handy, such as:
- Carabiners, D-rings and anchor points to attach the solar panel to a tent or backpack
- Number of USB ports to charge multiple devices at once
Keep in mind that the greater the number of features, the larger (and sometimes more expensive) the unit will be.
How much power a unit can produce and store may be the most important factor to consider when buying a solar cell phone charger. A high-amperage battery will provide more charges for your devices but will take more solar input to charge. If you're going to rely on the sun to provide all of your power, prioritize high-output solar panels capable of quickly charging your electronics. If you just need a high-capacity battery with the option for solar trickle charging, a smaller solar battery bank could be a good fit.
Because they're portable, choose a durable solar-powered phone charger to stand up to the wear-and-tear of travelling and outdoor activity. The best solar phone chargers are rugged and dependable, featuring weather-sealing and robust construction.
All solar phone chargers are portable, at least in the technical sense. But there are degrees of portability depending on your needs. Ranging from somewhat heavy multi-panels requiring stationary placement to simple units you can strap to your pack, there's a unit for everyone, from trail runners to off-grid nomads. Just remember that with greater portability often comes sacrifice in other features, especially panel output.
Many solar chargers for phones feature more than just charging, with integrated LED flashlights, backup batteries, charge indicators, carabiners, compass straps and more. While these can be nice, don't let extra features distract from what really matters: Staying powered when you need it most.
Finally, there's cost. While none of our top picks will break the bank, some are undoubtedly pricier than others. It's best to save up for a costlier unit if you absolutely need its functions, but if you only need a battery with solar backup, there are plenty of budget-friendly options out there.
FAQ: Solar Phone Charger
Are solar chargers for phones any good?
Solar phone chargers are great for powering devices in off-grid situations. They can be used over and over again without having to be plugged into an outlet to recharge like standard battery banks.
How long does it take to charge a phone with a solar charger?
The time it takes to charge a phone with a solar charger will depend on the output of the battery and the amperage of your phone's battery. Some battery chargers can fully charge a phone in as little as 90 minutes, but others may take up to four hours.
What are the best solar power chargers?
We rated the Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger and FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank as our top two picks for the best solar power chargers. These models are rugged and dependable enough to charge your devices anywhere you go.
How do I choose a solar cell phone charger?
Key factors to consider when choosing a solar cell phone charger include design features like number of charge ports, size/weight, power output, durability, portability, extra features, and cost.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.
Solar energy has been among the fastest-growing sources of power generation in the U.S. in recent years, catapulting from 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of generation in 2010 to over 90.1 billion kWh in 2020. While that's still just a small slice of the overall energy mix (2% of all U.S. electricity in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the rate of growth is accelerating. The EIA forecasts that by 2022, solar capacity installations will outpace wind capacity installations for the first time on record after wind turbines had a huge head start.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn of 2020 led to equipment shortages and other hardships for the solar industry. However, forecasts show the industry is primed for a resurgence in 2021 and beyond. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, solar installations are ramping up at a record pace and experienced a 46% year-over-year increase compared with the first quarter of 2020.
As 2021 continues to look like a prime year for solar power in the United States, which states are leading the charge? We can look to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report® from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for some answers.
Top 10 States for Solar Energy
The Solar Market Insight Report included a ranking of the top states across the country based on the total amount of solar electric capacity installed and in operation as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. To put it into context, SEIA figures also include the equivalent number of homes that can be powered by that solar capacity in the individual state.
Here are the current leaders for solar power in the U.S.:
|State||Cumulative Solar Capacity (Megawatts)||Equivalent Number of Homes Supplied by Solar Energy|
On this leaderboard, some states show up that would be expected — California has long been the solar king, and they don't call Florida the Sunshine State for nothing — while other states represent surprising emerging solar hotbeds. For example, you may be surprised to see some smaller, northeastern states like Massachusetts and New Jersey beating out the field. But these results go to show it's not just about land space and the natural sunshine; the policies and economics driving these installations are just as impactful.
2021 Top States for New Solar Installation
With the solar market really exploding in recent years, traditional solar stalwarts like Arizona and Nevada are being actively challenged by some emerging contenders.
Specifically looking at where solar installations were most active during the first quarter of 2021, the SEIA report finds the following were the top states for solar installations from January through March:
On top, Texas added 1,525 megawatts (MW) of capacity, which is equivalent to 45% of the capacity installed in the state during all of 2020 and represents 16% of the state's cumulative capacity to date. California added 563 MW of capacity, equivalent to 14% of the capacity installed in 2020 and 2% of the state's cumulative capacity. Florida added 525 MW of capacity, which is 19% of the capacity installed during 2020 and 7% of the state's total capacity.
Compare the above list with the top 5 states for solar installations for all of 2020:
- North Carolina
A few compelling trends become evident when looking at the above numbers. First, it's never too late to become a solar leader. While Florida is in the top five of cumulative capacity today, and given its sunny reputation that result may not seem surprising, the truth is that 47% of that capacity has been added since the beginning of 2020. In just over a years' time, Florida nearly doubled its total solar capacity.
Another important trend to recognize is that geography alone doesn't decide whether a state will be a solar leader. Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia and North Carolina or Midwestern states like Indiana wouldn't necessarily be the first most would guess as being solar powerhouses, but thanks to policies like North Carolina's generous Solar Property Tax Exemption, Virginia's allowance for net metering and Indiana's solar easement laws, residents of these states are enjoying solar power on their homes in record numbers.
Where Does Your State Rank for New Solar Installation?
So, are you living in a state that's leading the way on solar or one that has some ground to make up? Factors to consider when looking at why some states are making more progress than others will include the types of policies in place, the availability of rooftops on which solar can be installed, the appetite for new energy generation and even the state's seasonal solar irradiance.
Taking all of those factors into account, here's where each state stands in SEIA's recently published rankings:
Here's how each state's Q1 2021 ranking compares to how it ranked for total solar installations in 2020:
for Q1 2021
for Total 2020
|Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories||25||33|
Seeing some states jump up or down the list from one year to the next may seem drastic, but keep in mind that certain tax incentives expire, new policies come into play and other market forces affect local solar industries. That reality underscores the point that being a solar-leading state takes continued commitment, and doing so can happen at any point state leaders decide to truly embrace the solar industry.
The Future of Residential Solar
As the Solar Market Insight Report indicates, solar energy is a hot and growing market. To date, though, solar still only provides a fraction of the total energy generated in the U.S. While some customers, buildings and regions see much higher penetration of solar into their power mix on a micro level, there's much improvement still on the way, especially as dirtier energy sources like coal continue to retire.
The recent SEIA report shows that it's a constant push and pull as well, as residential solar installations in the second quarter of 2021 were down 8% from the fourth quarter of 2020 but up 11% from the first quarter of 2020. The fact remains, though, that residential solar had its largest first quarter on record and its second-largest quarter of all at the beginning of 2021. These results signal a growing solar market, especially in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.
Additionally, customer appetite for residential solar is as strong as ever: 19% year-over-year growth is expected to get the residential market to a total of 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the end of 2021, a sum that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. Indeed, the future remains bright for residential solar.
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By Tara Lohan
The Biden administration greenlighted a major new solar development in May. The Crimson Solar Project will stretch across 2,500 acres of public lands in the desert of Southern California and provide enough electricity to power 85,000 homes.
The 350-megawatt photovoltaic facility takes the country another step toward meeting the administration's stated goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions in half in the next 10 years. A White House statement in April proclaimed that when it comes to tackling climate change, "The United States is not waiting, the costs of delay are too great, and our nation is resolved to act now."
Already Biden's team has approved the first utility-scale offshore wind project in the Atlantic and taken a big step in the more complicated effort to develop wind energy in the Pacific Ocean's deeper waters.
Expect the pace of new renewable energy projects — including utility-scale solar like Crimson — to continue to accelerate. That's a good thing — except when this urgency collides with the glacially slow pace of life in desert ecosystems that haven't experienced much previous construction, roads or other development. There, researchers say, we may need to proceed with more caution and more information.
"In the desert, you're really talking about going into an undeveloped ecosystem," says Steven Grodsky, assistant unit leader of the USGS New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and a professor at Cornell University. "And anytime you have a major disturbance in an ecosystem that has a generally low frequency of natural disturbance, you might shake things up a bit."
Grodsky and colleagues have spent years researching how solar projects could affect soil, plants and animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Some of that research has been published, more is forthcoming, and much, much more is still needed to better understand how the region's ecosystems will fare.
"All of those [greenhouse gas reduction] goals entail really aggressive buildouts of renewable energy, which is a great thing in the sense that we can supplant and displace fossil fuels," he says. "But that also gives us an opportunity to be able to guide the sustainable development of these renewables."
And to do that, we'll need to better understand how solar developments may affect various plants and animals.
Long-lived and slow-moving, the desert tortoise is perhaps the poster child for the pace of life in the desert — and an example of the threats that disturbances can cause.
Road-building, urban development, livestock grazing and off-road vehicles have devastated the tortoises, which spend a large chunk of their 80-year lifespan in burrows. The combination of threats has led to the Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) being listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
A Mojave Desert tortoise. USFWS
Now more solar development, and the bulldozers and fences that come with it, have added another threat. And it's one that will be felt by more than just tortoises. The area is also home to burrowing owls, kit foxes, desert iguanas, kangaroo rats, and hundreds of rare plant species.
Grodsky is currently conducting a study on federal land run by the Bureau of Land Management in the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone, an area designated for large-scale solar development about 250 miles east of Los Angeles in the Sonoran Desert. "We are working to get a better understanding of how the solar facilities might affect animal movement and their use of corridors," he says. "So things like desert kit foxes, coyotes, bobcats, badgers."
He and colleagues have already been studying the interactions between pollinators and plants, including queen butterflies (Danaus gilippus) and Mojave milkweed (Asclepias nyctaginifolia), in other areas with solar developments.
"What we found so far is that solar development is likely affecting soils, which is in turn affecting where and how Mojave milkweed can grow, which is affecting butterfly species that lay eggs on, and have caterpillars that eat, Mojave milkweed," he explains.
A lot of the research is ongoing, and findings are preliminary, but one thing is clear already: Disturbing desert soils is a big deal.
"If you disrupt soils and then remove vegetation, that can have effects on ecosystems," he says. "The more intensive the disturbance of desert soils and plants, you're really opening up an opportunity for invasive species colonization." So solar developments could stamp out native plants and also cause invasive ones to proliferate.
How the sites are prepared for development can make a difference in the ecological impacts. Some sites are bulldozed. That's the worst-case scenario for all native plants.
Other times plants are mowed, which can be less disruptive. But it really depends on what's growing.
Cacti and Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) respond poorly to both those scenarios. "In our study, we found seven years after site preparation they hadn't recovered," says Grodsky. Creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata), however, appear to grow back after they're mowed, but it takes a while. Again, desert life is slow.
Site preparation isn't the only factor that can affect soil and plants. A study led by Karen Tanner of the University of California, Santa Cruz examined how the shade and runoff from solar panels affect common and rare plant species. The seven-year investigation found that in good rainfall years the shade suppressed plant growth for the rare Barstow woolly sunflower (Eriophyllum mohavense). In contrast, additional runoff from the panels increased the population of the common Wallace's woolly daisy (E. wallacei), which was unaffected by the shade.
"There's a need to reconcile rare species conservation and green energy goals, and our work highlights some pitfalls that can hinder effective management of rare plant populations in the desert southwest," the researchers concluded.
It's possible that tweaking some of the way solar facilities are constructed and managed could aid more plants and animals. Preliminary research suggests that leaving some habitat patches within solar projects could have positive conservation benefits.
"I think that there could be alterations to the design of desert solar facilities, the spacing between individual arrays, and the creation of habitat passes within solar fields at varying sizes," says Grodsky. "If we are going to put solar facilities in these ecosystems, let's try to make sure they have the least impact on soil, plants and animals."
At a solar facility built in Nye County, Nevada in 2017, fences around the property's perimeter were built with openings in places to allow desert tortoises and other species to pass through and access the habitat within the development. Panels were also placed 18 inches higher off the ground than the industry standard to better help vegetation return.
An opening in a perimeter fence that allows wildlife to access habitat inside the solar facility. USFWS
"Research and monitoring studies are underway to investigate the ability of native plants to persist under solar panels and how well the project area functions as habitat for wildlife," according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Other projects are experimenting with combining pollinator-friendly plants and solar projects to create more ecological benefits.
Location, Location, Location
Of course there's another option for reducing the harm to desert ecosystems from solar development — don't build there in the first place.
A 2107 study led by Madison Hoffacker of the University of California, Davis focused on other options in California, including using the built environment — such as solar panels on existing rooftops, arrays on salt-affected lands that can no longer be used for farming, and "floatovoltaics" on the surface water of reservoirs.
The researchers found more than 3,200 square miles of available surfaces in just California's Central Valley that would be good for solar development and not in conflict with agricultural uses or protected conservation areas.
"There's this competition for finite land resources between all these competing land uses, including renewable energy development, agriculture, conservation and urbanization," says Grodsky. But finding ways to co-locate projects for multiple benefits or using marginal lands could help reduce the need to dig up more of the undisturbed desert.
Inevitably, though, more solar projects will be built in the desert, and it will be important to understand where they'll have the least impact and how to best manage them with desert species in mind, he says.
"Now's the time for researchers in the ecological community to do our part, to conduct the research and to ensure that the development is as informed as possible about the ecological effects," he says.
That will take buy-in from developers, incentives, policy and much more funding.
There's also a disparity when it comes to timing. Life and science move slowly in the desert, but progress does not.
"Renewable energy development is growing faster and faster," he says. "But scientists need to go and collect field data for at least a couple of years to get anything worthwhile, and then you have to analyze it and write it up. So you're talking about four years, and within those four years you could have another 20 large-scale solar facilities built."
Trying to ensure research and information keeps pace with development will remain a challenge. But more and more companies are realizing that building projects sustainably is better in the long run, he says. That may be because of better PR, lower mitigation costs down the road or environmental ethics.
"But I do think that in the end, the most sustainable solar energy development will end up being a win for everyone," he says. "Industry, the general public and natural resource managers will all benefit."
Tara Lohan is deputy editor of The Revelator and has worked for more than a decade as a digital editor and environmental journalist focused on the intersections of energy, water and climate. Her work has been published by The Nation, American Prospect, High Country News, Grist, Pacific Standard and others. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
By Jessica Corbett
Federal regulators on Thursday released a pair of decisions expected to impact the expansion of renewable power nationwide—one that was celebrated by environmentalists and clean energy advocates as a crucial win and another that critics warned "could lead to more pollution by propping up fossil fuel power plants."
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delivered a victory to supporters of renewables by rejecting an April petition from the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) calling for federal rather than local jurisdiction over solar net-metering policies, which had provoked strong condemnation from a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers, solar investors, and hundreds of advocacy groups.
As Public Citizen explained last month:
Net-metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar power generators for the electricity they add to the grid. It is a crucial component of rooftop solar project financing because it makes solar energy systems affordable for small businesses and families through energy credits for the solar power they generate. The NERA petition would grant FERC sole jurisdiction to govern such programs through the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act [PURPA] or Federal Power Act.
Public Citizen, the Center for Biological Diversity, and over 450 other environmental, faith, and consumer groups sent a letter to FERC in June arguing that "state net-metering policies and distributed solar systems are foundational to achieving the nation's urgently needed clean and just energy transition—to address historical environmental injustices, fight the climate emergency, and ensure long-term resilience."
Howard Crystal, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity's energy justice program, authored a legal intervention filed with FERC regarding the petition. In a statement Thursday, he welcomed the Republican-led commission's rejection of the NERA proposal.
"This is a big win for our climate and for communities embracing clean solar power," Crystal said. "FERC's unanimous ruling ensures that states can keep appropriately compensating people who install rooftop solar. That allows community solar and other distributed renewables to continue playing a critical role in the urgent transition to clean energy."
Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, applauded the panel's dismissal of the "flawed petition" in a statement that highlighted the solar industry's record on job creation and contributions to the U.S. economy.
"Our industry holds great promise to help create jobs and revive local economies," she said. "We are grateful to the state utility commissions and many other partners who strongly opposed this petition. We will continue working in the states to strengthen net metering policies to generate more jobs and investment and we will advocate for fair treatment of solar at FERC where it has jurisdiction."
Tom Rutigliano, an advocate in the Sustainable FERC Project, which is housed at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), similarly welcomed the decision, saying that "FERC did one thing right today in rejecting the outrageous petition that would have upended the ability of rooftop solar owners to get a fair price for the excess electricity they generate."
However, Rutigliano expressed concern about the panel's vote to overhaul PURPA, which is more than 40 years old and has been key to renewable energy growth across the country. As he put it: "Instead of promoting small, clean generation, FERC is undercutting the ability of solar and wind power to get a fair chance to compete."
Noting that "utilities have long sought changes to the law" over cost concerns while solar and wind developers say it "is critical to giving renewables a leg up in states that aren't green-leaning," Bloomberg reported Thursday that the panel
reduced the mandatory purchase obligation for utilities to five megawatts from 20 megawatts in some markets, and gave states more authority to set the price at which small generators sell their power. The "one-mile rule," which determines whether generation facilities should be considered to be part of a single facility, was also changed. The agency will now require that qualifying facilities demonstrate commercial viability.
Commissioner Richard Glick, the lone Democrat on the panel, dissented in part but said that the changes would benefit consumers. "Under the old regime, customers were overpaying for power they were receiving" to the tune of $2.2 billion to $3.9 billion, he said.
Rutigliano warned that "homeowners putting solar panels on their roof, farmers leasing their land to wind turbines, and industrial facilities with efficient on-site power all lose under FERC's rule today."
"FERC is pushing the nation to use more fossil fuels," he said, "just when it should be doing everything it can to support clean power."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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For anyone looking to harness the clean, renewable energy of the sun, a portable solar generator is a great option. In order to use this power source, however, you will need portable solar panels to charge your power station. Our review will explain the different types of solar panels to pair with the best solar generators and recommend the top brands to purchase.
What is a Solar Panel?
At its most basic, a solar panel is simply a device that absorbs the rays of the sun and turns that energy into usable electricity. Most residential and portable solar panels work using photovoltaic solar cells made of silicon that send that energy through an MPPT charge controller to be stored in lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries. An inverter can take the solar energy stored in the battery and transform them into electrical current, which you can use to power devices, run appliances, or even keep an air conditioner running.
Not all solar panels are created equal, however, and consumers are encouraged to do their homework. In this article, we'll outline some of the best solar panels available today, particularly for use with portable solar generators for outdoor activities or emergency power.
Our Picks for the Top Portable Solar Panels
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Renogy 200W Eclipse Suitcase
- Best for Camping - Goal Zero Nomad 100
- Best for Easy Setup - Nature's Generator Power Panel
- Best Conversion Efficiency - Jackery SolarSaga 100W
- Best Expandability - ACOPOWER 120W Mono Solar Suitcase
- Best Compatibility - Suaoki Foldable 120W Solar Panel Charger
How We Reviewed Solar Panels
Before we get into specific recommendations, it's important to understand some of the factors that cause one solar panel to stand out from the next. Here are just a few of the criteria we used to assess the best solar panels for use with portable solar generators.
Type of Solar Panel
There are three basic types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film.
- Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be sleek and are the most efficient solar panels, but they are also the most expensive.
- Polycrystalline panels, on the other hand, are a little bulkier and less efficient but can be obtained for a lower price point.
- Thin-film solar panels are the cheapest of the bunch, but also the least efficient. And, they require the most space.
As you consider purchasing solar panels, knowing what type you want is one of the first things you'll need to think about.
If you plan to use your solar panel with a portable generator, then you'll naturally want something that you can transport with relative ease. Note that solar panels can vary greatly in size and weight. Some are so small that they can be folded into briefcases, which is obviously a boon for those seeking portability for an off-grid power supply.
Another crucial factor is power output. Different panels can produce varying amounts of energy, or wattage, which can, in turn, determine things like how many devices you can charge at one time, how long your solar generator will last between charges, and how quickly you can recharge your solar power generator.
The conversion efficiency rating tells you how much of the sunlight that hits the solar panel is actually converted into usable energy. This number is always given as a percentage. So, for example, if you have a solar panel with an efficiency rating of 20 percent, it means that about 20 percent of the sunlight that hits the surface will ultimately be turned into energy that you can use. Typically, any panel with a conversion efficiency over 20% is considered high-efficiency.
Some solar panels include a built-in charge controller. A charge controller, or charge regulator, helps to moderate the voltage/current of your solar system. Basically, the charge controller is what prevents your battery from overcharging. This is an important part of any solar system, as it helps extend the battery life of your system and prevent accidents. Look for systems that use MPPT charge controllers.
When you first start getting into solar power, you may not know exactly how many panels you need. That's what makes expandability such an important concern. Expandability tells you how easy it will be to add more panels to your solar configuration, especially with modular systems that can easily connect more panels.
Naturally, your budget is going to be a major consideration as you look for a new solar panel. Solar panels can vary in their price point, but it's not enough to look for the cheapest model. Make sure you're getting the best overall value, paying a reasonable price for a solar panel that will help you achieve your clean energy goals.
The Best Solar Panels for Portable Solar Generators
Based on these criteria, here are the solar panels that we most heartily recommend for use with your portable solar generator.
Best Overall: Renogy 200W Eclipse Suitcase
Renogy is another line of solar products that provides you with plenty of choices. We like the Renogy 200W Eclipse foldable suitcase model, which gives the perfect balance of power and portability. It includes Renogy's highest-efficiency solar panels in a durable, protective casing.
Why buy: For plenty of solar power that you can literally fold up and carry with you, look no further than to this outstanding option from Renogy. The Eclipse suitcase provides excellent low-light performance with enough power for recharging electronic devices on the go with the Renogy PHOENIX solar generator.
Best for Camping: Goal Zero Nomad 100
Goal Zero has a comprehensive suite of solar products, including both mountable and portable panels. For powering a portable generator, we recommend the Nomad 100 solar panel. It offers a power output of 100 watts and can be chained together with additional Nomad panels for faster charging of solar generators like the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 or the Goal Zero Yeti 400.
Why buy: If you're looking for a powerful yet easily transportable solar panel configuration, Goal Zero's products are resilient, reliable, and offer more than enough power for mini-fridges, laptops, medical devices and more. The Nomad (true to its name) is designed to be rugged and portable, perfectly suited for camping trips and outdoor adventures.
Best for Easy Setup: Nature's Generator Power Panel
There's a lot that we like about these solar panels from Nature's Generator. For one thing, these panels are pretty easy to transport and are made with lightweight aluminum frames and durable wheels. They also feature summer and winter tilt positions to help you maximize the amount of sunlight the panels capture each season.
Why buy: For basic power needs, Nature's Generator produces well-made products that are lightweight and easily transportable. One panel can provide up to 100W of solar charging power output, and they are reinforced with safety glass that is also anti-reflective.
Best Conversion Efficiency: Jackery SolarSaga 100W
Jackery offers foldable, portable SolarSaga solar panels that are well-suited for on-the-go adventures. You can choose between a 60W and 100W unit. We like the power output of the SolarSaga 100W option. These panels are made with high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells.
Why buy: For camping and outdoor adventure, Jackery is the way to go. Their SolarSaga solar panels are rugged, convenient and extremely intuitive and easy to use. Plus, they offer a conversion efficiency of 23%, making them an excellent choice to use with a rechargeable solar-powered generator.
Best Expandability: ACOPOWER 120W Mono Solar Suitcase
ACOPower is another top solar company offering major portability, in the form of a foldable, suitcase-sized solar panel. One major plus to ACOPower is that they have a wide range of products, allowing you to pick the solar panel that best fits your needs. The 120W lightweight solar suitcase is a great option if you're looking for something a bit heftier to help charge a backup power solar generator.
Why buy: Looking for lightweight and foldable solar panels with lots of power output? Look no further than the ACOPOWER 120W solar suitcase. This solar panel option can also easily expand to 240W by connecting an additional ACOPOWER panel to power your emergency backup solar generator.
Best Compatibility: Suaoki Foldable 120W Solar Panel Charger
Suaoki has a great portfolio of advanced solar technology. We especially like their 120W foldable solar panel, which provides a very decent 120 watts of power output. Made with durability in mind, Suaoki's solar panel is backed with a generous 24-month warranty. And, it's compatible with most brands of generators. A great all-around option.
Why buy: Suaoki combines many of the most important factors that consumers look for when seeking solar panels: power, portability, versatility and excellent value. This solar panel also comes with a DC outlet and quick-charge USB ports for USB and USB-C. We especially like that these panels are designed to work with most of the top solar generators from other brands.
The Benefits of Portable Solar Panels
Portable solar panels offer a range of benefits.
- Solar panels can be paired with portable solar generators to provide you with emergency backup power in case of a power outage. Unlike gas generators, these are quiet and environmentally friendly. Plus you will never have to purchase fossil fuels to run them as a backup generator.
- Portable solar panels can be ideal for living "off the grid," or for extended camping or RV excursions. With a good generator and the right types of solar panels, you can enjoy plenty of electrical power for cell phones and small appliances even when you're outside and far from any power outlets.
These are just a few reasons why switching to portable solar power can be beneficial, though again, you'll want to ensure you select the right solar panels to meet your goals.
Solar Chargers vs. Portable Solar Panels vs. Rigid Solar Panels
We already elaborated on some of the key differences between monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels. Now, let's turn our attention to another important area of distinction: solar chargers, portable solar panels and rigid solar panels.
A solar charger is a small device that uses sunlight to generate electricity. These are usually used to power smaller devices, like phones or tablets, or anything you would plug in to a car charger.
Portable solar panels, like the ones we mentioned above, help absorb and capture sunlight, which you can use to power a portable generator or battery bank. These are ideally suited for camping or for an off-grid lifestyle. They can offer the same amount of energy that you get from an AC outlet.
Rigid solar panels are designed for rooftop solar panel installation to provide power to homes and buildings. Generally, these provide the most energy when connected to high-capacity battery storage.
Types of Solar Inverters
The inverter is an important component of any solar panel system because it's the component that actually takes stored solar energy as DC power and turns it into more usable AC power. There are two primary types of solar inverters used for portable solar generators.
- Pure sine wave inverters are designed to produce smooth, reliable and quiet electric AC currents and work best at providing continuous power to delicate or sensitive electronic devices.
- Modified sine wave inverters provide a bit choppier and nosier current and are primarily meant for simple devices and appliances.
Knowing your inverter types is another important way to make an informed decision about your solar panel and solar generator purchase.
What Devices and Appliances Can You Charge With Solar Panels?
As you contemplate your solar energy needs, it's important to think about the specific devices and appliances for which you need power.
Some portable solar panel options come with 12-volt and USB ports that allow you to directly connect and charge certain devices. These can include things like smartphones, tablets and computers. Alternatively, you can connect your panels to a generator or battery to power certain appliances that you would plug into a wall outlet like a mini-fridge, CPAP machine or coffee maker. The specific devices you can power with energy from solar panels will depend on your system's output, run time and battery capacity, typically measured in watt-hours.
We recommend using an online calculator to tell you roughly how much energy you'll need from your solar panel. Try this calculator to see what types of devices you can use.
Choosing the Best Solar Panels
The right portable solar panels can completely change your relationship to renewable energy. In addition to serving as a clean energy emergency backup in case of a blackout, they can also empower you to enjoy the adventurous lifestyle you crave.
As you seek the best portable solar panels, make sure you weigh all the important factors, from power output to price point. Use this guide to start your search, but also be sure to carefully assess each product according to your own energy needs.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape and Remedy Review.
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By Galen Barbose, Eric O'Shaughnessy and Ryan Wiser
Until recently, rooftop solar panels were a clean energy technology that only wealthy Americans could afford. But prices have dropped, thanks mostly to falling costs for hardware, as well as price declines for installation and other "soft" costs.
Today hundreds of thousands of middle-class households across the U.S. are turning to solar power. But households with incomes below the median for their areas remain less likely to go solar. These low- and moderate-income households face several roadblocks to solar adoption, including cash constraints, low rates of home ownership and language barriers.
Our team of researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined how various policies and business models could affect the likelihood of people at all income levels adopting solar. In a recently published study, we analyzed five common solar policies and business models to see whether they attracted lower-income households.
We found that three scenarios did: offering financial incentives to low- and moderate-income households; leasing solar panels to homeowners; and lending money to buy panels, with the loan repaid on property tax bills. All of these approaches resulted in people at a wider range of income levels trying solar energy.
Solar Power for Everyone
For over a decade our team at the Berkeley lab's Electricity Markets and Policy group has kept tabs on trends in the rooftop solar market through our annual report, "Tracking the Sun." It documents how prices have fallen, and the number of installations has risen in U.S. solar markets.
Over the past decade rooftop solar power has grown significantly in the U.S., spreading beyond initial hot spots in California and Hawaii to states such as North Carolina, Florida and New Jersey. The industry projects that rapid growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
More recently our researchers have combined this tracking report with data on household-level demographics and income of solar adopters, covering more than 70% of the U.S. residential solar market. Among the research products we've created is an online interactive tool that shows the demographic characteristics of solar adoption down to the county level.
Thanks to these price and growth trends, an increasing number of state and local governments, utilities and businesses want to help lower-income customers go solar. They believe solar will cut energy bills, reduce money spent on bill payment programs, avoid pollution and create green jobs.
So far, 20 states are offering 38 programs to help lower-income customers go solar. California, the largest, has budgeted over US$1 billion for such programs. A number of utilities and solar developers, like Posigen and GRID Alternatives, are also developing business models that work for all customers. These initiatives leverage state and federal incentives to deliver free or very low-cost solar to eligible households.
Donnel Baird's company makes energy-saving updates to buildings almost exclusively in low-income areas. Cutting the… https://t.co/5uWGSVnu9m— NPR (@NPR)1603088973.0
Reducing Upfront Costs
In our study we evaluated five policies and business models to see which ones helped low- and moderate-income households go solar:
- Financial incentives targeted at low- and moderate-income households, usually rebates or other incentives to reduce upfront costs.
- Leasing rooftop solar systems, which reduces upfront costs.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE, which allows customers to finance energy improvements through their property tax payments. Currently, residential PACE is available only in California, Florida and Missouri.
- Financial incentives such as rebates offered to customers of any income level.
- "Solarize" campaigns, in which customers band together in a group purchase to get a good price.
The study includes data on more than 1 million residential rooftop photovoltaic systems installed on single-family homes in 18 states from 2010 to 2018. We compared modeled household-level income estimates for solar adopters with area median household incomes from U.S. Census data.
We found that three of the interventions – targeted incentives, leasing and PACE – effectively increased adoption equity. These approaches are boosting sales to low-income customers in existing markets and helping solar companies move into new markets, such as low-income areas where solar sales have been weak or absent.
Policies that don't address the needs and constraints of low-income households, like the federal income tax credit, have not had much effect on equity. And solarize campaigns are rarely pitched to low-income buyers.
An Untapped Customer Base
When solar expands into new markets and neighborhoods, it can have a spillover impact. If a system is installed in a neighborhood that had no solar before, neighbors who see it will be more likely to adopt it themselves. Moving into new markets may have greater potential effects on low-income adoption rates than reaching lower-income households in existing markets.
Expanding sales to low- and moderate-income households can also tap a larger base of potential customers. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) found in a study that 42% of rooftops where solar power could work are on low- and moderate-income housing.
A 2018 study estimates that installing rooftop solar systems on low- and moderate-income housing could provide up to 42% of all rooftop technical potential in the residential sector and improve energy affordability in low-income communities. NREL
As the solar market grows, decisions to install solar systems are increasingly driven by the prospect of saving money, rather than strictly by green values or buyers' interest in new technologies. A survey led by NREL found that roughly half of people who decided to install solar in California, New Jersey, New York and Arizona in 2014 to 2016 identified cost savings as a primary factor in their decision to adopt solar.
For low- and moderate-income households, the financial benefits of solar power can make a big difference. Many lower-income households carry a large energy burden, meaning that energy and utility costs consume a large share of their income. Across the U.S., low-income households spend about three times more of their income on energy costs than other households. Solar power can reduce those energy burdens by providing on-site power at a lower cost than grid electricity.
Making homes more energy efficient is an established strategy for cutting energy bills, but there's growing interest in having solar play a role. Deploying solar power for low- and moderate-income households can be a way to fulfill policy and social goals like creating jobs and improving the environment.
The study described in this article was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office.
Galen Barbose is a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Eric O'Shaughnessy is a research consultant at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Ryan Wiser is a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Disclosure statements: Eric O'Shaughnessy is a renewable energy research analyst at Clean Kilowatts, LLC. Ryan Wiser is a board member of the Clean Energy States Alliance. Galen Barbose does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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A good backup generator can help you keep your home running smoothly, even in the event of a major power outage. And, when you choose a solar generator, you can power your home using clean, renewable energy from the sun. By contrast, gas and diesel generators burn fossil fuels, and are extremely loud and spew harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Here are the best solar power generators available today that can provide a cleaner alternative for home generators.
Our Picks for the Top Solar Generators
- Best Overall - Renogy Lycan Powerbox
- Best All-Purpose - Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
- Best for Camping - Jackery Explorer 1000
- Most Affordable - Westinghouse iGen600s
- Fastest Charging- EcoFlow DELTA
- Best for Appliances - MAXOAK Bluetti AC200P
- Most Powerful - Point Zero Energy Titan
How We Reviewed the Best Solar Generators
There are a number of factors we considered when choosing which solar power generators to recommend, including:
- Battery capacity. Battery storage capacity is an important ranking factor. A greater battery capacity means the generator can store more energy, which ultimately means it will last longer without requiring a recharge. This is measured in watt-hours (Wh).
- Power output. When your generator is up and running, it will put out a certain amount of energy, measured in watts. It's important to select a generator that offers enough watts for you to power your essential home appliances.
- Inverter rating. The inverter is a critical part of any backup power generator. Basically, this is the component that turns solar energy into AC (alternating current) electricity. Inverter rating, along with battery capacity, determine how much power you can get from your home backup generator.
- Expandability. In order for your backup generator to function, you'll need some way of charging it. And if you plan to rely on solar energy, that means using solar panels. Expandability means that you can add solar panels to your generator as needed, making it easier to absorb more sunlight for energy.
- Number of outlets. How many devices or appliances do you need to charge? The functionality of your backup generator will be determined by how many outlets or ports are available.
- Price. Of course, as you look for the best home backup generator, one of the most crucial considerations of all is your budget. We've sought to emphasize generators that offer maximum value.
Based on these criteria, we've determined the solar backup generators that offer the most consumer value.Check out our complete list of recommendations below. You can also read our complete review of the best solar energy companies for rooftop home solar systems.
The Best Solar Energy Generators
Best Overall: Renogy Lycan Powerbox
Renogy produces several different power stations and chargers, but we especially like the Lycan Powerbox, a solar power solution that's only a little bit bigger than a suitcase. It comes with an easy-grip handle and heavy-duty wheels, making it one of the most portable solar generators around while still offering 1200W of output, which is enough power for most electronic devices and some appliances.
Why buy: The Lycan Powerbox can provide 1075 watt-hours of continuous power without the noise or fumes associated with gas generators. It offers great portability and includes an LCD display and easy, intuitive controls that allow you to switch between DC power and AC power as needed, as well USB ports and 12 volt car charger ports.
Best All-Purpose: Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
The Yeti 6000X is actually a portable power station that can be used for off-grid camping or powering an RV. With 6,000 watt-hours and two 2000W AC charger ports, it will give you plenty of power for your home. With a home integration kit, it's easy to use the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X to power essential circuits.
Why buy: Though it isn't exactly cheap, the Yeti 6000X power station is a great all-purpose backup generator, including a top-of-the-line charge controller and two robust AC outlets that make it easy for you to keep your household essentials up and running. It can even power a full-size refrigerator or microwave.
Best for Camping: Jackery Explorer 1000
The Jackery Explorer 1000 portable power station is one of the best all-around options, equally suited for outdoor activities and for emergency power readiness. Though it's rated for 1,000 watts, it can actually get closer to 2,000. The lithium battery pack offers a capacity of 1,200 watt-hours, and Jackery's professional MPPT technology makes it easy to get your unit fully charged in a relatively short span of time (usually just eight hours if you have two panels going).
Why buy: Jackery is one of the leading names in outdoor equipment and in clean energy products. This portable power station is a great pick for campers and can also be a very effective home backup power solution for small appliances and electronics thanks to its pure sine wave inverter AC outlets.
Most Affordable: Westinghouse iGen600s
Westinghouse Outdoor Power
Westinghouse is another company that specializes in solar powered generators, most of which are more ideally suited for camping trips. Their iGen600s portable generator, however, offers a wattage of up to 1,200 peak watts, which can certainly function as a decent emergency backup for certain household appliances and small devices.
Why buy: For a portable yet still very versatile solar generator, Westinghouse is a company to keep on your list. The iGen600 power system can run a mini fridge for up to 42 hours or a CPAP machine for up to 46 hours thanks to its lithium-ion battery that offers 592 Watt-hours of energy and a long battery life.
Fastest Charging: EcoFlow DELTA
The EcoFlow DELTA power station is a wonderfully rugged, dependable backup generator that can help meet your power needs during a blackout. For one thing, the charging time is incredible; you can potentially go from zero to 80 percent in under an hour with a wall outlet. Should you ever find yourself facing a power outage, this is an emergency energy solution you'll be really thankful for.
Why buy: The DELTA station from EcoFlow offers a lot of value and usability; in particular, it has one of the fastest recharging times of any solar generator, which may be reason enough for you to choose it over the competitors. The DELTA unit offers 13 ports, meaning it's compatible with pretty much any device or appliance you could ever need to charge.
Best for Appliances: MAXOAK Bluetti AC200P
For a heavy-duty emergency power solution, look no further than to MAXOAK, and particularly to a product called the Bluetti AC200P. With a 2000 Watt-hour capacity, this is one of the most robust solar generators you'll find anywhere.
Why buy: MAXOAK's Bluetti AC200P is the one you're going to want for really heavy-duty home energy backup. With massive AC inverters that offer up to 4800W surge capacity, it can provide more than enough power to fuel all your most critical home appliances, even some HVAC units. Also note the two-year warranty, a generous consumer protection.
Most Powerful: Point Zero Energy Titan Solar Generator
Point Zero Energy is one of the foremost names in disaster preparedness, and when you take a look at their product specs, you'll see why. Their Titan model solar generator offers almost twice the storage of similarly priced units with a high-capacity 2,000-watt-hour battery capacity and 3,000 watt high-efficiency inverter.
Why buy: On a purely technical level, this is the beefiest generator on our list, though of course, it's also one of the priciest. The unit is made with high-efficiency components, meaning it doesn't waste a lot of energy running the system; instead, it just supplies you with plenty of functional electricity when you need it the most.
How Does a Solar Generator Work?
Solar generators capture energy from the sun using photovoltaic solar panels, and store it in a built-in battery. Note that in order to absorb the sun's energy, your portable generator will need solar panels. These are typically sold separately, or as a package with the unit, so you'll need to factor in this additional cost. Solar panels contain solar cells, which are typically made of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicone that acts as a semiconductor.
Once the sun's energy is stored in the battery, it is converted into AC energy. This happens via a component known as an inverter. AC power is required for most of your household appliances, as well as for charging devices like your phone, laptop, or tablet that normally require a wall charger or AC outlet.
Can a Solar Generator Power My Whole House?
Generally speaking, a rechargeable solar generator won't be able to power your entire house if you lose power. With that said, even a smaller generator can be used to power key devices or appliances, sometimes for days at a time depending on its power consumption. For instance, you can keep your refrigerator up and running, and/or ensure plenty of sustained use for medical devices, like CPAP machines.
With an especially robust generator, you may also be able to connect to core circuits, running multiple appliances at one time.
So, while having an emergency power supply from a solar generator may not mean that you can go about your life just like you would normally, you can at least keep the lights on at home, run your air conditioner, or ensure your perishable food items remain fresh until your electricity comes back on.
What are the Benefits of a Solar Generator?
There are a number of advantages you can anticipate from an emergency generator, especially when you choose to go solar. Consider:
You can minimize the disruption of a power outage.
Again, inclement weather can cause power outages that last for hours, sometimes even days. During that time, you can use a backup generator to keep your essential appliances and devices up and running. This level of preparedness can offer ample peace of mind.
Solar generators offer a clean alternative to other energy sources.
Most generators are powered by fossil fuels, which means they emit a lot of noxious emissions. If you want a clean power source and a minimal environmental footprint, these solar solutions are just the ticket. They are also much quieter than traditional gas or diesel generators.
They can be very cost-effective in the long run.
While the initial purchase price of a solar generator may seem steep, keep in mind that sunlight is free. You don't have to worry about buying fuel or any additional expenses associated with your solar unit.
Find the Solar Generator That's Best for You
Disaster preparedness begins by identifying a reliable power source, and if you want that power source to be clean and renewable, solar generators are ideal. Take a moment to explore the options and find the generator that's right for you.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
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More and more homeowners in Raleigh, NC, have embraced renewable energy like solar power. This popular option allows residents to fuel their homes cleanly and effectively, minimizing their home's environmental footprint while lowering their monthly utility bills. What are the best solar companies in Raleigh, NC? We'll show you the top options, plus provide important information on solar panel systems, federal tax credits, and more.
If you're looking to adopt solar energy in Raleigh, North Carolina, one of the first steps in the process is to find the best renewable energy company. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent solar power providers throughout the area. They can provide the expertise and reliable technology you need to upgrade your home and truly take advantage of solar energy systems.
Our Picks for the Best Solar Energy Companies in Raleigh
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- 8M Solar
- NC Solar Now
- Sunpro Solar
- Blue Raven Solar
- Renu Energy Solutions
- Emerald Energy
- Covenant Solar Tech
- Yes Solar Solutions
- Sun Dollar Energy
- Duke Energy
How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Raleigh
In order to create a list of the best solar power installers in Raleigh, North Carolina, we compared each company on a number of important categories. Our picks for Raleigh's best solar energy companies are based on the following:
- Coverage area. Some companies offer wider, more consistent coverage areas than others. We sought to include companies that make solar power readily available to both Raleigh and nearby areas like Durham and Cary.
- Services. We also ranked Raleigh's local solar providers on how many total services they offer. For instance, how much help do they offer in terms of consultation, solar system design, and installation?
- Installation process. We also evaluated local solar energy providers on the basis of whether they can install your new solar panels. Do they send an installation team to your home, or do you have to contract with a separate installation company?
- Pricing and financing. As you look for the best solar company in Raleigh, you'll definitely need to think about your budget. We've tried to evaluate companies on the basis of affordability and flexible financing options.
- Panel efficiency. Solar panels can vary quite a bit in terms of how much sunlight they absorb, and how efficiently they convert that solar energy to a usable AC stream. We've selected local companies that offer exemplary technology with the highest solar panel energy efficiency.
- Rebates. Along with flexible financing options, some solar installers make it easy for you to claim clean energy rebates, another useful way to offset your total energy cost.
- Warranty. When investing in a significant piece of technology, such as a solar panel system, it makes sense to seek some consumer protections. A good warranty can offer ample peace of mind.
- Professional affiliation. We looked for companies endorsed or certified by leading professional organizations. These include the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and more. This is one of the easiest ways to evaluate a solar company's reputation.
With these factors in mind, we're now ready to take a look at a few of the most highly recommended solar power and renewable energy companies in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Best Solar Energy Companies in Raleigh, NC
Blend Images - Done Mason / Getty Images
Based in Wake Forest, 8M Solar is one of the best-rated clean energy companies in North Carolina. Their services are NABCEP-certified, they are SolarEdge and Tesla certified installers, and they are endorsed by Duke Energy. The owners are directly involved in all aspects of solar panel system design to provide hands-on expertise, and their panels come with generous 25-year warranties.
Why buy: Simply put, 8M Solar is one of the best companies to choose if you're looking for a straightforward way to go green and decrease monthly utility costs. The company claims that their rates are, on average, 10 percent lower than their competitors. Formidable expertise, best-in-class technology, robust warranties, and affordable pricing make 8M Solar a top choice.
NC Solar Now
Since 2010, NC Solar Now has been a dependable clean energy partner to homeowners throughout the state. Their company is built around a vision for sustainability and ensuring that all families have access to affordable energy. The company is a member of the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), the NC Clean Technology Center (NCCTC), is endorsed by Duke Energy, and was chosen as one of the top 20 solar contractors in the US by General Contractor Magazine.
Why buy: NC Solar Now is a great all-around option for anyone looking to embrace the promise of clean solar power. They are locally owned and operated, they offer flexible pricing for both residential and commercial properties, and they can help you take advantage of all available solar incentives and rebates.
Sunpro is a nationally known and NABCEP-certified company. They offer cost-effective pricing and leading rooftop solar technology that allows you to save big bucks on your home utility bills. SunPro takes a lot of pride in having first-class customer service and their team is also available to help you claim clean energy tax incentives.
Why buy: Sunpro is one of the most-trusted solar energy installers in the country, and even ranked #5 on Solar Power World's 2020 list of the Top Residential Solar Installers in the U.S. They handle everything from design to installation, and offer 25-year guarantees on labor and equipment.
Blue Raven Solar
Blue Raven Solar is one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the country, operating in a number of states throughout the Southeast and beyond. They're passionate about helping homeowners save money on their electricity bills, and that's allowed them to become a clean energy provider of choice in the Raleigh-Durham area, as well as Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro.
Why buy: Blue Raven Solar offers a truly comprehensive solar energy service, including surveying, solar panel system design, installation, and more. The company also offers highly competitive pricing and excellent financing options (including $0 down), and has received rave reviews from their customers as one of the most trusted solar energy companies around.
Renu Energy Solutions
Based in Charlotte, Renu Energy Solutions provides dependable solar energy services to homeowners throughout the state. Since 2010, this locally-owned and operated company has been one of the Charlotte area's trusted names in solar energy. They offer free solar assessments, along with plenty of assistance finding flexible financing solutions.
Why buy: This is another great example of a local business with world-class solar expertise. Choose them for friendly service, competitive pricing, and high-quality tech. Plus, Renu offers manufacturer's warranties of up to 25 years (depending on the specific solar panels you choose).
Emerald Energy is a Raleigh-based contracting company best known for offering design, consulting and installation for solar energy solutions. They offer zero money down and no interest financing on systems, and can help you take advantage of the many solar rebates and incentives that are offered in North Carolina.
Why buy: For a fully-licensed local contractor with real clean energy bona fides, Emerald Energy is one of the best companies you'll find. Their in-house system design and installation services can help you enjoy cleaner electricity, energy independence, and lowered utility bills.
Covenant Solar Tech
Covenant Solar Tech is locally owned and operated in Raleigh, North Carolina. They deliver a full spectrum of services, including consultation, design, installation, financing, and beyond. For those exploring solar energy options, they offer free solar estimates, and boast some truly outstanding customer reviews.
Why buy: Covenant Solar Tech offers expert installation with friendly, personable customer service. They are one of the best local Raleigh companies in the solar energy game. Their solar energy expertise and experience was also recently enhanced by the company's purchase of Sun Dollar Energy.
Yes Solar Solutions
Yes Solar Solutions is a terrific clean energy company located in Cary, NC. Their installers proudly service residents of Raleigh and the surrounding area. The company has been around since 2009, and in that time they've helped more than 1,000 homeowners go solar. They are a certified installer for Tesla solar equipment, offer free assessments and various financing options.
Why buy: Yes Solar Solutions is NABCEP accredited and has a long history, an impressive track record, and plenty of ways to help you cut energy costs. Reviews of the company attest to their excellent customer service in helping people go solar.
Sun Dollar Energy powered by Covenant Solar Tech
Sun Dollar Energy started a family-owned solar power contractor serving homeowners throughout North Carolina. The small solar company with local roots offered a personalized experience for customers. In January 2021, the company was purchased by Covenant Solar Tech, but will still provide the same reliable service under the Sun Dollar Energy name.
Why buy: Sun Dollar Energy powered by Covenant Solar Tech is your best bet for a truly homegrown, local solar energy provider. They offer years of experience and their licensed, NABCEP-certified installers helped them become a leading provider in the area, with positive customer reviews for their easy installation process.
Duke Energy might not be the first name you think of for this list, but they provide a wide range of solar energy solutions across the Raleigh area. Not only does Duke Energy provide solar rebates worth up to $6,000, they also offer services like net metering that can help offset your electric bill with the energy from your solar energy system.
Why buy: Duke Energy has made some admirable commitments to renewable energy in recent years. With programs like NC Shared Solar, the company allows you to support solar energy generation and development each month even if you can't install solar panels on your own home, making solar energy more accessible.
Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in Raleigh, NC
Fill out this 30-second form to get a quote from one of the best solar energy companies in Raleigh. You could save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive both federal and state tax rebates.
What Types of Solar Energy are Available in Raleigh, NC?
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As you consider your options for solar energy in the Raleigh area, it's important to note that different companies provide varied kinds of access to the sun's energy.
For instance, most of the companies on our list are truly solar installers, which means they can help you upgrade your home with solar panels and batteries, allowing you to directly absorb the sun's rays, convert it to electricity, and use that electricity to power your home.
But a few companies, like Duke Energy, do something a little different: They essentially allow you to choose a plan where you get solar power straight from Duke's solar energy facilities as part of your home's energy, but also use regular electrical power when necessary.
Make sure you understand these different models as you seek the right solar power provider for your home.
How Does Solar Panel Installation Work?
It is also helpful to know more about the process of having solar panels installed on your home.
Usually, the process begins with an energy audit. A certified installer will arrive at your home, assess your energy needs, and also evaluate how much sun exposure you get. They will then recommend the number of panels that need to be installed on your roof, as well as the ideal locations for those panels.
Once installed, these solar panels draw energy from the sun and store it in a battery. This solar power is then converted to AC power, using a component known as an inverter, which can then power all your home appliances and devices.
If you have any specific questions about the installation process, it's usually best to go straight to your installer. Note that while the initial investment in equipment can be steep, that's usually it in terms of overall solar expense: the sun's energy is free, and you won't need to invest in any further fuel sources.
Choose the Best Rooftop Solar Company in Raleigh
There are countless reasons for Raleigh homeowners to embrace clean energy: it's a great way to minimize your environmental impact; it can lower your household energy expenses; and you can take advantage of the many rebates and tax advantages offered in the state.
As you consider different players within the solar industry, choose wisely, starting with some of the recommendations we've offered here. These are renewable energy companies that have solid reputations and proven track records of solar energy service.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
By Francesco Starace and Jean-Pascal Tricoire
Why is it so important to decarbonize cities? And how can we do it?
The first question is easy to answer: The cities in which more than half of us live account for nearly two-thirds of the CO2 emissions that lie at the root of our planet's looming climate crisis. Skyscrapers in megalopolises, shopping malls, SUVs in the streets, air conditioners in a growing number of places throughout the globe – all consume a vast amount of high CO2-content energy.
The answer to the second question is to take an integrated approach: leveraging clean electrification and digital technology to harmonize urban energy systems, while also thinking beyond individual projects to consider their impact within the surrounding communities and the built environment.
In fact, urban energy, transport and building infrastructures are gradually becoming greener: There are more electric vehicles on city streets, better water treatment and recycling schemes, and more solar panels on rooftops around the globe. According to International Energy Agency estimates, renewables like solar and wind are set to become the largest source of electricity generation worldwide by 2025, supplying one-third of the world's electricity and ending coal's decades-long dominance of the global power mix.
All this is, of course, welcome.
But with climate change accelerating, we need more comprehensive decarbonization actions on three fronts. First, we need even more energy to come from renewable sources. Second, we need more cars, heating and other activity to be powered by clean electricity. Third, we need everything from factories, to office buildings, homes, transport systems and consumer devices to become more energy-efficient.
This third lever might not as headline-grabbing as the rise of solar panels or electric vehicles. But it is a big piece of the decarbonization puzzle, with an even larger potential enabled by digital technologies.
Consider, for example, the technologies that make buildings more energy-efficient, by automatically adapting the amount of cooling, heating or lighting to occupancy levels at any given moment. Or digital tools that allow the operators of a manufacturing site in Sweden or a public utility in India to run their operations or distribution systems more efficiently and even remotely, rather than in person (a feature that has proved critical in these times of social distancing and lockdowns).
Imagine how much more we could achieve if we digitally integrate ultra-efficient buildings, public services – e.g. transport or lighting – and electric vehicle charging stations into a wider, highly efficient urban system, delivering better quality services for citizens and accompanying benefits such as local job creation, health, and well-being. Integration and interaction between assets are the key to disrupt the traditional equation of energy and efficiency in cities. An EV battery can store power not only for just one car, but, while a car is not in use, also for the surrounding community thanks to smart-charging infrastructures. Excess power generated by an office building's or warehouse's rooftop solar panels might be used to help power the wider neighborhood.
The technologies, digital tools and data analytics capabilities to enable this efficient urban system already exist, as do concrete examples of such an integrated approach. Therefore, integration and collaboration of systems and stakeholders are the fundamental drivers to accelerate and scale the transition in cities.
Integration of energy, buildings and mobility requires cross-cutting industry collaboration, ranging from utilities and real estate, to technology companies and financial institutions. City- and state-level administration can enable and facilitate such collaboration through public-private cooperation. The public sector can drive on governance, policy and licensing, while the private sector provides agility, technology and resources. This cooperation can share and balance risks and liability between stakeholders for mutual gains and value creation for the broader community.
All of this comes against a backdrop of great urgency. Epidemics, climate and economic pain have all created unique challenges in 2020. But combating climate change must remain top of mind. Cities lie at the heart of this fight and have now the chance to build back better. We have joined the World Economic Forum in the effort to promote dialogue and mobilize action together with a group of global leaders. As co-chairs of the Net Zero Carbon Cities initiative, our ambition is to accelerate a sustainable transition in cities, supporting mayors in creating value for their communities. It is up to all of us to ensure we become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.
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By Tara Lohan
When Shalanda Baker stopped in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2009 to brush up on her Spanish before heading to Colombia, she didn't realize it would be a life-changing event. She'd just left her job at a corporate law firm with the hope of lending her expertise to communities fighting coal mines or other dirty energy projects in South America.
But in Oaxaca she met Indigenous community members fighting a different type of energy project: large-scale wind development.
"Their struggles echoed the stories of countless communities around the world affected by oil and gas development: dispossession, displacement, environmental harm, unfair contracts, racism and a litany of concerns about impact to culture and community," she writes in her forthcoming book Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition.
"I knew, in that moment, that this tension — between Indigenous rights and clean energy, between the rush to avert catastrophic climate change and social justice — would form the foundation of my work as an activist and scholar. It would also become my life's work," she writes.
Baker is currently a professor of law, public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University and cofounder of the Initiative for Energy Justice, where she continues to work on making the clean energy transition more just.
The Revelator spoke with Baker about why we can't solve our current climate crisis by following the same energy playbook and what it means to put justice concerns first.
"Energy justice" may be a new term for people. How do you define it?
I feel like it's helpful to distinguish it from environmental justice as well as climate justice. They're interrelated and, I think, inextricably intertwined.
Environmental justice is a product of the '80s and '90s, where people began recognizing the harms that Black and Brown communities disproportionately face due to industry, including the energy system. The movement was really aiming to remediate those harms through policy.
We had seen landmark environmental legislation passed in the 1970s which largely failed to address energy distributional concerns and largely left communities of color to fend for themselves through regular civil rights claims to sort out those burdens. And that actually didn't work out.
So the environmental justice movement continues and on their shoulders is the climate justice movement, which very much recognizes that island communities and other communities in the Global South, as well as environmental justice communities including in the United States, will be the first and worst impacted by climate change.
So they're really working to create policies that respond to that vulnerability.
But energy justice for me is the most hopeful aspect of this because it's forward looking. To me, it's about dreaming and saying, "What system can we create that not only remediates or helps to remediate some of that environmental harm, but can make us less vulnerable in the face of climate change?"
Rooftop solar, batteries, things that allow us to bounce back more quickly in the face of climate change — this hopeful terrain of energy policy that is reflective of energy justice principles is where I like to do my work.
You write in your book about how you first got into this work because you worried that we were going to make the same mistakes with clean energy that we made with fossil fuels. How have you seen this play out?
My first experience witnessing it was Oaxaca, Mexico where I met the Indigenous peoples fighting against "big wind." And there was this moment where I thought, "Oh my gosh, we're doing this the same way." We're relying on the same logic, the same structure, the same financing models. The same entities and corporations are basically just changing hats and changing names to be able to participate in the clean economy.
They're still relying on extraction, exploitation and getting it done for the lowest cost, which often means massive projects that can really change the shape of communities.
That's what was happening in Mexico in 2009. It's still very much happening in Oaxaca, which is the windiest place in Mexico. It's also happening in the Yucatan peninsula in a place that I went to in 2016 to do a Fulbright.
The second time I saw this was in Hawai'i in 2014. At that time Hawai'i was embarking on its own ambitious energy reform project. But it was approached as being about just a technical change — a switching of fuels to renewables. They were basically, again, replicating the inequality baked into the system.
In Hawai'i folks pay the highest costs for electricity in the country, poverty rates are high and BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities live amidst fossil fuel generation. But BIPOC communities had no real say in shaping the energy future and were structurally excluded from it.
Moreover, communities were not viewed as stakeholders with an authentic economic interest in the projects that were slated for development. Because of this exclusion, I witnessed a lack of community participation in the overall development process, large-scale renewable energy projects going into BIPOC communities and rural communities without authentic community engagement, and a failure to think creatively about economic benefits (such as ownership) available to communities through clean energy development.
For me, the more tragic part was that the stakeholders and policymakers didn't see the transition as an opportunity to create social change and to remediate structural inequality.
This approach mirrored Mexico's wind energy development, and I saw, in Hawai'i, a real missed opportunity to allow communities to design the new energy system in service of their vision and in service of the deeper principles of economic and social justice.
What response do you get when you talk about energy justice now?
If you had asked me that six months ago, I would have said that it's very hard. No one's listening, it's terrible.
But since the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the murder of George Floyd, we have seen this sort of awakening, for lack of a better term, with respect to the multiple layers of oppression and inequality that certain communities face.
We know that communities of color are more likely to be environmental justice communities, breathing in toxic fumes. We know that they're more likely to experience energy burden, paying more of their overall income to meet basic energy needs. And now we know that they're more likely to die from a pandemic and that the likelihood of having the worst effects of COVID relates back to the energy system.
So now there's an opening, there's an opportunity. Since June there's really been more of a willingness to learn about this — and not in just the typical places, but with policymakers, with folks from departments of energy around the country and attorneys general offices.
Are there examples of energy justice in action you've seen around the country?
I think it's still too early to tell.
Rooftop solar was one way that people could have more control over their energy system and make some economic gains by creating their own energy and selling it back to the grid or offsetting their own use. But that opportunity and policy framework has largely left out a lot of Black and Brown folks.
Solar PV panels covering the roof of a home in Oahu, Hawaii. Tony Webster / CC BY 2.0
The alternative was a model called community energy. Sometimes it's about communities coming together or a church or another kind of institution in the community saying, "let's create an energy project and we can all share in it."
But unfortunately, I think we need more research to really know if it's actually benefiting low-income folks and Black and Brown people.
So the jury is still out for me on how energy justice is manifesting. But I do think there are a couple of policy wins that we've seen.
One is in New York through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which was signed into law about a year ago and was very much a product of grassroots advocacy. A coalition called NY Renews made sure that that law included a carve-out for environmental justice communities [requiring] that 35% of climate investments have to go back to those communities.
We see similar things in California with Senate Bill 535, which is essentially a redistribution of the benefits of that state's cap and trade policy to so-called "disadvantaged communities."
So there are wins here and there, but we have to keep fighting.
What needs to change in terms to regulations or financing to help move that fight along?
There are two pieces of the financial story. One is the utility story. We have massive investor-owned entities that are essentially companies that are regulated to be able to provide power and get a reasonable return on any investments that they make in the infrastructure.
So as we move toward more distributed resources, there's a pushback by these entities because they want to continue to own all of the assets and they want to continue to be able to get a return on any investments that they make in our electricity infrastructure.
But in an ideal world, we'll see individuals and communities owning more of their energy assets, and then being able to share them across a grid that may be managed by an investor-owned or publicly owned utility.
And I think we need regulators to push utilities to behave in the way that we want them to behave.
We also need to think about how we organize our rate structure. Right now rates are generally regressive and they have higher impacts on the poorest folks.
The literature around energy burden says that we should be paying around 6% of our household income to meet energy needs. But some households are paying upwards of 40% or even 75%.
One problem is that low-income folks often live in housing that isn't properly weatherized and energy is lost through holes in the walls or inefficient windows. Our standard programs for weatherization assistance are not reaching the places they need to be reaching.
I think the other part of this is how we get households access to rooftop solar. One study has shown a huge racial gap between those who have rooftop solar and those who don't.
That gap is persistent even when you correct for home ownership, even when you correct for income, which indicates that there may be a racial dimension — maybe racism — with respect to why people just aren't getting approached for rooftop solar or why they're not able to put it on their homes.
We need to understand this problem more.
You write in your book about how the goal for many activists has been "climate first, justice later." But you advocate for justice first. Why?
Bringing in the voices of folks who've been historically colonized and excluded for hundreds of years is just the morally right thing to do.
But I think more and more, we're starting to understand that our fates are linked. And we cannot leave behind certain squads of the population in pursuit of our own gains. We have to make sure that they have a voice at the table and are able to bring life to their own vision of what the energy system should look like.
Or else we'll get kicked by it at the end of the day. We'll be hit by the realization that we've left out this entire segment of the population that can't pay their electricity bills or that now has to move because of climate change. That will ultimately create substantial social costs down the road.
So for me, it's about making a stronger society.
I really want ordinary folks — our aunts or uncles, our friends who are not in energy or environmental law and policy — to engage with these ideas and to see the ways in which energy is such an intimate part of our lives.
I want people to get curious and begin to organize around a just energy future. And to also maybe even get a little upset about the deep injustice that is embedded into not just the fossil fuel system — because that's a story we know — but into this clean energy transition, where we are not only replicating but in some ways exacerbating inequality.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
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