What does the climate crisis look like? As wildfires continue to rage up and down the U.S. West Coast, we have some terrifying answers: orange skies; burnt-out buildings; a horse, seemingly abandoned, running past a stall as the hill above erupts in flames. These images help to ground an unfathomable reality.
Orange Skies<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3Mjc5MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTM5OTc2NH0.loFijHZV5bLC6hKOJ_T0avHsIGIwkO86UcuqQ6yySZU/img.jpg?width=980" id="01daa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c43082a48f1c103935ac648e6dfa31b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
A boat motors by as the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville, California on Sept. 9, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images<p>People in Northern California looked out their windows Wednesday to a scene out of a <a href="https://twitter.com/Bunny_Godfather/status/1303909838376722432?ref_src=twsrc%255Etfw%257Ctwcamp%255Etweetembed%257Ctwterm%255E1303909838376722432%257Ctwgr%255Eshare_3&ref_url=https%253A%252F%252Fwww.newsweek.com%252Fbay-area-orange-skies-blade-runner-2049-1530961" target="_blank">science-fiction movie</a> as the sky glowed orange. Clouds of smoke covering the state filtered the sun's light and energy, tinting skies and lowering temperatures, <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-dull-orange-sky-wildfires-rage-western-200910140117147.html" target="_blank">Al Jazeera reported</a>. In San Francisco, the unusual color was a combination of ash from the Bear Fire mixed with the marine layer that provides the city's famous fog, <a href="https://abc7news.com/smoke-in-the-air-today-why-is-sky-orange-quality-index-oakland-bay-area/6414147/" target="_blank">ABC 7 News explained</a>. The effect was so remarkable that Hillary Clinton shared the image above, taken in Oroville, on her <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CE9XN59p0L7/" target="_blank">Instagram</a>. "None of this is normal, and confronting climate change is on the ballot this year. Vote, as early as you can, for a habitable planet," she wrote.</p>
Creek Fire Destruction<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3NDQ1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDI0MzIyM30.wL48hRI2OB72D0P_-4HoVfNYK01iIMcxOuDn6ELNIrw/img.jpg?width=980" id="ff2e3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="33d8df94a86c9c1037d1075358ff1b6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
A community of forest homes lies in ruins along Auberry Road in the Meadow Lakes area after the Creek Fire swept through on Sept. 8, 2020 near Shaver Lake, California. David McNew / Getty Images<p>The Creek Fire started on Friday, Sept. 4, just as large swaths of California were facing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/california-heat-wave-wildfires-2647443443.html" target="_self">record-breaking heat for Labor Day weekend</a>. The fire spread quickly through the western edge of the Sierra National Forest. Hundreds of people were airlifted away from the fast-spreading fire earlier in the week, according to <a href="https://abc7.com/creek-fire-214-people-airlifted-from-mammoth-pool-reservoir-in-daring-rescue/6411589/" target="_blank">KABC</a> in Los Angeles. So far, the fire has burned through 175,893 acres and was only 6 percent contained Thursday, according to the <a href="https://www.fresnobee.com/news/california/fires/article245647305.html" target="_blank">Fresno Bee</a>. <a href="https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/9/4/creek-fire/" target="_blank">Cal Fire's statistics</a> say the fire, which has ripped through the remote mountain town of Big Creek, has destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings. "My family has been part of this community since 1929 and knowing it's probably never going to be the same is just gut-wrenching," said Toby Walt, the superintendent of Big Creek School District, to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/10/us/california-family-wildfire-home-escape/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a>.</p>
Mass Evacuations in Washington<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3MzE0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzkzNTQ2N30.00ruy9U0-r1ZGhxKoolxUnjANilP5HBuyHnQ6F9CU-E/img.jpg?width=980" id="0395e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6bc6a225c344d37cc052d492ebdf6571" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
Tinted orange by wildfire smoke from Oregon and southern Washington, the sun sets behind a hill on Sept. 9, 2020 in Kalama, Washington. David Ryder / Getty Images<p>As of Wednesday, wildfires had scorched 587,000 acres of Washington state, nearly half the area of land that burned during the entire record-setting fire season of 2015, <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/wildfire-updates-september-10-what-to-know-today-about-the-destructive-fires-in-washington-state-and-on-the-west-coast/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Seattle Times reported</a>. The fires prompted Washington Governor Jay Inslee to sign an emergency declaration Wednesday, and to promise cash assistance for people who have lost their homes to the flames. Hundreds of families have had to evacuate, including residents of Tacoma suburb Bonney Lake. One of them was Christian Deoliveira, who fled his home with his fiancé and five-year-old son early Tuesday morning. "I woke up at about 3 a.m. to a neighbor knocking on the door, saying the whole hillside's on fire," Deoliveira told <a href="https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article245572380.html" target="_blank">The News Tribune</a>.</p>
Animals Affected by Wildfires<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3MzU5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMTUxMTgwOX0.8NceC4kmCJuDzYdE6sbCKFa2vAcLQvQNdDJfDUl8FAk/img.jpg?width=980" id="adfad" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2452f6e5e5ed4a0c4bf276335c7fd3e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
A horse runs by a stall as flames from the Hennessey fire approach a property in the Spanish Flat area of Napa, California on Aug. 18, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images<p>Wild animals in the West are accustomed to wildfires as a natural part of the ecosystem. Some even need the burnt-out areas for their breeding grounds, while other predators will lie in wait for prey fleeing the fire. But the size and intensity of the current fires is beyond what most animals have adapted to. While scientists do not have a count of how many animals die in wildfires, they do know that smoke, fire and heat are extremely dangerous for animals that can't escape fast enough, particularly young and small animals, according to <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/09/150914-animals-wildlife-wildfires-nation-california-science/#close" target="_blank">National Geographic</a>. It's not just wild animals that suffer. Domestic pets are also left behind to fend for themselves as fire approaches and pet owners need to evacuate. Animal rescue crews are scrambling to find cats and dogs that were left behind. After finding one dog, Farshad Azad of the North Valley Animal Disaster Group told the <a href="https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2020/09/10/california-wildfires-conditions-improve-for-firefighters-but-siege-continues/" target="_blank">Vallejo Times-Herald</a>, "Everything around him was incinerated." He added, "People are really afraid. And people are hurting because their animals are missing."</p>
The Human Toll<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3MzczMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjU0NDAyNn0.zlna_AJwNcN5lABL8rtMthgcT12n4_4nv_SwZ56AwRk/img.jpg?width=980" id="82961" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8bb1df61a935c816093b6efb2110d306" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
Resident Austin Giannuzzi cries while embracing family members at the burnt remains of their home during the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Vacaville, California on Aug. 23, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images<p>The fires have claimed at least 23 lives and destroyed hundreds of homes in all three states. One of the hardest hit areas has been California's Butte County, which was also the site of 2018's Camp Fire, the fire that scorched the town of Paradise and was the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/camp-fire-california-wildfire-deaths-2620067114.html" target="_self">deadliest and most destructive in the state's history</a>. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Thursday at least 10 people in his county had died in the North Complex fires, while dozens were missing and hundreds of homes were feared lost, according to USA Today. The blaze even menaced Paradise again, though <a href="https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/09/11/9-a-m-update-fire-crews-continue-bear-fire-battle/" target="_blank">The Mercury News</a> reported evacuation orders for part of the town had been lifted. But Paradise's experience was repeated in the Butte County community of Berry Creek, which was obliterated by a part of the North Complex Fire Tuesday night. "The school is gone, the fire department's gone, the bar's gone, the laundromat's gone, the general store's gone," 50-year-resident John Sykes, who watched the blaze from a mile away, told <a href="https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article245611590.html" target="_blank">The Sacramento Bee</a>. "I'll never go back. I don't want to see it. That's why I'm leaving. I never want to see California again."</p>
Communities Threatened and Destroyed in Oregon<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3Mzg4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDk0ODc2OH0.hech4k958pQJXxCUupOLssjn9IzJcLkgbMzlH7rlCGA/img.jpg?width=980" id="90499" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1e39326a344d708fda44864f6a4d17a2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
A sprinkler wets the exterior of a home as wildfires approach nearby in Clackamas County on Sept. 9, 2020 in Oregon City, Oregon. David Ryder / Getty Images<p>High winds have fueled the rapid spread of the wildfires in Oregon, which are threatening the Western part of the state at an unprecedented rate. More than a half-million people have fled from the fires, which makes up more than 10 percent of the state's population of 4.2 million, according to the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54113416" target="_blank">BBC</a>. As of Thursday, there were 37 different blazes in the state, affecting people along the Interstate 5 corridor from Ashland in the south to Portland in the north. That includes Salem and Eugene. The blazes, which are only 1 percent contained, have decimated the towns of Phoenix and Talent, destroying hundreds of homes. "We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across the state," said Governor Kate Brown, as the BBC reported. "This will not be a one-time event. Unfortunately, it is the bellwether of the future. We're feeling the acute impacts of climate change."</p>
Wildfires During a Pandemic<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk3NDA0My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjI0MzA0OH0.kAZxX16X3_YVrcpdl5T-dSYUEaPovpK2l-R2-EmhtT8/img.jpg?width=980" id="53edf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5a47def2d11a34a4f305408fcd0f6f00" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="675" />
A sign warning people about COVID-19 is surrounded by flames during the Hennessey Fire near Lake Berryessa in Napa, California on Aug. 18, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images<p>The intense fires in the midst of a pandemic that requires social distancing is complicating evacuation strategies. Usually, people fleeing fires will huddle together in school gymnasiums. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that a no-no. The same restrictions apply to firefighters who would usually bunk together in small spaces, according to <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-happens-wildfire-coronavirus-pandemic_n_5f3d6b90c5b609f4f673c34c?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubW90aGVyam9uZXMuY29tL2Vudmlyb25tZW50LzIwMjAvMDgvd2hhdC1oYXBwZW5zLXdoZW4tYS13aWxkZmlyZS1tZWV0cy1hLXBhbmRlbWljLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANojonNDvEAcRnmhHQ_z_PTE54ALNvD_SBsIQgQff-H-nYonNfU6J5v8YXtuuVJKfuKxVIJauaGs0cc8lkSGIRnvDag0ya1gRxxKjmtfTicljJ3rOyvhs2RfGfK6RUTubneJ6wfnUQfyQdtH5YzY_qoEWYRvvrntI3C9DGrqPIfX" target="_blank">HuffPost.</a> Complicating matters further is that the poor air quality from the smoke may affect recovery from COVID-19. "We know that wildfire exposure to communities increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infection," such as acute bronchitis and pneumonia, said Dr. John Balmes, a physician at the University of California, San Francisco, as HuffPost reported. "So there's concern in the context of the pandemic that wildfire smoke exposure would increase the risk of moving from mild to more severe COVID-19."</p>
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As protests are taking place across our nation in response to the killing of George Floyd, we want to acknowledge the importance of this protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the years, we've aimed to be sensitive and prioritize stories that highlight the intersection between racial and environmental injustice. From our years of covering the environment, we know that too often marginalized communities around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental crises.
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Residential solar energy companies are helping more and more homeowners upgrade their properties to clean energy sources. Solar energy companies can equip you with the technology you need to harness the amazing power of the sun and reduce your need for fossil fuels. In this article, we'll review some of the most trustworthy providers and installers of solar power.
Our picks for the best solar companies
The first step in the process is researching some of the top companies in the solar industry. Here are the ones that stood out in our research.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
How we chose the best solar energy companies
How did we determine which solar power companies to recommend?
To begin with, we took a deep dive into each company's offerings, assessing them for the following criteria:
- Range of services offered
- Pricing/affordability and financing options
- Extent of service area
- Solar panel efficiency
- Temperature coefficient (e.g., how much high temperatures affect efficiency)
Additionally, we weighed membership and certification by professional associations like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Affiliation with these groups is a good indicator that a solar energy company is reputable, and that their work is up to the highest standards within the industry.
The best solar energy companies
schmidt-z / Getty Images
With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the best solar panel providers and installers in the industry.
If you're looking for a company that can walk you through the process of upgrading to solar power for an easy and convenient experience, look no further than to SunPower. The company offers:
- A "design studio" app, allowing you to safely and seamlessly design your own solar power system so that you can see a visual of what the finished product will look like once installed.
- Online calculators that make it easy for you to determine about how much electricity you will save once you upgrade to solar panels.
- Virtual consultations, allowing you to chat one-on-one with a solar power expert and to ask any questions you might have.
SunPower offers leading solar panels and energy storage technology to homeowners across dozens of states. And, they are also the preferred solar partner of many major businesses, including Walmart, FedEx, and Lowes.
Why buy: SunPower is a reliable solar energy company with an impressive tech portfolio and an extremely easy, intuitive process.
Upgrading to solar power can seem a little intimidating, but SunRun is out to bring simplicity. Their approach makes it extremely straightforward to select a custom solar energy plan for your household. Here's what to know about SunRun:
- They offer virtual consultations with solar energy experts, making it simple to explore your options and determine which solar set-up is right for your home energy needs.
- Each system they design is completely customized to address the customer's needs. SunRun doesn't do "one size fits all" solar equipment options.
- Their guarantee, the best in the industry, offers extraordinary peace of mind that your solar system will prove durable and reliable.
- SunRun also leads in terms of flexible financing options, making solar power accessible and affordable.
Why buy: With SunRun, the name of the game is customization. This is one of the best solar installation companies to turn to for solar power solutions that are truly made with you in mind.
You probably associate Tesla with their electric vehicles, but did you know that the company also produces high-efficiency solar panels? Depending on your needs and your budget, Tesla can hook you up with an array of solar panels or even a solar roof, making it easy to cut electricity costs and power your home via the sun's vital energy.
Some fast facts about choosing solar power from Tesla:
- They offer a price match guarantee and affordable financing options.
- Their advanced solar panel technology offers a low profile, a sleek style, and long-term durability.
- Home battery backups allow you to save solar power and then access it on demand, whenever you need it.
Why buy: Tesla offers sophisticated solar products for what the company claims is the lowest price of any national provider, which they back with a price-match guarantee. Plus, all of their solar panels come with a solid 25-year performance guarantee.
LG is another well-known tech company that is also a leader in solar energy. Some of their solar panels use a bifacial solar module that captures energy from two directions to increase their efficiency. While they are a solar panel manufacturer, they can also help you with the installation process by finding an LG Pro installer in your area.
- They offer an online "solar concierge" service that allows you to evaluate your home energy needs and to compare different options for going solar.
- LG offers a 25-year warranty, not only on their technology but also on the work their of their solar installers.
- They offer a range of solar panels and supporting products, and they supply you with plenty of information to make a fully informed choice.
Why buy: LG is a company that knows technological innovation. Their award-winning solar energy products are reliably efficient, well-priced, and designed for maximum efficiency.
Panasonic has one of the most impressive tech portfolios in the solar energy industry. Their products boast some of the highest conversion efficiency rates, along with the lowest degradation rates. And they back everything with a generous warranty.
Some additional reasons to choose Panasonic:
- They offer a range of solar panels to choose from. With Panasonic, you'll find that you have plenty of options.
- They also provide a lot of great online support and consumer education, ensuring you'll get the most out of your solar technology.
Why buy: Panasonic is a solar panel company with products that are tough to beat. Both their pricing and warranties are very appealing, and their HIT high-performance solar panels offer some of the best power conversion rates of any product.
Vivint is a company that offers a full spectrum of services, including solar power consultation, design, and installation. A few reasons why homeowners trust their solar power needs to the Vivint team:
- Everything Vivint does is customized. They tailor everything to fit your roof and to help you achieve your home energy goals.
- They make the entire process simple, handling all of the little details for you. This includes securing permits, filing the right paperwork, etc.
- They emphasize safety, using only the highest caliber of solar panels and backing everything with a world-class warranty.
Why buy: Vivint is noteworthy for their focus on customization, their commitment to safety, and their one-stop-shop solar power solutions. In addition to solar panel installation, they also offer other specialized technology, including solar-powered electric vehicle chargers.
Enphase is another company that stands out, both for their robust technology as well as for their commitment to customization. Their microinverter technology makes their solar system safer by reducing the likelihood of arc fault fires.
- They design their solar technology with safety in mind, including fire safeguards that other companies can't match.
- Their solar panels are built for durability and can hold up even through the most extreme kinds of weather.
- Enphase uses smart technology to update itself; all you need to do is connect it to your home Internet.
- They also have one of the best apps in the solar industry, making it simple to monitor your home energy use.
Why buy: Enphase is a company of innovators, and their solar portfolio has a lot to offer. Their system is also modular, meaning you can easily add more panels to your system as you need them.
This solar power provider has won recognition not just for their excellent technology, but also for their sincere commitment to sustainability and to ecological stewardship. And don't let the name throw you off: Though Canadian Solar is based in Canada, they provide solar power solutions in the U.S. and other countries.
Some additional facts about Canadian Solar:
- They offer a wide range of products, from energy converters to storage solutions.
- Their solar panels boast exceedingly high energy efficiency rates.
- Canadian Solar has won a number of awards for its first-class innovations, and one of their products even set a world record for conversion efficiency in 2020.
Why buy: This company has a proven track record of technological excellence, plus a real commitment to ecological stewardship. They also closely monitor their supply chain to ensure that no goods or materials used in their products come from prohibited forms of labor.
First Solar boasts an impressive track record of advocacy for solar power and for renewable energy sources. And, thankfully, they back their advocacy with some excellent solar technologies.
A few reasons to choose First Solar solar panels:
- Their technology offers an outstanding temperature coefficient, meaning they won't lose performance during high temperatures.
- Their solar cells are among the most reliable and most efficient in the clean energy sector.
- First Solar also offers a lot of post-purchase, post-installation help, as needed.
Why buy: First Solar is a great option for anyone who's serious about renewable energy, and who wants the best performance from their solar panels.
The biggest drawback to Go Solar is that, right now, their work is limited to just a few states. But if you happen to live in that part of the country, you're in luck. Go Solar's panels are uniquely calibrated to take advantage of the western region's abundant sunlight. Some additional reasons to pick Go Solar include:
- They offer free home solar assessments.
- They custom-design solar systems to meet the needs of your home.
- They have some of the most trusted installers in the solar power industry.
Why buy: For solar solutions that are tailored to the climate of the American West, definitely consider Go Solar. Plus, with their Give Solar International partnership, they give an equivalent solar panel system to a family in Uganda for each system sold.
How does a solar energy system work?
schmidt-z / Getty Images
As you explore the different options for embracing solar power, it may be helpful to have a baseline understanding of how solar energy systems actually function.
Generally speaking, solar energy systems involve solar panels installed on your roof. These panels absorb the sun's energy, storing it in what are known as photovoltaic cells. These cells convert the solar energy into direct current (DC) energy, then use an inverter to convert that DC energy into alternate current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is what you need to power all your home appliances.
It's important to note that, before you purchase solar panels, it's worthwhile to meet with a solar energy consultant who can tell you more about how many panels your home will require, and also to let you know how those panels should be ideally positioned on the roof.
One more note: If you're concerned about the affordability of solar power, it's important to remember that most solar energy companies provide a host of options, including flexible financing and solar lease options for a system rather than purchase it outright. As you talk with different solar energy companies, don't hesitate to inquire about these leasing and financing options.
Benefits of solar energy
Installing solar panels on your home can yield a number of benefits. Here are just a few examples.
One of the main reasons why homeowners choose to install solar cells is that it allows them to truly embrace clean energy sources. Rather than depend on fossil fuels and power plants, you can power your home with renewable energy that comes straight from the sun. This can be a highly effective way to minimize your environmental footprint.
Solar tax credits and rebates
There are a number of ways in which choosing renewable energy can save you money, starting with the fact that there are so many rebates and tax credits available. Essentially, both the federal government and many state governments want to encourage people to "go green" as much as possible, and they will make it worth your while by allowing you to claim these important tax incentives. Some utility companies also offer rebates that can help pay for the upfront costs of solar projects.
Lower electricity bills
Of course, embracing solar power will also help you save money by slashing your electricity bills. Most solar energy companies offer online calculators that allow you to see for yourself how much money you'll save over time, simply by changing to a renewable energy source. There is also an option called a power purchase agreement (PPA) that can allow you to host a solar or renewable energy system from a utility provider in exchange for lowered energy rates. If your solar panel system generates excess energy, the utility will then purchase that energy from you in the form of a net metering credit on your bill.
Make a smart choice about solar power
There are obviously a lot of perks to choosing solar energy for your home. And yet, it can also be a rather daunting process, simply because there are so many solar energy companies to choose from.
Using our guidelines and rankings, start doing your due diligence, seeking the solar power company that's right for you. Remember to look for a company that's well-regarded within the industry and get a consultation before you buy. Always be sure to ask some direct questions about the financing options that are available to you.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. His writing on natural health, nutrition, and supplements has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
If you care about the planet, you're probably thinking that the holidays are not a great time of year for the environment. There's more mail and package deliveries, homes and buildings are decorated with holiday lights, people travel more, and there's so much shopping as people buy presents for friends and family. So what's an environmentally conscious holiday-lover supposed to do?
Update, September 17: Voting is now closed. Winners of both EcoWatchers' Choice and Grand Prize will be announced on Sept. 23.
On June 26, EcoWatch launched its "Best of Summer" Photo Contest. Throughout the summer, we've been receiving submissions from EcoWatchers, and we've been giving readers the opportunity to vote for their favorite image. Our EcoWatchers have determined their favorite photos for July and August, featured below!
On June 26, EcoWatch launched its "Best of Summer" Photo Contest. Throughout the summer, we've been receiving submissions from EcoWatchers, and we're giving readers the opportunity to vote for their favorite image. Our team has reviewed the August submissions and selected the photos below as our favorites of the month. Let us know which photo you like best by voting below!
Update, August 14: Voting is now closed. Michael Pizzi of Vibes and Horizons is the July EcoWatchers' Choice winner. EcoWatchers will vote on an August winner and again a third time to choose between July and August winners to get the EcoWatchers' Choice prize of a $100 Patagonia eGift card.
EcoWatch launched its "Best of Summer" Photo contest on June 26. Images are being submitted from around the world, showcasing EcoWatchers trekking through jungles, beaches and various other scenery, highlighting a shared love and appreciation for our planet.
The EcoWatch team looked at last month's submissions for our "Best of Summer" photo contest and chose five of our favorite photos for EcoWatchers to vote on. You have one week, beginning now, to vote for the EcoWatchers' Choice award for July.
Please upvote below on which photo you feel represents "Best of Summer" on EcoWatch by clicking on the green up arrow located above each photo. For the photos you feel are not the winners, please downvote. You can only submit one vote per photo.
Ascending the Alps<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUyMzgzNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MzA5NDA3MH0.lkG14aXVpzQY-JqSSWTmOqOIy1cLJo1rMpqDRWHj0z4/img.jpg?width=980" id="7b863" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="36b58b5f9fc94e6c1fa63c4b12b0d350" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A small herd of cows relax on a beach during a peaceful sunrise in Andhra Pradesh, India<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUyMzgzNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjQ0NjA0MX0.G_USgeqwl0bcpRPJPL1f6s4oMmDx2yQyU6QRqcxTKFk/img.jpg?width=980" id="0b54a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e1aefe343b97dd5877517d99a7440776" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUyMzgzNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1Njc2NDc0Mn0.Il-myQpGnYaYISC5MC8O9purjGJN7gHn3ctSTOy3E7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="89ee4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6489cbcfb90de3272ebe31d4c434c9f2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUyMzg1MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTc0NDAwMn0.m-fU2qBXJSSy_vz7FR4BfGrWvpwSiO46uJpNaiLudy8/img.png?width=980" id="75ab3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c55a772ec9d8e8c22f834b6b3747b57e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Michael Pizzi / Vibes and Horizons
Ominous clouds gather over a summer day in Zanzibar<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUyMzg0NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODc0NTcxMH0.s_K8RyHbbDvR4Db8N6JnZk_KI_Pu9TPZnswOc4LRPs8/img.jpg?width=980" id="21093" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="73f358730edc1ae05193df2e70c5fe12" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!
At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.
To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.
- 6 Must-See Movies About Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
- Here Are Three New Environmental Docs to Watch This Fall - EcoWatch ›
Update: The window for photo submissions has ended. The winner will be announced this Monday, April 22.
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. The official theme of Earth Day 2019 is 'Protect Our Species.' In honor of Earth Day, EcoWatch has kicked off a second photo contest. Show us what 'Protect Our Species' means to you. Maybe there's a tree you've always loved, or perhaps it's a photo of the bird you adore that always visits your yard. We're excited to see what species means a lot to you. Capture a moment and send it our way!
Update: The window for photo submissions has ended. The winner will be announced this Monday, April 22.
EcoWatch is pleased to announce its second photo contest! Earth Day is happening on April 22nd, and this year's theme is "Protect Our Species." With that in mind, we want EcoWatchers to show us your photographs of creatures that inhabit Earth. Send us your best photos of species you value.
EcoWatch is a leading online environmental news company, publishing timely stories every day for a healthier planet and life. We are rapidly growing, reaching millions of readers each month through original writing from our contributors and reposts from partner organizations. EcoWatch informs its audience with essential science-based news on a wide range of topics including climate change, energy, oceans, animals, food, politics and health.
While EcoWatch is not hiring at this time, we are a growing company and welcome resume submissions for future opportunities. If you'd like to submit a resume, please email [email protected].
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2018 was a year in which the threats facing our planet—from plastic pollution to climate change―became impossible to ignore. As scientists and journalists continued to sound the alarm, ordinary people stepped up to do something about it. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that one person's action can make a difference in the face of such enormous challenges, but big changes are made up of little actions. So if you are looking for a New Year's resolution for 2019, why not add saving the earth to the list? To get you inspired, the EcoWatch staff is sharing successful green changes we made to our lives last year, as well as the improvements we plan to make in the year to come.