How To Go Solar

Thinking about going solar but don’t know where to get started? Here’s what you need to know.
Every empty rooftop is an opportunity to tap into the clean, renewable energy of the sun.

Already, the United States has surpassed 2 million solar rooftops nationwide. Yet we’re still only tapping into a tiny percentage of the incredible potential of solar power. Many households are perfect for solar panels, and there are even local solar options available for renters or others who can’t install their own system, but a lot of people just don’t know how to take the first step. That’s why we partnered with EnergySage to bring you online tools and resources that make it easy to explore your local solar options.

Want to get started? Here’s what you need to know.

Why go solar?

Solar power has significant benefits for the environment. Harnessing more of the sun’s energy would mean cleaner air and a more stable climate, less strain on natural resources, more resilient communities and an energy source we can depend on to be virtually pollution-free for as long as we can imagine. With each new kilowatt hour of solar, we chip away at our reliance on polluting fossil fuels and take a step toward a cleaner, healthier society.

Solar energy also makes our energy grid more resilient. It not only reduces the need for generation from central power plants, but over the long lifetime of solar energy systems it also can increase price stability and grid reliability, and reduce environmental compliance costs. You can make your own home even more resilient by adding a battery to your solar energy system.  Check out our report “The True Value of Solar” to learn more.

And as an added bonus, going solar can reduce your utility bill. When you install solar panels, your savings depend on a few different factors, like how much energy your system produces, how much you consume and incentives available in your area. Regardless, generating your own energy with a rooftop solar panel system can help reduce your utility bill and protect you from rising electricity prices. Most homeowners save thousands on electricity bills over the 25+ year lifespan of their solar panel system. Similarly, with community solar, you can also see a reduction in your annual electricity costs while helping support local renewable energy projects.

Getting started: Installing solar panels
Step one: Register online

It only takes a few minutes to get started. Head over to EnergySage and complete your property profile by entering your address and electric bill info. From there, you can access FAQs and educational resources to learn more about solar and decide whether it’s right for your home.

Step two: Receive quotes from local installers

Once you’ve registered, you can receive custom quotes from EnergySage’s pre-screened installers in a standard, easy-to-understand format. EnergySage has an extensive network of over 400 pre-screened, high-quality solar installers who will compete for your business.

Step three: Compare quotes and pick an installer

EnergySage can help you find the best solar solution by offering side-by-side comparisons for all of the quotes you receive. Along the way, you’ll have access to a dedicated Energy Advisor that can provide expert, unbiased advice on your solar options and answer any questions you have about solar panel technology, local incentives, financing options and installation best practices.

What comes next? Good for you, good for us, good for the planet.

Once you moved forward with an installer and get your system up and running, that’s when the benefits of solar start rolling in! Plus, when you go solar through our partnership, you can opt into a $250 donation through EnergySage on your behalf, to support our work advocating for renewable energy, conservation and a healthier planet. Head over to EnergySage to get started.

BlackRockSolar via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Getting started: Community solar
What is community solar?

Not everyone can install solar panels on their rooftop. Fortunately, renters and others looking for a different way to tap into renewable energy can instead participate in community solar, which means subscribing to a share of a solar farm near you. Rather than producing power on your own rooftop, you benefit from clean energy produced at the local solar farm. As a subscriber, you receive a credit on your utility bill for the energy your portion of the solar farm produced. This solar option lets you support local solar while saving on your electricity bill.

How do I get started with community solar?

EnergySage’s new Community Solar Marketplace makes it easy to find local community solar projects in several states across the country. With their tool, you can compare multiple options in your area and find the perfect solution for your needs. As an added bonus, when you subscribe to a community solar project through our partnership, you can opt into a $100 donation through EnergySage on your behalf, to support our work advocating for renewable energy, conservation and a healthier planet.

Head over to EnergySage to find open community solar projects near you.

Join our call to put solar on all new homes

Every roof built without a solar panel is a missed opportunity. Take action to support a Solar Homes policy in your state to install all new homes with solar panels.