It's probably the toughest question to answer because there is a significant lack of accurate and objective comparative information. Besides wattage and price, solar panels really do look and perform pretty much the same. A commodity wrapped in a pretty package obscured by a bundle of techie features and TLAs. Makes you wonder how those bottled water marketing managers differentiate their products.
Have questions for Barry? Share them in the comments and they may be answered in the next episode.
Over the past few years our industry has cranked up its marketing machine to convince both homeowners and installers to prefer and recommend their particular brand of solar panel. There are indeed differences in warranties, degradation rates and company balance sheets — but dwelling on these features is almost guaranteed to put a customer to sleep.
On this week's Energy Show we'll talk about some of the more tangible differentiating factors among solar panels. What can you talk to your customers about without seeing their eyes glaze over? What really matters over the 25+ year lifespan of a system? And what probably won't make a bit of difference a dozen years from now in the year 2025? Tune in to this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World to hear Barry's take on solar panel features that are objective and can be validated — both by installers and homeowners.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About Your Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock