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The Best of Solar Power Rocks: Our Most Popular Content

Avatar for Ben Zientara
Published on 05/05/2016 in
Updated 05/05/2016

Solar Power Rocks is celebrating! We’ve been blogging and bringing you the most important facts about solar for nearly 9 years now, and it’s time for a retrospective of some of our greatest hits—blogs that riled up the crowd and got people talking!

Without further ado, here are the best and most commented-on blogs of all time!

1. How many square feet do I need for solar panels on my roof?

This has been one of our best pieces for a while. It not only tells how to figure out how much sun you get, what size and wattage solar panels are best, and how much energy they’ll produce, it gives you a handy solar calculator so you don’t have to dust off your copy of Excel and figure out how to use it.

This is the kind of content we love creating for our readers. It’s a piece that doesn’t just answer a simple question with a simple answer—it goes the extra mile and a half to provide an in-depth study of the variables that go into the answer. It empowers people to customize the calculation for themselves and gets them excited about the financial picture of solar in their own life.

It’s very satisfying to write this stuff.

2. Which direction should solar panels face?

One of our many “Your questions answered” posts. And just to sell it a little bit…the answer may surprise you!

The gist of the blog this is: don’t worry if your roof doesn’t point due south, and listen to your installer. Oh wait, you don’t have an installer? Well connect with a solar expert in your area today!

3. How do I get started in the solar industry?

We wrote this post in late summer 2008, about a year after we started the website (we were just babies then!). It still gets comments and inspires emails from people. And only a few of them are from Nigeria. We want to help you, Nigerians! We just don’t have a lot of contact with solar businesses on the continent.

4. How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

This is by far our most successful post. A full 12 percent of visitors to our site in the past few years have come because of this page. We’re pretty proud of it, too! Almost as proud as we are of photoshopping that awesome picture of people shaking hands above.

Anyway, this post gets the most hits because it answers a question that THOUSANDS of people have. That’s what this site is all about—giving people answers to all the questions they have about solar power. We only hope that once they read our answer to the first question, they go on to look around the site and discover a little more about solar where they live, too.

5. Here’s how to claim the Federal 30% tax credit for installing solar

This is a hugely important topic, and we’re proud to announce that this blog has helped hundreds of people answer some very important questions at tax time. After all, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is one of the biggest reasons that solar is booming. You might say it’s partly responsible for this website’s existence!

That’s because the ITC has driven down costs for everyone in the world. Solar panel production has ramped up not only in Southeast Asia, but in this country too. Because of the economic opportunity created by the ITC, high production has led to technological improvements in design and manufacturing, which has made solar even cheaper on a per-watt basis as a result! It’s been a win-win-win-win for homeowners, solar companies, the government, and the environment.

Of course we’re going to help people get it.

6. What the Heck is the Difference Between a Kilowatt and a Kilowatt-hour (kW vs. kWh)

Another one of our very good series of blogs explaining the basic concepts important to an understanding of why solar power does indeed “rock.” This blog has served us well for years, being written all the way back in October of 2007, and it’s still getting plenty of attention today. We built a pretty good foundation of content early on, and we’re happy that it’s still helping people almost a decade later.

7. De-mystifying your PG&E Solar Power Bill

Let’s face it: For many years before it became affordable to put solar panels on your roof in most states, California was the only game in town. Blogs like this were vital to helping people in PG&E territory understand their options when it came to solar power and their electric bill.

You see that building facade in the picture above? PG&E didn’t get a facade like that from making their bills easy to understand. They make money off of people being confuse about their options. We like to think blog posts like this, that advocate for consumer knowledge, help PG&E (and other humongous utility monopolies like them) make a little less of that money, meaning our faithful readers get to keep more of theirs.

An interesting side note about this blog is that it was written in 2007, when PG&E’s E7 electric rate was new, but it saw a resurgence of interest in 2016, as PG&E moved to phase out E7 and replace it with even more confusing rate schedules.

8. A sick graph – Iraq war spending vs. spending on renewable energy

Remember the Iraq war? Of course you do. It’s one of the worst, most costly boondoggles in American history, resulting in millions of displaced Iraqis and dead soldiers, a region-wide destabilization that birthed groups like ISIS, and, oh yeah, adding hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt.

This was one of our first blogs back in 2007. It contained a graph that took more than 8 screens of scrolling to get past, which showed the devastating truth about what our country spent (and spends) its money on. Needless to say, it inspired some comments. 112 of them to be exact.

9. Goliath wants to fight you for your solar panels, here’s the reason why and how to win

In the last few years, we’ve traded the anti-war-spending populist anger for something more like anti-monopoly populist anger. To be fair, though, we didn’t fire the first volley in this battle. Utility companies did (mom! they started it!).

While solar power “wasn’t feasible” for decades, utilities had little to worry about. But now that everybody and their cousin Mark is getting into the solar game with panels on their homes, in their yards, and over their parking lots, the big ol’ government-approved monopolies started taking on the little guy by increasing fees, decreasing payments for solar energy, and spreading misinformation.

This all led to the Goliath blog, which caused quite a stir with our readers when it debuted. The fight continues to this day, with power companies and state utility commissions taking action to repeal net metering, passing laws to restrict how solar is sold, and offering shady solar deals of their own.

Last modified: May 5, 2016

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