Your Most Important Solar Energy Questions Answered - Introduction


This article was originally written by Sarah Hancock here for

Are you thinking about making the switch to solar? Maybe you'd like to lower your electricity bill, or perhaps you want to reduce your carbon footprint. The good news is that, in many situations, installing solar panels on your home or business can be an extremely economically and environmentally beneficial decision. However, solar isn't the right fit for everyone, so it's important to do your research before putting up a significant investment.

In an effort to provide helpful information for home and business owners like you, as well as shed light on a somewhat confusing and ever-evolving industry, Best Company asked 11 solar experts for their input on frequently asked questions that many consumers have about solar energy, such as: "How much can I save with solar? How long will the panels last? I live in a cold or cloudy area... is solar still a viable option for me? What about battery storage?"

In this series, you'll find answers to all of these questions and more. Some of the responses might surprise you, but don't take our word for it; take a look at what the experts have to say!

Meet the Experts

Simone Garneau is the co-founder of Sunmetrix, an online consumer education website with a goal to help homeowners go solar. In addition to over 200 articles about solar energy, the Sunmetrix website has a fun and interactive solar calculator, Discover, that allows users to preview solar energy for their home.

Geoff Mirkin is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Energy World, a residential and commercial solar company based in Elkridge, Maryland.

Kathie Zipp is managing editor of Solar Power World and Energy Storage Networksmagazines. After graduating from Kent State University, Kathie was introduced into the world of trade journalism, specifically in the renewable energy sector. She writes about the technology, installation, and development of solar energy.

Samuel Adeyemo is the co-founder of Aurora Solar, a company that makes solar design software that is used by most of the leading solar companies in the United States.

Teris Pantazes has advised hundreds of homeowners on solar. He owned a solar company for 10 years before selling it in 2015 and was the leading commercial solar installer in the mid-atlantic at one point. Teris is also the co-founder of, a homeowner and handyman community with over 3,000 members in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Matt Stoutenburg is the founder and CEO of Peak Power Solutions, a solar company based in Costa Mesa, California. Peak Power Solutions has been around for 12 years and performed nearly 6,000 installs in the Southern California area.

Julio Daniel Hernandez is the CEO of EnLight.Energy, a national home energy upgrade franchise family.

Mark Stevenson is the Founder Managing Director of Bright Spark Energy, an ethical energy consultancy focused on helping individuals and organizations reduce their energy usage. He has an extensive background in the education industry from an IT, building, and energy perspective.

Shel Horowitz has been following solar since the 1970s and wrote his first piece about it in 1972. He has solarized his own home and helps green-energy and other businesses go beyond mere "sustainability" (keeping things the same) to "regenerativity" (making things better). He has authored 10 books and owns

Rainier de Ocampo is the Vice President of Marketing at Solar Optimum, a solar energy and battery storage company based in Glendale, California.

Greg Reed is the Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy and the Energy GRID Institute. He has over 30 years of combined industry and academic experience in the electric power and energy sector, including solar energy.


Click on the links below to read the expert responses to each question, or download the printable ebook and access all of the responses in one place.

Question #1. In Your Opinion, What Are the Top Benefits of Solar Energy?

Question #2. How Does Solar Energy Impact the Environment?

Question #3. How Much Could the Average Homeowner Expect to Save With Solar?

Question #4. Would You Recommend Investing in Battery Storage Along With a Solar Energy System? Why or Why Not?

Question #5. What Should Consumers Look For in a Solar Company?

Question #6. What Solar Incentives Are Currently Available? What Do You Expect to Happen With Solar Incentives in the Future?

Question #7. Are Solar Panels Viable in Cold Climates? Will They Still Work When It's Cloudy/Rainy/Snowy?

Question #8. Will Solar Panels Still Generate Power During Grid Blackouts?

Question #9. Is Solar Panel Efficiency an Important Factor?

Question #10. How Long Will a Solar Energy System Last?

Question #11. What Effect Do Solar Panels Have on a Home's Value?

Question #12. What Advice Do You Have for Individuals Who Are on the Fence About Solar Energy?