Useful Links

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
A. Energy Savings Tools
Home Energy Saver (HES) Audit Tool With over 6 million visitors, the US Department of Energy's Home Energy Saver is the go-to do-it-yourself home energy audit tool on the web. The Home Energy Saver™ (HES) empowers homeowners and renters to save money, live better, and help the earth by reducing energy use in their homes. HES recommends energy-saving upgrades that are appropriate to the home and make sense for the home's climate and local energy prices.
Genability Genability provides individuals and businesses the real cost of energy and insight into their energy bills, electricity price, cost of power and utility switching options.
Insulation Calculator The ZIP-Code Insulation Program will tell you the most economic insulation level for your new or existing house.
Cellulose Insulation Calculator Cellolose insulation calculator used to determine the financial benefits of increasing your insulation performance.
Carbon Footprint Calculator Learn the impact of our fuel-powered activities and novel ways to clean up our act.
B. Informative Sites
ENERGY STAR Home Appliance Overview User-friendly and informative, this interactive guide is a great introduction to home appliances and energy usage.
Energy Saver (Dept. of Energy) One of the easiest to read and best organized guides on home energy usage. Includes great tips on saving money & energy at home.
Rocky Mountain Institute: Energy Briefs The Rocky Mountain Institute's energy briefs, though dated, cover some of the best practices in energy efficiency applied to (1) building envelope, (2) lighting, (3) space heating and (4) cooling, (5) water heating, (6) cleaning appliances, (7) electronics, (8) kitchen appliances, and (9) whole system design.
ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Energy Star's distinction that recognizes products that deliver cutting edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation.
Top Ten USA TopTen USA aims to stimulate the market for super-efficient consumer products by identifying the best products and encouraging their purchase.
Build It Solar A mecca of plans, tools and information for DIYers to build renewable energy and conservation projects, from solar cookers to solar homes.
PVStudent.com A fantastic solar education resource rich in content for aspiring PV professionals. The advanced PV class notes contain a wealth of information about solar installation.
Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars A comprehensive list of federal and state-based incentives for purchasing an electric car or plug-in hybrid. Updated regularly.
C. Solar Calculators & Guides
Solar Angle Calculator This solar angle calculator provides the optimum angle to maximize the output of your system.
Solar Panel Tilt Reference Guide Since there are a number of variables that determine the best direction of a solar array, a more detailed analysis of solar panel tilt might be preferred. This page is designed to help you find the best placement for your solar panels in your situation.
Solar Inter-Row Spacing Guide Guide for manually calculating inter-row spacing for a PV array.
Solar Module-to-Microinverter Compatibility Calculator This module compatibility calculator will help you to determine the electrical compatibility of PV modules with the current Enphase Microinverters.
Solar Inverter Sizing Guide - String Inverters How to properly match PV and inverter capacities.
Solar Inverter Sizing Guide - Microinverters A reference paper that includes analysis demonstrating that using larger solar module sizes significantly improves annual energy production, even while microinverter size remains unchanged.
Solar & the National Electrical Code (NEC) Archives I The best place for the most advanced intellectual interpretations of the National Electric Code and how it applies to PV. By John Wiles, the main author of the provisions governing solar in the United States (Article 690 of the National Electrical Code).
Solar & the National Electrical Code (NEC) Archives II A comprehensive repository of articles in Home Power magazine pertaining to solar and the National Electric Code. By John Wiles, the main author of the provisions governing solar in the United States (Article 690 of the National Electrical Code).
Solar Installation Guidelines and the Code Pay special attention to the recommended reading material on the lower right side of the page. This the website of Bill Brooks, who co-writes the PV portion of the NEC code, and trains the inspectors and installers.
Solar Incentive Database - DSIREUSA DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.
Solar Action Alliance - State-by-State Solar Information Solar Action Alliance is an informative site with updated state-specific solar content and infographics.
SolarPermit.org Access the National Solar Permitting Database, a free and active community-based database that compiles solar permitting requirements around the nation into one single & easy-to-use website.
D. Energy Production Models
PVWatts PVWatts allows homeowners, small building owners, and solar installers and manufacturers throughout the world to estimate the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems.
System Advisor Model (SAM) The System Advisor Model (SAM) is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry, including project managers and engineers, policy analysts, technology developers, and researchers. SAM creates performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters.
California Solar Initiative Energy Production Calculator This calculator provides an estimated CSI system size and incentive amount of a solar electric system in California.
E. Solar Design Tools
HelioScope HelioScope does what both AutoCad and PVSyst do together, and because it automates so much for you, the amount of time you save is remarkable.
PVSyst PVsyst is a PC software package for the study, sizing, simulation and data analysis of complete PV systems.
SketchUp SketchUp is 3D modeling software that's easy to learn and useful in small scale PV design.
Concept3D Concept3d offers high-quality, cost effective 3-D modeling services with a quick turn-around time. Multiple professionals including architects, engineers, contractors, solar consultants, and real estate developers, hire concept3D to model solar for residential structures, commercial campuses, and others.
GreenLancer GreenLancer.com streamlines the solar design process and significantly reduces soft costs by providing certified solar designs to homeowners and small commercial customers.
Generaytor Generaytor is a crowdsourcing platform that enables collaborative analysis by transparently collecting and integrating performance data from the systems in the Generaytor solar community, providing users with smart yet simple insights into their electricity production, and ultimately ways to optimize their solar return on investment.
F. Youtube Videos/Channels
Great Solar DIY Walkthrough A permitted DIY solar panel installation using M215 Enphase microinverters and 235W Sharp panels. One of the best made solar instructional videos out there: perfectly paced, very succinct, thorough and meticulous. Information is never irrelevant. Perfect for DIY-ers. Enjoy!
Sol Power People Sol Power People offers a free series of weekly live lectures on a solar topic by Subject Matter Experts along with newsletters containing additional resources, useful links, practice problems, and a platform for solar industry inter-connectivity.
Enphase Energy Video series providing best practice recommendations when using the Enphase microinverters in system design.
LDS Prepper Features informative videos on topics ranging from do-it-yourself solar to beekeeping.
G. Trade Journals
Solarpro SolarPro magazine is a technical trade publication that provides industry-leading coverage of utility, commercial and residential system design and installation best practices.
Renewable Energy World RE World is one of the most recognized and trusted sources for news and information on global renewable energy.
Home Power Home Power is the definitive editorial venue for homeowners, business owners, and renewable energy professionals to exchange equipment, design, installation, and system performance experiences. Each issue contains the some of the most comprehensive, technical coverage of solar, wind, and microhydro electricity, energy efficiency, solar hot water systems, space heating and cooling, energy-efficient building materials and home design, and clean transportation options.
PV Magazine PV magazine is a monthly trade publication for the international photovoltaics (PV) community that concentrates on covering the latest PV news, topical technological trends, and worldwide market developments.
Solar Industry Magazine Solar Industry Magazine covers industry participants with probing, comprehensive assessments of the technology, tools and trends that are driving the dynamic solar energy sector.
Photon International Photon International is one of the leading sources of information on global solar industry.
GreenBuilder GreenBuilder magazine covers the North American residential building industry and is focused exclusively on green building and responsible growth.
H. Online Magazines
Greentech Media Leading source of news/research on green technology and the cleantech movement.
The Energy Collective First rate content from the world's best thinkers on energy & climate.
MIT Technology Review - Energy Intelligent analysis of research and development in the clean energy sector.
TreeHugger TreeHugger is one of the leading media outlets for green news, solutions, and product information.
Renewable Energy World - Online One of the world's finest resources for renewable energy news, information & companies. Their free bi-monthly digital edition is a worthwhile read.
PV-Tech A good source for in-depth and up-to-the-minute news and articles on the global solar PV supply chain.
CleanTechnica CleanTechnica is a leading site in the US for cleantech news and commentary focused on solar energy, wind energy, electric cars, and other clean technologies.
I. Next Economy Investment Sites
Seeking Alpha - Clean Energy Sharp analysis of clean energy stocks.
AltEnergyStocks.com Timely news, perspectives and insight in alternative energy and clean technology investing.
Forbes Green Forbes is a good source for reliable financial news and updated analysis on Green Tech.
J. Online Newsletters
Solar Wakeup SolarWakeup.com provides a rather comprehensive daily rundown of the top stories in the solar industry.
K. Online Forums
Solar Panel Talk Very useful, and highly active site with a focus on whole home solar installations, involving many knowledgeable, veteran solar industry members.
Tesla Motors Forum Great source of information not only on Tesla vehicles but for electric vehicle charging.
MyNissanLeaf Great source of information not only on the Nissan LEAF but for electric vehicle charging.
L. Associations
Solar Electric Power Association The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolio.
Solar Energy Industries Association Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry.
California Solar Energy Industry Assoc. Comprised of California solar contractors, manufacturers, distributors, developers, utilities, engineers, consultants and educational organizations, CALSEIA represents a diverse membership committed to growing the California solar industry.
American Solar Energy Society Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals & advocates. ASES is the US Section of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).
International Solar Energy Society ISES was formed in 1954 as a world-wide non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of the utilization of solar energy. ISES is now active in over 110 countries world-wide.
M. Books
Photovoltaic Systems Photovoltaic Systems is a comprehensive guide to the design and installation of several types of residential and commercial PV systems.
California Master Gardener Handbook Since it was first published in 2002, the California Master Gardener Handbook has been the definitive guide to best practices and advice for gardeners throughout the West.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself This comprehensive resource is the most authoritative guide available to a sustainable lifestyle and living off of the land.
Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills This how-to, user-friendly guide teaches self-sufficiency-covering all of life's essentials: shelter; alternative energy sources; growing and preserving food; home crafts; directions for making herbal remedies; and even home-grown entertainment.
Insulate and Weatherize From the most basic solutions to advanced, energy-saving projects, this book covers home insulation and weatherization, informing homeowners how best to keep their homes warm in winter, cool in summer and weather-tight all year long.
Gaia's Garden A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
The California Native Landscape: The Homeowner's Design Guide to Restoring Its Beauty and Balance The California Native Landscape teaches homeowners how to succeed with natives and shows them how lush, colorful, and thriving their landscape can be.