Latest Posts





Minnesota Solar Panels Less Productive in 2019 Than 2018

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that solar panels in Minnesota were less productive in 2019 than they were in 2018. The capacity factor, or amount of electricity solar panels produced compared to their theoretical maximum output, was just 17.3 percent in 2019, compared to 18.6 percent the year prior. This constitutes a nearly seven percent decline in solar productivity year-over-year. However, 2018 was a record-high year for electricity generated from solar panels because even though solar panels were less productive in 2019 than in 2018, there were more solar panels in service during 2019, helping to make...

Continue reading

Heating With Electricity Is Much More Expensive Than Natural Gas

Heating your home with natural gas is much less expensive than electricity, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). According to the agency, average winter household costs for natural gas are less than half the cost of using propane, heating oil, or electricity, as you can see in the graph below. The price advantage of natural gas is the reason it is more widely used than other sources of heating fuels in cold areas requiring extensive heating. Electricity is the more prevalent heating source in the Southeast because these areas are warmer than the northern parts of the Midwest. Also,...

Continue reading

Federal Data Confirms Minnesota Solar Panels Don’t Work Well in Winter

Recently-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms what many of us already knew, that solar panels don't work well in our Minnesota winters. The data is interesting because this is the first time EIA has shown the productivity (or capacity factor) of solar panels on a monthly basis, as you can see in the graph below. While solar panels generated nearly 30 percent of their potential output in July of 2018, electricity generation from Minnesota's solar fleet dropped to 5.6 percent by December. There are multiple reasons for this. One, the days get a lot shorter in the winter...

Continue reading