key terms and concepts:

solar glossary

There’s a lot of solar lingo and we’re here to break it all down for you.


ac current

Alternating current (AC) is converted energy that can be used by your home. When the sunlight originally hits your solar panels, this generates a direct current (DC) of electricity. The DC current is then run through a solar inverter to convert the energy to an alternating current so you can now use this electricity to power your home.


battery backup

Whether you’re an extreme weather prep newbie or a pro, it never hurts to storm prep. We’re happy to help you out and share how Solar can keep the lights on! Excess power generated by your solar panels is stored in your battery bank ready to be used as soon as you need it. Your battery bank can be sized exactly to your needs and specifications – whether that’s just for critical load or for a whole home solution. And unlike a generator, when the grid goes down the switch to a solar battery backup is so instantaneous you won’t even realize it happened. There’s also no noise, no smell, and no fossil fuels when it comes down to a battery backup.


commercial solar

We believe that going solar is good business as we deliver solar projects to commercial clients with one focus in mind: Reduce operating expenses and increase profitability. Plus, if your business has a tax burden, commercial systems can have less than a 5 year ROI. Contact us today to see if commercial solar is the right answer for your business.


dc current

Direct current (DC) is the electricity that is created when the sunlight hits your solar panels. This energy will need to be converted to alternating current (AC) before it can be used to power your home. Which is why we use only the very best solar inverter to do just that!


energy credits (SRECS)

Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) are a performance-based solar incentive that allow you to earn an additional payout from solar electricity generation. SRECs vary state-by-state, so within our service areas, Illinois is where SRECs are offered. We’re well-versed in the program and will help you navigate everything throughout your solar journey.

Energy Storage

Excess power generated by your solar panels is stored in your battery bank ready to be used as soon as you need it. Your battery bank can be sized exactly to your needs and specifications – whether that’s just for critical load or for a whole home solution. When the electricity goes out your battery will kick in to power your home. The transition is so seemless your lights won’t flicker.

EV Charger

A charger for an Electric Vehicle. If you already have an electric vehicle or are thinking about getting one down the road, we can get your solar energy system set up with an EV charging station. These charging stations are great for home garages, offices, or parking lots and are compatible with all leading EV models.


focus on energy credits

Focus on Energy empowers the people and businesses of Wisconsin to make smart energy decisions with enduring economic benefits. Since 2001, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resource program has stayed true to that mission statement.

On behalf of 107 Wisconsin electric and natural gas utilities, Focus on Energy’s information, resources and financial incentives benefit all Wisconsinites by implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that otherwise wouldn’t happen, or in some cases years sooner than scheduled.


ground mount

A ground mount is when the solar panels are secured to a rack structure that is secured to the ground. Ground-mounted solar panels typically work best for residential or commercial installs with high energy usage and plenty of space on their property.


Illinois shines program

If you live in IL, get ready to save some money! Illinois Shines is a state-administered incentive program supporting the development of new solar energy generation in Illinois. These savings are part of the state SREC program and offer some of the best state incentives out there. Ready to cash in on these solar savings? Contact us today to learn more!


Your solar inverter is where all the solar magic happens! Solar inverters convert direct current (DC) energy to alternating current (AC), which is the energy your house needs to get lit.

itC (Solar investment tax credit)

The federal residential solar energy credit is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. (Other types of renewable energy are also eligible for similar credits but are beyond the scope of this guidance.)

The system must be placed in service during the tax year and generate electricity for a home located in the United States. There is no bright-line test from the IRS on what constitutes “placed in service,” but the IRS has equated it with completed installation.

In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, which provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. (Systems installed before December 31, 2019 were eligible for a 30% tax credit.) The tax credit expires starting in 2024 unless Congress renews it.


kilowatt hour (kWh)

Solar speak for how we measure energy! A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you’re using per hour.


MACRS Depreciation

The Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) is the current tax depreciation system in the United States. Under this system, the capitalized cost (basis) of tangible property is recovered over a specified life by annual deductions for depreciation. Under the new tax code, solar projects qualify for 100% depreciation in the first year, in addition to the ITC and any local incentives.


net metering

Net Metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate. Net metering is slightly different depending on the state. Ask your energy consultant for more details.


off-grid power station

An off-grid solar system is slightly more complicated than your standard solar systems. Most people who choose to install an off-grid solar system are looking to fulfill all of their energy needs through solar. That means they’d truly be off-grid. For this reason, you can often find a lot of these systems in more remote locations where access to power is hard to get.

While going off-grid is a solar option, the system would involve redundancy such as generators, which can be very expensive. Grid tied systems are a fantastic return on investment and 99% of our work.


photovoltaic (PV) system

A photovoltaic (PV) system is really just a fancy way of saying solar system. They are made up of solar panels combined with an inverter to harness the power of the sun and generate all that money-saving electricty.

Power wall

The powerwall is a Telsa product that we are certified to install. It is one of the solar back-up batteries that we offer with our solar systems.


renewable energy

Renewable energy is the best kind of energy. It is energy that is taken from a source that is not depleted, such as solar or wind. It is a much more sustainable and envinronmentally friendly option.

residential solar

Residential solar is a great way to not only save money but also increase the value of your home. Installing solar panels on your property allows you to meet most, if not all, of your electricity needs. With solar panel installations, you’ll not only be saving money each month, but you can also generate extra income through the surplus electricity that your system generates. Say goodbye to those ever-increasing utility rates, too. By investing in solar energy, you’ll lock in your energy rates for years to come.

rooftop installation

Rooftop solar installations are a successful way to generate electricty for both residential and commerical properties.

Residential solar is right for you and your home if you’re ready to start saving money and protect the environment, and if your home meets the recommended requirements. Solar can work on almost any property given these few requirements are met. First, you need to own the home or have permission from the property owner to install solar. Next, your roof needs to be solid, structurally sound, and no more than 5 to 10 years old. Asphalt shingle roofing typically needs to be replaced every 15 to 25 years. In some cases, it’s best to install a new roof before installing solar. You’ll want your roof to face the right direction in order to receive an optimal amount of sunlight. Finally, it’s important to have little to no shading on your roof.

Commercial rooftop installs are highly successful as well. Most types of roofs can accommodate commercial solar installation. For a flat roof, we generally install systems using a ballasted, non penetrative system.


solar battery bank

A solar battery bank stores excess energy produced by your system. So when the electricity goes out your battery will kick in to power your home. The transition is so seemless you won’t even know the grid is down.

solar expert

Our team is made up of Sun Badger Solar Experts who are here to answer all of your solar questions. Our entire team from sales consultants to solar designers to install crews are all a part of Sun Badger because they truly believe in the tech and benefits behind solar energy. All we want to do is pass that knowledge onto you, so EVERY question is a great question!

We want you to get just as excited about solar as we are. Plus, we’ve got that classic Midwest work ethic, where satisfaction is the standard, but exceeding expectations is the goal.

Solar Panel

The first thing you’ll need to start capturing and converting the sun’s energy is a solar panel! Solar panels are made up of 100’s of photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy as DC current, and then transfer that energy through DC wiring to an inverter.

At Sun Badger Solar, we strive to work with the most reputable manufacturers to provide high quality solar panels. Our reputation begins and ends with the panels we install, so you can feel good knowing we offer the same solar panels for your roof as the ones we put on our own homes.

Solar Service Team

We have a dedicated team for our customers and their solar needs. That means, even after your solar system is installed, we’ve got your back. You can reach us on your Sun Badger® Solar App anytime! When you go with Sun Badger Solar, we’re with you for years beyond a sales pitch.

Solar Power

Solar power is the energy from the sunlight being converted into electrity. Ready to have your home or business powered by the sun? Contact us to learn all about solar power and how it may be the right fit for you.

SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credits)

Illinois Shines Program is the branded name for the Adjustable Block Program (ABP) where you can cash in on SRECs or RECs (Renewable Energy Credits). Now where’s the money?

When your solar array is up and producing energy, the ABP provides payments in exchange for 15 years of RECs. That means you’ll get all 15 years of credits at once, like a warp speed customer rebate.

The best part? Sun Badger Solar is an Approved Vendor, which means we know RECs inside and out & we handle the hard stuff for you. And if anything changes, you don’t have to worry about it – we’re on it already.

Sun Badger Solar Advocate

A Sun Badger Solar Advocate is someone who loves solar power and can make money by spreading that love, whether you’re a customer or not.

Do you have a Sun Badger Solar system and love it? Tell all your friends about it, show off your monitoring, and we’ll get you paid for it!

Don’t have solar yet? But maybe you want it, admire it, & can’t stop talking about it? Tell all your friends and family about solar and get paid for it!

Sun Badger

A Sun Badger is a sun-loving, solar expert who is here to answer any and all solar questions. From incentives to how solar works, they’ve got your back. Have questions? Connect with a Sun Badger!


tesla battery storage

Tesla offers a solar battery, The Powerwall, for which we are a certified installer.


A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of income tax you would otherwise owe. For example, claiming a $1,000 federal tax credit reduces your federal income taxes due by $1,000. The federal tax credit is sometimes referred to as an Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, though is different from the ITC offered to businesses that own solar systems.

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