About Ben Zientara

Ben Zientara - Author of Solar Reviews

Ben Zientara

Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher

Ben is a writer, researcher, and data analysis expert who has worked for clients in the sustainability, public administration, and clean energy sectors.

He entered the solar industry in 2014, joining Solar Power Rocks to lead the team that put together its annual State Solar Power Rankings Report, which has been cited by a diverse mix of advocacy groups and media like PolitiFact, The Guardian, The Center for American Progress, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and the Solar Institute at George Washington University. He’s now joined SolarReviews to add his expertise to the content development team and expand the site’s coverage of state solar policy and incentives.

Ben holds a B.S. in Scientific & Technical Communication from the University of Minnesota, with special coursework in Environmental Science and a minor in Sustainability Studies. He spends his time away from the solar power world cooking and eating delicious food or spending quality time with his family in the mountains, woods, parks, and playgrounds of the Portland, Oregon area.

Recent articles by Ben Zientara

Big changes on the horizon for California net metering in 2022

Ben Zientara

February 12, 2021

Big changes on the horizon for California net metering in 2022

California regulators are changing how solar owners connect to the grid & get credit for solar energy. The changes could greatly affect the solar industry.

The state of net metering in the United States in 2021

Ben Zientara

January 26, 2021

The state of net metering in the United States in 2021

This annual report ranks the states for friendliness to home solar based on their net metering programs.

How your utility company can make it harder to go solar

Ben Zientara

March 27, 2018

How your utility company can make it harder to go solar

Here are the ways utilities have increased costs for future solar owners: Utility strategy 1: Time-of-use billing. Utility strategy 2: Non-bypassable charges. Utility strategy 3: Demand and grid-access charges. Utility strategy 4: Increasing minimum month

Recycling solar panels: What happens when they no longer work?

Ben Zientara

April 13, 2018

Recycling solar panels: What happens when they no longer work?

Recycling solar panels: What happens when they no longer work?

What is Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), and why should you care?

Ben Zientara

May 29, 2019

What is Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), and why should you care?

Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE) is a way to help people compare the cost of two different ways of paying for energy over long periods of time.

Is a DC or AC battery right for your solar home?

Ben Zientara

April 7, 2020

Is a DC or AC battery right for your solar home?

Comparing DC and AC solar batteries and providing guidance on which is better for your home solar installation.

How to use PVWatts to figure out the ideal size for your solar system

Ben Zientara

July 15, 2019

How to use PVWatts to figure out the ideal size for your solar system

PVWatts is a useful tool that to estimate annual electricity production from solar panels on your roof. Our method can help you find your ideal system size.

How and why to use solar panels to charge an electric car

Ben Zientara

December 11, 2018

How and why to use solar panels to charge an electric car

Electric cars and home solar panels are a match made in heaven. Just a few panels on your roof can make all the “fuel” your electric vehicle needs - for life.

What is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)?

Ben Zientara

January 29, 2016

What is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)?

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a law that requires electric utilities in a state to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources by a certain date. The RPS is also used to determine the amount and type of incentives availab