Ben Zientara

Solar Policy Analyst


Solar policy | Industry trends | Solar generators

About Ben Zientara

Ben Zientara is a writer, researcher, and solar policy analyst who has written about the residential solar industry, the electric grid, and state utility policy since 2013.

His early work included leading the team that produced the annual State Solar Power Rankings Report for the Solar Power Rocks website from 2015 to 2020. The rankings were utilized and referenced by a diverse mix of policymakers, advocacy groups, and media including The Center for American Progress, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Solar Institute at George Washington University, PolitiFact, and The Guardian.

In 2020, Ben joined SolarReviews and now lends his expertise to the annual Solar Industry Survey, Top Solar Manufacturers list, Top 10 Solar States list, and throughout articles and pages across the site.

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 wife, kids, and big brown dog in the mountains, woods, parks, and playgrounds of the Portland, Oregon area.

Articles by Ben Zientara

PERC solar cells - are they the best choice?

PERC is a technology that makes solar panels more efficient by adding extra layers to traditional silicon solar cells. Find out if they're right for you.

Written by Ben Zientara

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.

Written by Ben Zientara

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 available for solar buyers. That's about as simple as we can put it.

Written by Ben Zientara

What are Time of Use rates - and when is electricity cheapest?

Time of Use rates change the price of electricity based on demand during the day. Electricity is cheapest when not many people are using it, late at night.

Written by Ben Zientara

The Sense energy monitor review: Is it worth it?

Adding a Sense Energy Monitor to your solar installation can provide insight into how much energy you use, how much your solar panels produce, and more.

Written by Ben Zientara

The best solar batteries in February 2024

The best solar batteries for home use in 2024 are the Enphase IQ 5P, Panasonic Evervolt, Canadian Solar EP Cube, Tesla Powerwall 2, and LG Energy Solution RESU Prime 16H.

Written by Ben Zientara