Nostra maxima culpa

By | July 5, 2018
We want to apologize to our fellow Vermont residents for the extremely hot and sunny weather we’ve been experiencing this past few weeks. 
Um, see … we had solar panels put on the roof in mid-June. And, er, apparently the folks at SunCommon (our solar installer) took us seriously when I said “now, make sure we get lots of sunny weather this summer!”
We’ve been merrily cranking out the megawatts over the last three weeks, and even though we’ve run our electric heat pumps (rented from Green Mountain Power) to cool the house much more than we normally would’ve, we’ve still been returning more power to the grid than we’ve actually used:
For what it’s worth, going solar was almost disturbingly painless. SunCommon partnered with our utility, Green Mountain Power, and with the Vermont State Employees Credit Union and all we had to do was sign a couple of forms and get out of their way. VSECU’s green energy loan program made it possible to pay less per month for the solar array and system than we’re currently paying in power bills, and at the end of the loan period, we’ll own the array. Green Mountain Power hooked our array right up to the grid; they’re happy to have additional generating resources coming online and will give us net metering credits for excess power produced, which we can then cash in at night and in the winter. We’re on the waitlist for a couple of Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries; they’ll be installed sometime this year so power from our array can be stored and used locally and as a failover when there is an actual outage in our area.
My only regret is that my father didn’t live to see it. He was always super-interested in solar and even installed a solar hot water array (producing hot water for baths and showers, not electricity) on the roof of our house in Virginia when I was in high school. It didn’t work all that well, if you ask me, but it was the 1980s. Technology has come a long way since then.
I can’t guarantee that everyone across the USA will have the same fantastic results and ease of installation we’ve had; Vermont does have a pretty good green energy apparatus in place and not every state does. But that said, if you do live in Vermont or the Hudson Valley of New York and are interested in talking to SunCommon, you can use our link at to start the ball rolling. If you use our referral, SunCommon gives us both $100.
Oh, and about the weather: it turns out that really hot weather isn’t actually where you’re going to get max production from your solar panels. Sunny is good, obviously, but the panels produce better when it’s cooler. It’s just a matter of conductivity. Obviously, winter days in Vermont bring obstacles other than cold, namely, snow on panels and shorter days. But that’s why we have 36 panels, to overproduce in the summer so we build up enough net metering credits to get us through the winter.
Ain’t science grand?
Leave a comment!

2 thoughts on “Nostra maxima culpa

  1. Jack

    Very jealous. The arrangements here in Georgia don’t seem to make rooftop solar cost-effective. Plus the house basically faces east, making either half of the roof workable for solar only half the day.

    1. Jay Furr Post author

      Then you need a solar canopy.

      We’re seeing people mounting them over parking lots, for example, or out in their front lawns. UAB has a project powering their baseball stadium with some solar canopies.

Comments are closed.