As we approach the Winter Solstice, I value the sun more than ever, especially after the past few cloudy weeks here in Vermont. When I can, I walk on the sunny side of the street—literally—and appreciate being in the sun (and out of the wind) whether in the woods or in a conversation on the street. As the just-past-full-moon was setting this morning, I was reminded that it traces the path of the sun at summer Solstice—sweet memories of shorts, gardens and sweat!
Last week a crew completed installation of our new Sunward solar domestic hot water system. The two wall-mounted collectors face a bit west of south and are installed at a 60-degree angle to take advantage of Fall and Spring; I’m confident the summer exposure will be more than adequate despite the steep mounting angle.
Since the system was made functional we’ve had only one “full” day of sun but with fairly impressive results. I say “full” because this time of year, with the low sun angle, much of the day the sun is blocked by two houses and some conifers. That will all begin to change quickly in a few more weeks, also a time when we typically have more clear days.
The control panel shows the difference in the temperature between the top of the 80-gallon tank—sun-heated water—and the bottom. To have the system gain 25F degrees on a sub-zero day with very little direct exposure makes me smile. When I look at where that moon was this morning, I know we’ll be making even more hot water as the year progresses and the sun stands higher and higher in the sky!