Two years ago we had solar photovoltaic panels installed on our roof. The temperature the day the two installers from Catamount Solar started their work was well below 0F.
Since then, the system has performed flawlessly and converted the Sun’s energy into over 5600kWh of electrical energy.
Even today, the Winter Solstice, with the least daylight of the year and with heavy clouds and rain almost all day long, the system has made a small contribution to our energy use.
I think the best way to celebrate the day is with this graph showing the past two year’s energy production:
And here in Vermont we can take credit for the abundant summer production to offset the lean production during the winter, as is shown in our bill for the month of November-December—the same as it has been for nine of the past twelve months:
Of course this time of year snow often covers the collectors but it pretty quickly slides off and the panels get to work.
Yes, solar IS an investment and yes, it cannot provide all of our actual daily needs all year long but even in Vermont, it works very well. Imagine how it can work in the parts of the world that are actually sunny!
Speaking of sun, we also get much of our domestic hot water from another system, mounted on the rear wall of the house. From April to October this provides all we need and, again, has worked flawlessly since installed in 2013. Interestingly, it also shades the living room windows below the collector panels and keeps that room a full 10F-degrees cooler in the summer than before.
So cheers for the Sun on this shortest day of the year! May we all take a pledge in the New Year to do whatever we can to live within our “solar means” and help bring the Planet back into balance with reality.