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SOLAR REVIEW – 2023

I am happy to provide a report on the second year of operations for our 95-panel, 34.7 kW rooftop solar system. The short story is solar production was 34,870 kWh, which is 8.4% less than last year, but a significant 24% of our electricity consumption. I attribute this to normal weather variations and the smoke from the Canadian wildfires that was present during the peak solar-producing months. Solar panels do lose efficiency, but only about 0.5% per year.

Aside from the obvious benefit to the environment we did save some money, but the exact amount is very hard to pin down because of changing rates and variation in our usage. An estimate is $4100 plus $1460 from selling solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) via the state-run auction system.

The bar chart shown dramatically displays the changes in solar production wrought by day length and sun angle – the abnormally low June production really stands out – 22% less than in 2022. Smoke must have been the main issue as the number of cloudy days only went from 13 to 14 (8%).

Now the big news – we are starting to plan for Phase II – installing panels on the other large CYRE roof. There are 3 major steps:

  • The first step is underway – funding has been secured to replace the roofing on the old CYRE wing, which is near the end of its expected life. We are soliciting bids from roofing companies this month.
  • The next step is to firm up the plans for the new array; the preliminary estimate is for adding 106 (more efficient) panels that would yield 29% more power than the array we have now. Thus, we could generate about 57% of our electrical power needs with the 2 arrays.
  • Then it is your turn to help us with the funding. The present estimate is a $59,000 net cost; that is nearly 50% more than we raised 3 years ago. Fund raising should begin in the spring – Are you ready??

-Bill Hardham