FAQ: How does the Tracker produce more energy? Part 3, shed snow automatically.

In Vermont and New Hampshire, snow is a regular part of life for a significant portion of the year. A solar panel with snow on it will not produce much, if any, energy.

If you have a fixed-mount solar array, you either need to be able to safely access your panels to brush them clean, or leave snow on them until it melts off by itself. Depending on the weather, this might take weeks to happen. Read more

FAQ: How does the Tracker produce more energy? Part 2, face directly at the sun.

Facing directly at the sun means receiving the maximum of the light’s energy. Sunlight falls on a fixed-mount solar array from an indirect angle at all times of the year except two moments. (The precise moments will depend on the tilt and orientation of the array. The ideal fixed-mount array will be perpendicular to the sun only at solar noon on the two equinoxes.) A seasonally adjusted array that has a different tilt for the summer and winter halves of the year will be perpendicular to the sun at only four moments.

Because of this indirect angle to the sun, some of the potential light is lost. Some passes by altogether, and some reflects off as glare. Read more

FAQ: How does the Tracker produce more energy? Part 1, longer days.

During the summer half of the year—from the day after the spring equinox to the day before the autumn equinox—the sun is rising out of the northeast and setting in the northwest (in the northern hemisphere). The “ideal” fixed-mount solar array is oriented due south, since that is the way that it will produce as much energy as it can. However, any time the sun is in the northern half of the sky, which occurs in the morning and afternoon for half of the year, the sun will then be behind the fixed array. Read more

Solar Day, Solar Night

Elon Musk and Tesla have recently announced a major initiative accelerating the transition to a solar future. They are taking their battery technology out of their cars and making it available for houses and the grid. Although the initial release is several months away, and technical details are still lacking, it is a huge and exciting step towards a solar future. Take a look at his video and spread the word:

Community solar forum videos available

Bob the Green Guy recorded two recent “community solar” forums. His videos are now available for your viewing pleasure:

The second forum at the Montshire Museum was particularly interesting. The first speaker was Kevin Jones, director of the Energy Law Clinic at Vermont Law School, which has recently published a report on community solar. He pointed out important legal details which are often glossed over.

The first key points he emphasized is that many so-called “community solar” projects do not actually provide solar to their participants, because they sell off the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) associated with the developments. As a result, any explicit or implicit suggestion that participants of these projects receive solar energy is, in the words of the Federal Trade Commission, “deceptive marketing.” (16 CFR §260.15(d).) Instead of providing their customers with solar energy, developers of such projects actually provide their customers with what is called the “residual mix,” consisting of 60% fossil fuel generation, 37% nuclear generation, with a mere 0.16% solar.

Your energy from Solaflect v1     Your energy if RECs are sold v1

The other point he makes—easy to miss as it happened quickly—is that these sales of RECs do not help to accelerate the development of solar energy. Instead, selling RECs from “community solar” projects actually slows down the overall build out of solar.

Solaflect Energy does not sell any RECs associated with our Community Solar Parks. Our participants are truly going solar, and saving money at the same time.

Solaflect is hiring

Solaflect Energy is looking for an enthusiastic sales person to increase the presence of Solaflect Suspension PV Trackers throughout Vermont and NH. The ideal candidate is personable, and has excellent telephone, interpersonal, presentation, writing and computer skills. Several years of success in consultative sales is ideal, but we are willing to train the right person. A strong interest, background and knowledge in solar or environmental issues is also desirable. A high level of trust and integrity is a requirement for the position.

If you would like to be considered for this position, please send a resume and cover letter to Thera Callahan, tcallahan@solaflect.com.

Successful Season of Suspension PV Tracker Installations

Winter Solar

Winter is coming in Vermont and we are rushing to get our last Suspension PV Trackers into the ground before it is frozen. We have had a great reception in Vermont and New Hampshire, and have had a great season of installing Trackers. Thank you to our new customers!

SunShot Incubator Award

SunShot Incubator Award

Solaflect Energy has won its second $1 million SunShot Incubator award from the U.S. Department of Energy. This nationally competitive peer-reviewed award was granted for Solaflect to continue to refine the material and labor efficient Suspension design of heliostats.
The Suspension HeliostatTM is now even more efficient! Additional steel continues to be eliminated, creating the world’s most material efficient heliostat.