Going Solar in the Snow

World Changing (external - login to view) By Jamais Cascio

When we talk about home solar, we regularly hear assertions that it's fine for people living in regions that are (mostly) sunny year-round, but not a good investment for people living in places that get a lot of snow in the winter and rain in the summer. Solar homes are fine in the desert southwest US, but certainly not in the northern midwest or northeast United States.

Don't try to tell that to the Compaan family of Ohio, the Watson family of Massachusetts, or the Lord family of Maine. They all use solar power as their primary energy sources in their homes, and are quite happy with it. The Campaans have even converted a pickup truck to electric-only mode, so they drive solar, as well. And as verification that solar in the north works well, all three websites include photos of their homes covered in snow, photovoltaic panels clearly visible.

All three are grid-connected, and enjoy "net metering," where surplus energy is sold to the power company. In the winter, they do pull from the grid more often than they supply, but the annual balance works in their favor. (The Watsons are considering adding a wind turbine for winter power, but haven't yet seen a need.) This is an important point about the Bright Green world of distributed energy: it's not about going "off-grid," it's about being on the supply side of the grid.

Continue reading "Going Solar in the Snow" at the link provided above.
I live in Arizona where we SHOULD have plenty of solar but we don't!
Great! A fellow desert rat! We lived in Tombstone for six year and I worked in Sierra Vista. We loved Arizona and Indian Art. We plan to visit northern Az in the spring
My friend wanted to try solar here but I convinced him that we did not receive enough sunshine in the winter to power up a lightbulb. Was I wrong? I understand that the ultraviolet hits us on cloudy and overcast days,too,so can solar power operate off that?

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