“Yeah, but does solar work in Buffalo???”
That’s a question that we in the WNY Solar industry hear at least once a day. It is a very relevant question, at that. In a city known for its inclement weather, overcast skies, and snow storms that still manage to catch us off guard, how could we possibly believe that a solar panel could produce during those frosty months? Sometimes you’ll get a November like we’re having now, 60 degrees and sunny every day. This month to date alone, we have systems producing at over 190% of the expected efficiency, according to our monitoring system. As part of our solar installations, every solar system is accompanied with a device that plugs into the inverter as well as your internet router. This device sends data directly to our dashboard allowing us to monitor the production of every system installed.
The truth is that during the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky and our days are shorter, meaning a solar panel will definitely produce less than it would during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall. That’s where net metering comes into play. The Net Metering Model is the solution to lower energy production related to the winter months. In this model, we’re taking advantage of the fact that during the warmer months, due to the longer days, producing a great deal more. When this happens, you begin to accumulate a bank of stored energy credits. The goal is that, when those chilly months start to hit, those stored energy credits will carry you through. By your net metering anniversary date, you will be energy neutral, producing as much energy as you are consuming annually.
Weather is difficult to predict, but every system we design is backed up by 30 years of location specific weather data. We may have a rough winter here and there, but the sun will always be shining, and we will keep designing.