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March 22, 2018

Sun Day Solar Case Study: Dale and Margaret Walker

Last year, Sun Day Solar workers were busy putting panels on the split roof of Margaret and Dale Walker’s Charlottesville property. The result is an attractive installation that’s saving the Walkers a lot of money on their electrical bills – but it took some collaborative work to get this project up and running.  

The Nuts and Bolts of Solar Installation

Before installing the panels, there was significant work to be done. Five trees had to be cut down, and the Walkers decided to go ahead with a needed roof replacement before adding solar panels. After that, there were design choices and layout decisions. Doing a solar project is more than just setting panels on a roof and hooking them up. Experts and specialists have to know how to support a specific property in the best way – in this project, there was the need to find enough sunny space, as well as keeping walkways safe and attaching accessories such as a snow retention system. The beautiful solar installation that graces the Walkers’ roof was based on some deliberate process. “We had been looking at it for a while,” Dale Walker said earlier this month, talking about the Walkers’ motivations for pursuing the solar project. — He also said on a trip to Germany, a place of ancestry for his wife, he found himself thinking that the United States should have more competitive infrastructure, and wondering why the American economy lags behind in terms of a technology that’s so evidently useful. When the project got started, Walker said, it only took the crew about a week, despite some bad weather days, as well as stiflingly hot temperatures.

Solar in Style

The Walkers are also loving the look of the finished project, enjoying stylish U.S.-made panels in black, with painted metallic conduit running parallel to the gutters of the house. Walker talked about how matching the panels to the roof and getting made-in-the-USA panels helped add quality to the finished result. “He gave us a really good deal,” Walker said, explaining that while they were going to be getting Canadian-made panels, Sun Day Solar found the U.S. panels would look nicer against the dark shingle roof.

Electric Bill Savings

The Walkers are also seeing a great number on most of their electric bills from Dominion: zero. Pointing out that many Southern homes are poorly insulated, Walker said net metering with solar really make sense for a lot of households in his area. As a result of getting solar installed, the Walkers have not had to pay a cent to Dominion over several months, although they did recently get a bill during the cold streak this past winter. Dominion has entered a net metering agreement with the Walkers, which means they are allowed to store excess electrical production on the grid and use it later when the sun is not shining. Walker estimates they often get several hundred kilowatt hours per month in excess power generated.  In this way a customer gets to use 100% of the power they produce with solar. The Walker project is just one of many success stories from SunDaySolar. By taking the time to really focus on each customer’s property, we offer the means to make solar dreams into reality in a practical, comfortable way that will enhance the value of your home. When you want to partner with a winning solar firm, call Sun Day Solar and ask about financial incentives, easy installation, and more.
December 4, 2017

Facebooks Joins the Solar Revolution in Virginia

For a while now, we’ve been pointing out how some of the biggest American retailers are gravitating toward setting up massive solar farms to source energy. Perhaps the biggest example is Amazon, which is taking over from so many ‘bricks and mortar’ sellers that it requires enormous amounts of energy to support its operations. We’ve seen Amazon expand into multiple locations in the state of Virginia, opening up solar farms to generate gigawatts of solar energy.


Now there are new reports that another behemoth of branding, this time a tech industry giant, is set to make a big investment in Virginia solar.


In October, reports came out that Facebook intends to spend over $1 billion in Virginia; that includes a $750 million investment to create almost 1,000,000 square feet of space for a data center in Virginia’s Henrico County, just outside of the capital of Richmond. Reportedly, Facebook will also spend hundreds of million dollars for solar installations that will feed that data center with the sustainable energy of the sun.

“I am proud to welcome Facebook to Henrico County, and look forward to a strong partnership.” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a press statement.


A Facebook director of data strategy is quoted on CNBC as saying that Facebook “looks for clean and reviewable energy sources” and “great partnerships within the local community.”


Facebook has also said it is committed to the eventual goal of 100% renewable energy sources for its business operations.


We think that the Facebook example is another unique way to illustrate just how big this solar boom is becoming, and how significant it’s going to be.


This isn’t just a few more people choosing to run their homes and businesses on solar. This is the biggest names in American business coming forward and saying that they want to make the investment, not just to a certain extent, but totally. In Texas Hold’em terms, they’re “all in.” And so are many of the smaller businesses and households that purchase energy from state utilities. We’ve seen Dominion fight tooth and nail to stop the burgeoning demand for solar — but the utilities are now giving in, offering net metering services and acknowledging that what the public really wants these clean renewable solar energy.


This is an exciting time to jump on the solar bandwagon. Ask Sun Day Solar about everything you could do to set up installations that are right for your property. Ask about incentives and ways to make these projects more affordable, and move forward with a trusted local solar company in Charlottesville, VA.


November 27, 2017

Four Considerations for Rotating Solar Panels


As communities across Virginia and the rest of the country continue to adopt solar energy systems at a tremendous rate, you’re more likely to see a wider diversity of installations near where you live.


One example is the idea of creating panels that are able to move in a rotational range of motion — a rotating system allows the panel to change positions to optimize light harvesting throughout a day.


With more diverse systems, property owners have more choices about how to set up solar systems on their properties. Here are four basic things to know about rotating solar panels.


Rotating solar panels are generally more costly — since the rotating panels require specialized parts, they’re going to be more expensive to install. By contrast, it’s easy to set up a fixed solar panel on the roof or on the ground — compared to the rotating variety, fixed solar panels are becoming very affordable.


Rotating solar panels have a higher maintenance burden — of course, you’re going to also have more maintenance needs when dealing with rotating solar panels. Even well-engineered systems will need some sort of maintenance over time, where fixed panels simply sit on a roof or other mounted space and need very little maintenance over a long period of time.


You get a lot more power — one of the big pros of rotating solar panels is that they can move with the sun to harvest much more power throughout the day. For example, check out this article from Inhabitat where one supplier boasts that it’s cone panels can generate up to 20 times more than a flat panel. You get the idea.


They’re good for smaller areas — one of the best applications of rotating solar panels is where a property doesn’t have enough space to harvest the energy that it needs with fixed panel systems. Many of the larger solar farms and many smaller systems on large parcels of land have fixed panels because they can afford the space and save money. However, if there is a capacity issue due to grading, forest canopy, buildings or other considerations, a rotating solar panel design can be a way to up production without increasing the land used for solar harvesting.


Rotating solar panels aren’t just theoretical — for example, take a look at reporting from the Northern Virginia Daily this month on a new solar project in Mount Jackson that has just been given a green light by the town council.


If you are in Charlottesville or around the Albemarle County area, Sun Day Solar can help you to figure out which type of system is the best for your particular property. Talk to us about all of your practical questions on installation and maintenance, and ask about various incentives and grants available to fund solar improvements. Let us help you to get the best system for your property, and start enjoying renewable energy!

November 20, 2017

Solar Schools in Bath County Show New Benchmark for Renewables

Many people tend to be most familiar with Bath County, Virginia as the host of the famous Jefferson Pools in warm Springs — but although some of the towns in this county trade a lot on the history of America, there are also very new innovations coming to Bath County, particularly its schools, in the form of groundbreaking solar energy projects.


News media reported earlier this month that Bath County’s Valley Elementary is going to be the first school in the state to be 100% powered by solar energy. By filling the roof of the school with solar panels, the district is getting enough power to comfortably run an entire school building!

That’s not all that’s going on, either — administrators are looking at powering more of the entire district’s energy footprint with solar in the years to come. Reports indicate that the school district has already passed the 50% benchmark, so that it’s not unreasonable to think that years from now, the entire district can be run on solar – that’s all of the buildings, and everything that happens inside of them, which probably comes with a pretty significant energy bill. HVAC may or may not be included – but that’s still a good chunk of change, and it shows how a solar power project can pay for itself many times over through time.


We’ve already talked about some of the main factors in Virginia’s solar revolution — you have a governor’s office committed to promoting renewables, and one of the biggest retail operations of all time, Amazon, constructing massive solar farms in places like Accomack County. You have state-of-the-art solar facilities springing up in places like Chesapeake and the rural areas around Roanoke. Nearly everywhere in the state, property owners and businesses and government offices are thinking outside the box to put more different kinds of solar installations in place — to take Virginia off of the old oil and gas fuel systems that can harm the environment, and switch over to green, sustainable energy use.


But another factor is consumer choice. We know that the utilities have had to be ‘strong-armed’ into going along with solar efforts, just because so many customers want solar energy – this and other indicators show that there really is a will on the part of small businesses and individual households to get solar going.


If you want to outfit your property for solar energy production, talk to Sun Day Solar. We’ve been helping record numbers of clients install solar systems in their homes and businesses. We know how to consult on what’s practical for your property, and what will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of incentives, grants and government programs. Talk to an established and dedicated solar power installer and get a trouble-free process, to get the power of the sun working for you.

November 13, 2017

School Projects are Signs of Solar Growth

Learning about solar in the classroom is more than just a way to learn about ecology, or physics. In Virginia and other places, it’s now about the intersection of several powerful forces, and the future of our energy use.


This past fall, the Washington Post reported on a 2017 wind energy competition in which a team at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax won second place in a 2017 KidWind science challenge by building a wind turbine model.


Robert D’Souza, the instructor who worked with students on the turbine project, explain how solar-based projects prepare students for a future in which renewables will be central to energy plans in communities.


Sure, it’s nice for students to know how turbine works from a physics perspective, and this might be a conventional part of curriculum — but look closer, and you’ll see that many of these types of learning are seen as early “jobs programs preparation” as well — we reported last week on how solar jobs are the fastest-growing profession in America, and that’s leading both public and private sector planners to focus on the power of wind, solar and other renewables.


Students at Lanier relied on resources from the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, which has assisted with ten turbine projects across the state.

While students are building these physical infrastructure models, they’re also learning something else — how important naturally derived energy will be in their worlds as they grow.


In Virginia, many experts are looking at how political will has that built for renewables and the solar industry in particular. The outgoing governor Terry McAuliffe has laid a lot of the groundwork for his successors to get even more proactive on solar — and reports now show that some new Virginia House of Delegates members are now choosing to reject certain kinds of lobbying that promote the “old ways of oil”  including money from major utility companies. This is a big deal, and the ramifications of this news are going to ripple around the state in a big way!


Ask Sun Day Solar about how you can benefit from green energy for your small business or property. We help a wide range of clients in Charlottesville and the surrounding area to figure out what works for them, and assist early adopters in this massive move towards cleaner and inevitably more affordable energy sources.