Wealthy Warren | Solar panel set up course of a clean one | Science-technology


Cue Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

My solar panels went online on the day of the winter solstice, an auspicious day with no solar energy being produced.

Not only is the sun low in the sky with short days, but the panels also lack a means of clearing snow.

I had assumed that there would be a slippery Rain-X type coating that would cause snow to slide off.

When it’s ultra cold, as it has been for the past few weeks, even the sun cannot melt the snow.

On the few sunny days before the last snowfall, the panels generated almost 30 kilowatts.

With the unchanging problems of the local climate in mind, solar energy is the way forward.

StraightUp Solar excelled in installing the system. The professionalism has been raised to a higher level.

Understand that I paid full list price and received no discounts based on this column.

After some back and forth about contractual clauses and planning the initial inspection, the installation went like magic.

StraightUp first used satellite photos to get a glimpse of my roof and tree cover.

Computer simulations of solar radiation and variables such as seasonal tree shade, roof angle and related factors were then performed.

Using this simulation, she calculated the number and placement of the panels and how much electricity they would produce to meet my expectation of providing more than 95 percent of my electricity consumption.

They offered other configurations at a lower cost, but I decided to go all the way. StraightUp took care of all paperwork, permits and permits.

A few weeks before the installation, they carefully checked my attics, electrical entry panel, and the location of my internet router. The system requires an internet connection.

Enphase, the system integrator and manufacturer, monitors the system and allows you to monitor your system via an iOS or Android app or on your desktop computer.

Without it, you cannot receive financial credits for your sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to a broker.

The friendly StraightUp crew arrived on a Tuesday in December. They wore masks to prevent COVID-19 and covered their shoes with boots so as not to track down the mud in the house.

After long days, they finished the installation on Thursday.

The electrician returned on Friday morning for the finishing touches, including my request to install a jack for the ethernet cable on the router instead of a dangling cable sticking out of the wall.

The jack wasn’t included in the contract, but StraightUp agreed to it.

StraightUp warned me in advance that it was going to break open a drywall in the garage and put some gray boxes connected by a metal pipe on the outside wall near the electricity meter.

Your crew achieved this as neatly as possible. This spring I’ll be hiring a painter to fix the drywall and paint the pipe.

The electrician tested and certified the system that Friday and notified Ameren that the system was ready.

Four days later the Ameren technician arrived to install my new grid metering electricity meter, which could be used to sell electricity back to Ameren.

He approved the portion of the installation connected to Ameren and pressed the switch to begin feeding the grid.

StraightUp’s courteous staff was very quick to respond to my inquiries and concerns.

Only the SREC broker Carbon Solutions Group (CSG) caused great difficulties and problems.

Do not agree to the extensive online contract. Insist on reading a paper contract and taking it to your lawyer.

Otherwise, you face a decade of fear.

(The system works just fine without selling your SRECs. However, without an SREC agreement, you could lose up to $ 10,000 in a decade. If you want to use your solar energy to charge a battery wall, you can’t sell your SRECs.)

If you want to help slow climate change or just slow your electricity bill, visit Straightupsolar.com (844-977-6227).

I’m looking forward to longer days and brighter sunshine with falling electricity bills.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime consumer electronics reviewer. Email him at hifiguy@volo.net.

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