Posts

Snowfall and Solar Systems

If you’re considering going solar, you might be wondering if cold and snowy midwestern winters should affect your decision. This is one of the most asked questions we get.  Third Sun Solar has 19 years of experience installing systems on all types of buildings across Ohio. To date, our portfolio includes nearly 900 installations in the mid-west. These folks didn’t let our cold winters or snowfall discourage them from going solar, and you shouldn’t either!    

Can my solar panels produce energy if they are covered in snow? No, a solid covering of snow all but shuts off production.  The good news is that overall production loss from the snow is very small when looking at performance on an annual basis. Losing a day of production in January is a fraction of a day in July.  Here at Third Sun Solar, our team takes winter’s shorter days, snowfall and the orientation of sunlight all into account when estimating the output of your system. 

Residential Solar System Covered in Snow

Depending on the tilt of your roof and the slant of your panels, snow will typically slide off on its own. Even in the heart of winter solar panels give off a small amount of heat, which helps to warm and melt the snow. Additionally, snow on the ground can reflect light, amplifying the sunlight absorbed by your solar panels. During sunny winter days, the sun will warm the dark solar panels and the snow will melt and snow will typically slide off the smooth surface. An added bonus? Cleaning the panels won’t be necessary, snow can get this job done easily!  

Are cold temperatures bad for my solar panels? Unless covered in snow, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold conditions.  Like most electronics, solar panels function better at colder temperatures than under intense heat.  Most arrays hit their highest power generation of the year on cold clear winter days at noon.   

Should I try to clear the snow off my solar panels? Snow will usually melt quickly off your panels. There is the occasional blizzard, however, that leaves snow lingering on rooftops for an extended period of time. Overall, yearly production loss from snow cover is very small. At Third Sun, we do not recommend trying to clear the solar panels. Getting onto a roof in inclement weather is dangerous and using any type of tool on the panels themselves can damage the panels. Snow falling off of the panels can be a nuisance, and if the lower edge of a roof mounted array is close to the edge of the roof, we will recommend “Snow Guards” over doorways or areas with pedestrian activity. 

Remember that, living in the Midwest, the worst of the winter months and the short days only last for about three months. Time with reduced solar output is limited. In the sunny summer months, your system can generate more solar energy than you use, which will be reflected in a surplus energy credit. At the end of the year, our customers are happy with their overall annual production.   

Now that you know this, consider…  

2019 is the final year to get the full 30% federal tax credit before it drops. Ohio homeowners are realizing the savings and the return on investment will increase when you go solar before the end of 2019.   

If you would like a quote for your home, business, or non-profit please sign up for a free solar estimate or call 877-OWN-SOLAR today.   

Third Sun Solar makes the 2015 “Best for the Environment” list from B Corporation

4/14/2015

Third Sun Solar is proud to be part of a larger movement which is striving to redefine success in business so all companies compete to not only be the best in the world, but best for the world. Healthy profits don’t mean much without a healthy planet, and we run our business with that in mind. That’s why we’re proud to lead our fellow B Corps in working to improve the quality of life for our community as a 2015 Best for Environment honoree.

How are we Best for the Environment? We earned an environmental impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on workers, the community and the environment. That means every day, along with our fellow honorees, we help create a healthier planet by taking the lead in advancing renewable energy usage, reducing carbon footprints, and cutting our resource use and waste stream.

A B Corp since 2012, we’re leading a global movement to redefine success in business so one day all companies compete to be not only the best in the world, but best for the world. We join over 1,200 other companies committed to using business as a force for good. Check them all out at bcorporation.net.

Taking people and planet as seriously as our profits is at the heart of our company’s mission. That’s why we have done things like:

  • installed solar on our own offices to produce almost 70% of our company’s electricity through clean power;
  • conducted a waste audit to see how we could cut down on our waste products even further;
  • encouraged and assisted other businesses to take action to become B Corporations;
  • sell a clean energy product every day with the mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy.

We couldn’t do all this without the support of our customers, our employees and our community. These are people like you who believe in our mission—people who prove that doing good is also good for business. Thank you helping us to succeed where it truly matters. We are proud to be Best for the Environment.

Please check out our fellow honorees—along with those who are Best for the World, Best for Workers and Best for Communities,—and help us spread the word. And contact us if you want to learn more about how your business or your employer can become a B Corp.

Find a good solar installer

Third Sun Solar

A Third Sun Solar installer crew at work

We get many kinds of questions from prospective customers—some who are merely curious about solar energy, others who are more serious about going solar. Often we are asked about our track record as a solar installer, and we’re asked to compare ourselves to our competitors. While national standards are sorely lacking, we have always ranked among the best solar installers in Ohio and the region; we have had experienced utility officials tell us we’re the best Ohio solar installer and the best Ohio solar company. But we don’t hang our hat on heresay—our project experience speaks for itself, and the compliments that mean the most to us come from our customers (see our home page for some of those). Here are the bare facts:

  • We have been in business since 2000.
  • We have completed over 350 successful renewable energy projects.
  • Our founder, Geoff Greenfield, has been building solar projects since 1997.
  • Geoff now sits on the Board of Directors for NABCEP, the “gold standard” certification body for solar installers.
  • Geoff also sits on the board of SolarTech, an initiative of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group—working to establish quality standards for the solar industry.
  • We offer a strong workmanship warranty on all of our solar projects.
  • Our reputation is worth more to us than money.
  • We are in it for the long haul. We build top-quality solar energy systems that are designed to produce clean electricity for 30+ years. We’ll be here to make sure they do.

Solar Installers Talking

Here is a comment about Third Sun Solar made by another solar installation company. Not a competitor–they operate in another part of the country–their observation is based on their knowledge of our company and our Third Sun Solar reputation as one of the region’s best solar installers:

Third Sun Solar offers–

  • Critical knowledge of solar tax and utility incentives
  • An impressive job portfolio
  • Best solar installation methods using their own crews
  • Best solar equipment options, from the most efficient to the most affordable

Naturally, we were delighted to see ourselves described in that way. We’re working hard to build on our reputation, both inside the industry and with our customers.

The Real Value Difference

People often come to us with questions about specific brands of solar panel. We use select panels from a variety of manufacturers, both US-made and imported. If a customer has a preference for a specific brand, we can usually provide them; but part of our mission is to recommend and install the best products, and we sometimes steer customers away from one brand and towards another, based on our research into panel quality and our experience with different brands. Because our top executives are so linked into the best industry sources of information, we can make these recommendations with confidence. We want our customers to have the best system to meet their energy requirements, available space, and budget.

The fact is, most of the solar panels in the market now are quite good. Solar panel technology, and the processes to manufacture, have stabilized and become more standardized over time. Quoting from the SROECO website, “most solar panels on the market are high-quality and will have a guaranteed output of not less than 90% after 10 years and not less than 80% after 25 years. Any brand panel should have this warranty, whether it’s made in China, Germany, or America.” The outstanding exception is Sunpower, widely regarded as the best of all panels, with the highest efficiency rating of any, and also the highest price tag.

For the consumer, a better differentiator than the panel brand or warranty is the experience and reputation of the installer. Third Sun Solar has completed over 350 successful installations; we have been in business for 14 years; and we have a great reputation among our customers. One of our core company values is, “we’re in it for the long haul.” Our 14 years of experience and excellent reputation is what we build and stand upon; we have grown steadily by doing things the right way.

A solar electric system is a 30-year investment that should provide real value over its entire lifespan. In the end, choose an installer who will build your system well and stand by it over time. That is the smartest solar market differentiator.

Holzer Clinic Installation

 

Third Sun Solar Ranked 32nd Energy Company on the Inc. 5000

Third Sun Solar Ranked 32nd Energy Company on the Inc. 5000

Three-Year Growth of 390% Places Third Sun Solar Number 742 Overall on Inc. Magazine’s Exclusive List of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Companies.

NEW YORK, August 19, 2009Inc. magazine this month ranked Third Sun Solar number 32 among energy companies, number 21 among Ohio based companies and number 742 overall on its annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s entrepreneurs. Consumer electronics maker Vizio, Internet giant GoDaddy, and beverage maker Honest Tea are a few of the prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

“Savvy trend spotters and those who invest in private companies know that the Inc. 5000 is the best place to find out about young companies that are achieving success through a wide variety of unprecedented business models, as well as older private companies that are still expanding at an impressive rate,” said Inc. 5000 project manager Jim Melloan. “That’s why our list is so eagerly anticipated every year.”

Commenting on the announcement, Third Sun Solar President Geoff Greenfield said, “We’ve been working on solar projects of all shapes and sizes since 1997, but making the Inc. list this year points to how far the industry has come.  Solar now makes economic sense in addition to environmental sense – even here in the Midwest”.  He added, “While other sectors are contracting, renewable energy is growing, and Third Sun is working hard to create sustainable jobs while providing sustainable energy.  I am especially proud of our team of dedicated people that have worked so hard to get us here, and I look forward to rapid growth as more customers decide to turn their roofs into productive assets”.

The 2009 Inc. 5000, unveiled this August on Inc.com, serves as a unique report card on the U.S. economy. Despite the ongoing recession, aggregate revenue among the companies on the list actually increased to $214 billion, up $29 billion from last year, with a median three-year growth rate of 126 percent. The Inc. 5000 are responsible for creating more than 1 million jobs since their founding, making the list perhaps the best example of the impact private, fast-growing companies can have on the economy. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on Inc.com.

About Third Sun Solar & Wind Power Ltd.

Third Sun Solar is the Midwest’s leading provider of solar energy systems to utility, commercial, residential and institutional customers.  Following construction of their own solar powered home in 1997, founders Geoff and Michelle Greenfield launched Third Sun in 2000 to serve the nascent solar market in the region. Third Sun has grown to become a top tier design, supply and installation resource for best in class solar systems.          www.Third-Sun.Com (877) OWN-SOLAR