Should I Wait?

by Philip Allen

Sometimes, Marlene and I are asked if we regret going solar 17 years ago due to the fact that the modules have improved dramatically in both wattage and efficiency. Our original Evergreen Solar modules on our garage roof were made in Massachusetts and are 180 watts and 15% efficient.

Evergreen is long out of business, and if we were to do the roof now, we would use Silfab 410-watt modules at 23% efficiency. So, yes, a new array is better than the old one. But regrets? None. This array started our contribution to clean energy and our small part in battling climate change, and they have paid for themselves in tax benefits and Green Mountain Power credits.

There are some forms of technology where it is wise to wait. Phones, computers, and TVs, for example. They get faster, smarter, and higher in resolution. But solar arrays ARE the power plant that provides all the kWhs for these things. As long as it is powering your home, it is not obsolete. Solar arrays APPRECIATE.

When we installed our first solar array in 2006, a kWh was worth 8 cents; now, it is worth 18 cents. Our arrays are worth whatever the utility is charging. Our three arrays have produced 167 megawatts, that’s 167,000 kWhs and offsetting 83 TONS of carbon thus far. We expect even the oldest to give us another ten years of free clean energy.

At some point, you have to commit to clean energy. We should have all done this 40 years ago, but it is not too late to begin. Will the technology get better? We sure hope so, but your solar array will never become obsolete because it IS your powerplant, just as the grid is not obsolete though it is 110 years old.

On the other hand, the Chevy Bolt in the driveway? We have replaced our EVs three times as that technology gets old, automobiles depreciate, and they lose that new car smell!

Contact Us to Learn More.

News Release: Same Sun Solarizes Whitehall Armory

WHITEHALL, NY – Same Sun of Vermont is pleased to announce that the solar project at the former Whitehall Armory, located at 62 Poultney Street in the Village of Whitehall, is now underway.  A total of 184 solar modules will be installed on the south-facing roof of the main facility, a castle-like structure that was originally built in 1899.

Marlene Allen of Same Sun & Roark Merrill of Winter Fellowship

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Whitehall Armory has housed U.S. Military and National Guard units going back to the Spanish American War.  The 37,000 square foot, brick and stone medieval-style structure sits on Poultney Street near the Champlain Canal, at the entrance to the Village’s historic waterfront. 

“No one who built this Armory is alive now. And the people who did build it would never have imagined that one day it would be solar powered. This is the significance of bringing 21st century technology to a 19th century landmark; you become very aware of the continuum that is our past and our future.” said Philip Allen, owner of Same Sun of Vermont.  

Same Sun Crew Preparing Roof

Vacated by the military in 2009, the property was redeveloped as an Athletic Club before transferring to the current owner, Winter Fellowship LLC.   The solar project was conceived in 2022 as a way to reduce the carbon footprint as well as costs, and a long permitting process ensued that involved approvals from the Village of Whitehall and Washington County, as well as the utility, National Grid.  NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency, will provide incentive funding through its NY-SUN program.

Emily Palm-Stikkers, Operations Manager at Same Sun, who shepherded the project through the design phase explained, “Any commercial solar array comes with site-specific challenges that require meticulous planning. Installing one on a 120-year-old historic armory that is the centerpiece of a small town adds even more layers of consideration, partnerships with multiple entities, and technical challenges. Bringing this impressive building up to modern NEC and building code standards, while maintaining its historical charm, has meant that great care and detail have gone into the visible attributes.“

Each year the 59.8kW array will generate 63,000 kWhs of clean, renewable energy to power future activities.

Gov. Hochul at CHPE Ceremony

Whitehall has traditionally been known as the Birthplace of the U.S. Navy, but in the past year has taken on additional significance as a hub in the Champlain Hudson Power Express, an underground and underwater pipeline that will bring 1.25 megawatts of hydro-electricity from Quebec to New York City.  The announcement and ceremonial groundbreaking of this project took place at the Amory in November 2022, presided over by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul.

Same Sun of Vermont was established in 2011 by Marlene Lederman Allen and Philip Allen of Rutland Town, Vermont as a solar sales and service firm. More recently, Same Sun specializes in installations of EV chargers. Headquartered in historic downtown Rutland, Same Sun focuses on customer-driven solutions for the residential and commercial marketplace in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. Contact us at: www.samesunvt.com/contact.