2023 as A Local Vermont Solar Company

As 2023 comes to an end:


We want to take a moment to reflect and celebrate both the businesses and individuals we have been able to work with throughout the year. 

When Same Sun opened its doors in Vermont thirteen years ago, we believed our mission was important: to work with folks to produce clean solar energy. In 2011, those kilowatt-hours primarily powered your lights and electrical appliances.  Now, because of subzero heat pumps and a long list of EVs on the market, solar is heating your homes and powering your cars.  Our dream is coming true: move all you can from fossil fuels to the grid and power the grid with your own solar array!  Same Sun celebrated this at the Paramount Theatre this last Spring with “An Electrifying Afternoon.”

An Electrifying Afternoon

2023, The Paramount Theatre

In 2023, probably our most famous Vermont client, Whistlepig Whiskey, chose to add a ground array to the unusual and impressive rooftop array Same Sun completed years ago. Together, these two arrays provide all the electricity the distillery employs. 100% clean energy; as if one needed another reason to enjoy this premium rye whiskey!


Misconceptions Around Solar Power in Vermont

It’s that time of year again, the temps have dropped and the snow has started falling. If you read our last blog post about optimizing your solar power in Vermont, then you already know one way to get the most value from your solar. We often hear, “Solar can’t possibly work in a Northeastern climate.”  But it does.  A common misconception with solar panels is that colder weather means less production; it’s quite the opposite. We are here to explain how solar energy works in the winter and debunk any myths you might have heard. 

The days are shorter during the winter, meaning less time for solar to produce, but this is made up for by greater efficiency of the panels in the cold! Solar panels produce energy from the sun’s light, not the sun’s heat. It may seem counterintuitive that they would perform better in colder temperatures, but they do. This is because as the temperature rises, solar panels lose efficiency due to increased resistance in the electrical circuit. In colder temperatures, solar panels are able to maintain a more consistent voltage, which leads to an increase in their overall efficiency. This means those cold, sunny days will still produce plenty of energy to power your home or business.

Although snow can block some of the sun from getting to the panels, it usually does not affect production enough to make solar any less worth it during the winter months. Most solar panels are installed at an angle, whether they are on the roof or on the ground. This makes it easy for the snow to slide off, and the warmth from the panels will melt it at faster rates. Oftentimes, the snow on the ground can actually reflect more light into your panels.  This is particularly true of our ground mounts, where we use bifacial solar modules that generate power from both sides! 

We can’t speak for other companies, but ours provides an estimate of your solar  generation throughout the year. So if a snowstorm blocks your panels for a few sunny days- it’s likely been accounted for in your production estimate. The summer months often overproduce, meaning if there is a chance of snow in your forecast, you probably have remaining solar credits to make up for it. If you prefer to see a consistent amount of production though, there is the option to clean them off.

3. Panels Require More Maintenance During the Winter Months

As we mentioned above, it doesn’t hurt to clean off your solar panels when a heavy snowstorm rolls through. This doesn’t mean that it is a necessity. You can count on the summer months and sunny winter days to provide you with plenty of energy to get you through the winter. For those who love to ensure the highest rates of productivity for their panels, there are some easy options for cleaning off the panels. They make tools like a “SnowJoe”, that is meant for scraping the snow off your panels. If you have ground mounts, then cleaning off your solar should be easy. For the roof, on the other hand, you may need an extension pole. If you have solar panels on your roof- NEVER- get on top to try to clean them off. This is extremely dangerous and unnecessary. If you can scrape off the bottom of the array, the sunlight will heat the panels and cause the rest of the snow to melt. The power of the sun will do most of the work for you!

So is solar power worth it in places like Vermont that have harsh winter months? As a local solar company based in an area that deals with this kind of climate, we can say the answer is yes. Our customers receive lower electricity costs all year round. Solar companies that are reliable give you peace of mind in knowing that they take all seasons into account for your installation. This means you won’t have to worry over the colder months.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 802.775.7900, or email us at info@samesun.com.

Maximizing the Value of Your Solar Power in Vermont

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Solar?

If you have solar power, congratulations–you are already reaping the benefits of saving on your electric bill.  But did you know you can further increase your savings with one simple step?

For Green Mountain Power customers, the step that we recommend for residential solar owners is to switch to Rate 11.

Green Mountain Power offers different billing rates to its customers whether they have solar energy or not. Each rate is meant for a different type of usage and dictates how you pay for the kilowatt-hours (kWhs) you buy from the utility. The default is Rate 1, which is a set rate of approximately 18 cents for every kWh of electricity used. 

How do you know what rate you have? It will be located on the back of your Green Mountain Power bill.

What is Rate 11?

Rate 11 is a Residential Time of Use Service available to single-family homes, individual apartments, and farms. This means that a week is broken down into “peak” and “non-peak” periods and what you are charged for kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed is based on the time at which you use them.  Peak Hours are considered Monday through Friday for eight consecutive hours between 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm. 

During peak times, you are charged a higher than normal price, about 28 cents per kWh. A lower-priced off-peak kWh charge of 12.5 cents the rest of the time mitigates this, however.  Once you know which hours are most expensive, you can plan around that.  For example, you can program your EV Charger or Dishwasher to start running after 9pm, or only do laundry on mornings and weekends.

Therefore, Rate 11 is a great option for  the type of person who doesn’t use a lot of electricity during the day, but is home a lot on weeknights and weekends.  With solar, Rate 11 is the best option even if you are using electricity during peak times. 

Why Rate 11 Is the Better Choice if you have Solar:

When you go solar, your relationship with the utility company changes.  You are no longer simply purchasing kilowatt-hours, you are generating them.  When your solar is working, the first thing it does is provide the power for any consumption happening at a given moment.  If there is more generation that you are using, the excess is monetized and stored in your net meter bank, to be drawn on at times that your solar is not generating, e.g. at night.  

This means that for most of the peak hours, your solar will be working and taking care of your electricity consumption – you will therefore not see peak hour consumption charges even if you are using electricity then.  If you are overproducing during that time, you will have credit left over that is worth about 15.5 cents per kWh–still more valuable than the rate you will pay off-peak.

In comparison, if you have Rate 1, you are paying the set rate 24/7.  You get no benefit from lower rates during the hours that your solar is not producing, leading to a higher bill overall.

Same Sun owners Philip and Marlene Allen have been using Rate 11 for their solar-powered home for more than four years, and they have enjoyed a 20 – 40% reduction in their bill depending on the time of year. 

Rate 11 can be a great way to save money on your electric bill whether or not you have solar, but more so if you do. For questions, contact Same Sun for information about Green Mountain Power’s rates and how solar impacts your electricity bill.

141 West Street, 
Rutland, VT 05701
United States

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Same Sun Presents: The River Events

Come Learn About Solar Energy and Meet Our Team!

Join us at one of two local restaurants for an evening of food, drinks and giveaways. The River Events will be an opportunity to learn about the benefits of solar energy in an inviting social environment. November 2nd, from 5-7 PM, join us at the Clear River Inn and Tavern, in Pittsfield, VT. Alternatively, if it is more convenient, join us November 9th from 5-7 PM at The River Pub and Grill in Brandon, VT.

Meet Our Company

If you are considering solar for your home or business, come meet with owners Philip and Marlene Allen to get to know more about our company. Our staff will be there to answer any questions you may have about solar, and our processes. With both events hosted at locally owned (and solar-powered) restaurants, this is a great opportunity to mingle with other like minded Vermonters.

All we require is an RSVP!

Food. Drinks. Giveaways. Solar Energy.

During each event, we will host raffles with prizes from our local solarized partners such as Whistlepig Whiskey and The Paramount Theater.

Attendees will receive access to our “River Event Promotion”, offering a free solar site evaluation, and a potential discount of up to $1000 dollars off your solar project if you decide to move forward. 

To RSVP:

If you think solar might be the right choice for you, come and let us answer any questions you may have! This is a great opportunity to learn more about your energy options with a fun night out!

To RSVP, call us at 802.775.7900, or email us at info@samesunvt.com with your information, including which event you will be attending, the names of each individual, as well as a phone number where we can reach you.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Same Sun Presents: The River Events

Come Learn About Solar Energy and Meet Our Team!

Join us at one of two local restaurants for an evening of food, drinks and giveaways. The River Events will be an opportunity to learn about the benefits of solar energy in an inviting social environment. November 2nd, from 5-7 PM, join us at the Clear River Inn and Tavern, in Pittsfield, VT. Alternatively, if it is more convenient, join us November 9th from 5-7 PM at The River Pub and Grill in Brandon, VT.

Meet Our Company

If you are considering solar for your home or business, come meet with owners Philip and Marlene Allen to get to know more about our company. Our staff will be there to answer any questions you may have about solar, and our processes. With both events hosted at locally owned (and solar-powered) restaurants, this is a great opportunity to mingle with other like minded Vermonters.

All we require is an RSVP!

Food. Drinks. Giveaways. Solar Energy.

During each event, we will host raffles with prizes from our local solarized partners such as Whistlepig Whiskey and The Paramount Theater.

Attendees will receive access to our “River Event Promotion”, offering a free solar site evaluation, and a potential discount of up to $1000 dollars off your solar project if you decide to move forward. 

To RSVP:

If you think solar might be the right choice for you, come and let us answer any questions you may have! This is a great opportunity to learn more about your energy options with a fun night out!

To RSVP, call us at 802.775.7900, or email us at info@samesunvt.com with your information, including which event you will be attending, the names of each individual, as well as a phone number where we can reach you.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Solar Lease VS. Buy

Solar Arrays: Why Lease when you Can Own?

Renting and leasing-so common in so many industries. We sometimes rent or lease apartments, cars, electronics, and furniture, and some may even say we have a lease on life. In certain cases, a lease can offer the short-term, affordable commitment you seek. So it makes sense you might be asking yourself- “is it better to lease vs. buy my solar array?”

In the solar market, some companies will offer what seems to be a shiny alternative to purchasing solar outright. These companies go door-to-door targeting homeowners with an offer that, at first glance, might seem desirable. They will describe a solar lease as a financially sound alternative to owning that will lower your electric bill and allow you to take part in a sustainable lifestyle.

If you are thinking about going solar or have been offered this kind of lease by a solar company, which is usually a large national business, we are here to warn you of some of the flaws that come along with this kind of “investment”.

When it comes to solar panels, here’s why buying is best:

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels? Buying is better.

Return on Investment:

When a consumer leases solar panels, they pay for service fees, any consumption charges not covered by the solar panels, and a payment to the leasing company. Thus, you will continue to have a monthly bill ranging from $150 to $250 per month on average. The leasing company will say you are getting a discount on your electricity charges but for some homeowners, the payment might end up being the same, if not more than their current electric bill! If you choose to buy out of your leasing agreement, many companies charge more than the remainder owed.

Although purchasing solar requires more of an upfront investment, it will remain just that—an investment. With top-quality equipment, you can expect your solar panels to last typically around 30 years. 30 years with a very low monthly electric bill and a guaranteed return on investment long before then. If upfront cost is an issue, there are many solar loans that use the equipment itself as collateral, and not home equity.  This means you are left with years of free electricity once the loan is paid off.

Tax Credits and Incentives:

The federal government offers great incentives when it comes to solar energy. There is a 30% tax credit that is given when you purchase solar. At the end of the day, you will still own your panels and receive a 30% payment for your project. With a solar lease, you own nothing, and it is the leasing company that gets the tax credit, not you. In addition the leasing company receives state tax credits and depreciation value. A hoped for 5 – 10% savings to you means thousands of dollars of profit for them.

Owning Solar can Increase the Value and Desirability of Your Home:

If you read our previous blog post, you’ll be fully up to speed as to how there is clear evidence that solar panels increase the value of your home. Solar energy is becoming more popular each year as consumers look to cut down on energy costs and be part of the solution to the current climate crisis. So, if you choose to sell your home, you have an asset.

If you choose to lease, this will inherently have the opposite effect. Consumers may hesitate to buy your property because they don’t want to take over the current lease. On top of the already many stressors of moving- you’ll also end up dealing with the hassle of an additional lien on your home.

Warranty and Service:

Locally owned companies like Same Sun of Vermont will ensure you have the best warranty and service promise for your investment. Same Sun uses only premium products with industry-leading warranties of up to 25 years when we install your solar panels, and we also offer a workmanship guarantee to provide free service for five years if you run into any issues!

When you lease vs. buy your solar, you may find that your service plan won’t cover any equipment problems. Damaged solar panels may fall on your homeowner’s insurance and your leasing company won’t be responsible.


When deciding between a solar lease or purchase, one option clearly outweighs the benefits of the other. Corporately owned solar businesses are often just looking for their next contract, be wary. Do your due diligence by researching a locally owned solar company in your area. Often, these are the people that want to ensure you get quality equipment and a good ROI.

As a company, we strive to provide unbiased information to fully educate consumers in their decision-making process. If you do choose to lease your solar, that’s not our business. (Pun intended)

Before signing a lease, contact us today.

More information on going solar:

https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/homeowners-guide-going-solar

https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/homeowners-guide-federal-tax-credit-solar-photovoltaics

Buying or Selling with Solar:

Does solar increase the value of your home?

Does Solar Add Value to Your Home?

The Vermont housing market has seen unprecedented activity in the last few years, and rising prices.  Anecdotally, we’ve spoken to a number of customers that have sold their homes with solar installed, and ones that have bought them, and we always ask whether the solar factored into the sale.  This question has gotten mixed answers; they’ve reported that the buyers are often happy to have the solar but they don’t know how it impacted the sale.

The Jury is In – Solar Increases a Home’s Value

For many years we were stymied by realtors insisting that the solar was at best, not a factor and at worst, a negative.  We were even asked to remove arrays so that people could move with the equipment, despite the fact that the installation was custom-designed for the home. 

It makes sense that, all other things being equal, that a home with solar would sell for more because of the lower utility cost but that did not seem to be the conventional wisdom.  Thankfully, that has changed and the value added by solar is now widely understood.  You can easily find info on Zillow, Architectural Digest and any number of other sources that will tell you that solar not only results in lower carrying costs, but in higher desirability and a quicker sale.

How You Can Make Sure Your Solar is Considered?

The Appraisal Institute, the nationwide organization that governs real estate appraisers, is now officially on board and has published a form called The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum.  You can fill this out to document efficiency and renewable upgrades and make sure it is considered in your appraisal.

What Energy Features Raise Value?

The following are among questions asked on the Green Addendum.  They will help the appraiser to quantify the added value.

Type of equipment/warranties:

Not all solar arrays are equal. At Same Sun, we only use Tier One solar equipment made in the USA like the Silfab Elite modules and Enphase micro-inverters. The better performing the equipment, the more worth it will have for your home!

Type of installation/orientation:

With in person site-evaluations, you can ensure your solar array has been placed in the optimal spot for maximum solar generation. The more energy produced- the greater the savings!

Own/Lease:

Although leasing may sound like a good idea in theory, when it comes to solar, owning is best. Not only are there great tax incentives for purchasing solar, but also a return of investment that doesn’t always come along with leasing.  Leases can typically last 20-25 years, meaning if you choose to sell before the lease expires, you may find buyers hesitant to want to take over said lease. On the contrary, when you own your solar panels, it will actually add value to your home and could potentially draw in buyers as an included feature.

Utility Costs (that are being replaced):

With every solar proposal, we provide our best estimate on how much you’ll save in electricity bills and overall costs. If you’re looking to purchase a home with low monthly utility bills, a solarized one is a great option!

Energy Efficiency Measures:

If your home has, for example, good insulation or EnergyStar appliances, this can contribute to your overall utility savings thus raising your home’s value even more.

EV Readiness:

Electric Vehicles are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers. In Vermont, there are over 5,000 EV owners. That being said, when your home has EV charging capabilities, you open up opportunities for greater buyer interest. Adding a level 2 EV charger to your home gives a vehicle owner the power to charge their car right from their own house, and this feature will become more desirable to buyers as the industry continues to grow.

If you are in contract, selling or refinancing a home that already has solar, understanding and making use of the The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum is important.  Make sure you, your lender or your appraiser have completed the form so that the array’s value can be quantified and correctly added.  

If you’re in the market for a new home, and considering one that already has solar, you should also make use of the Addendum to know what you are buying.  If you are considering a home without solar, it might be the time to embrace it and even roll the cost into your purchase money mortgage.   With additional energy features comes additional value, and solar is worth looking into before missing out on the benefits. If you have any questions on how solar energy can affect your real estate decisions, Same Sun can help:

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.

Why Silfab Solar Panels?

Often when choosing a brand, one has to compromise.  I like this, but I’m not happy with that.  I wish features from two different products were available in one product.  Promising technology, but unattractive appearance.   It looks good but it is poorly made, etc. etc. etc.  Imagine if something came along that checks every box, that you could fully endorse with no compromises.  That would certainly be exciting. Well, this is what we have with Silfab.

Silfab EliteTM 410-watt modules are the solar panels for us with no excuses and no compromise.  

Technically Superior

The Elite offers 410 watts at 21.4 % efficiency through Silfab’s proprietary X-pattern technology, which combines an integrated cell design with a conductive backsheet to create a more efficient and powerful solar panel.  

Aesthetically Pleasing

We have never seen a more sleek and elegant appearance than these all-black solar modules. The flare-like patterning with no white backsheet blends with and even enhances our clients’ rooftops and the entire home’s appearance. 

Unsurpassed Reliability

Silfab has over forty years of  solar design and manufacturing experience, beginning in Toronto, Canada with an expansion into Washington State (two existing facilities, and a third announced for 2024).  The company delivers “Buy American” approved PV modules specifically designed for weather conditions in the North American market.

For further peace of mind, Silfab offers two industry-leading warranty coverages: a 25-year craftsmanship warranty and a performance warranty of nearly 83% after 30 years.

American Products, Vermont Jobs

This has been the standard for Same Sun of Vermont since we began in 2011.  It hasn’t always been easy.  Silfab Elite, being manufactured in Washington State, tells our clients many important things. First, we are supporting good-paying American manufacturing jobs.  Some other nations use child labor, prison labor or pay poor wages to their workers. Second, we know that a factory is Washington is living up to high environmental standards, practically non-existent in China and some other countries. American made helps protect us from supply chain issues and like any manufacturing of power providing technology, it keeps America self-sufficient and secure.

Contact Us to learn more!