Solar panels were installed by Independent Energy Systems, Clinton, IA, in the prairie east of The Canticle between October 2014 and March 2015. The company, owned and operated by Jason and Amy Maresca, began the project by drilling underground for a place to house the wires for the panels. Pillars to hold the poles were then placed in the ground. Framing was attached to the poles to await the blue solar panels. By late March, the last solar panel was put in place. Following clearance from Alliant Energy, the switch was flipped, and the solar panels began absorbing the sun's rays.
The sun provides The Canticle with an average of 25-35% of its energy needs, depending on the month and demand. For calendar year 2020, the yearly average was 26%.
How does power come into The Canticle?
When the sun hits the panels, it causes power to come through the blue wafers you see on the panels. The power is transferred through underground wires to the grid located inside The Canticle.
What happens when it is cloudy?
The panels still produce energy, it is just not optimal. During very thick cloud cover the usage will drop off.
What is the best climate for solar panels?
People notoriously think the south is the best climate for solar panels, but solar panels produce very well in this region. With cooler weather there is less breakdown in the cells. Here the panels are not subjected every day to the high temperatures that cause them to burn out faster. Germany is the highest producer of sun panels and their sun rating is less than ours.
What happens when it freezes?
Independent Energy Systems comes out twice a year to move the angle of the panels. During the winter solstice they are moved to a tilted position, and back again in summer.
Is maintenance required?
Solar panels are a set-and-forget type system. The rain washes them and the snow melts by the heat on the back of the panels.