Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Active Solar Energy

Well, we originally thought we’d need to wire for photovoltaics now and add the panels in the future due to our budget constraints. Not so! We are thrilled to report that that we can afford 12 Sharp 230-Watt photovoltaic (PV) panels right from the start to help power our home.

PV systems are a pollution-free energy source that reduces our dependence on fossil fuel-based energy production. And after federal and state rebates, our system will cost us approximately $7,500. Certainly not a drop in the bucket, but after saving a significant amount of money elsewhere in our home and setting aside some funds, we can afford to install it now.

Our 2.7 kilowatt system will aid in providing electricity for lights, appliances, radiant heat and anything we plug into an outlet. Our PV system will be grid-connected—meaning it will use light from the sun to provide power to our home when possible, and will use utility-generated power at night or on cloudy days. Any energy that’s generated by our PV panels, but not used by us can be sold back to our local utility provider through net metering.

Solar Wind Electric in Bradford, VT, will be providing and installing the system for us. In total, they will install:
  • 12 - Sharp 230-Watt panels (2,760 Total STC Watts;

  • 1 - Solectria 3000 Inverter;

  • 1 - Unirac Solarmount Flush Racking System (to mount panels to south-facing roof);

  • 1 - DC disconnect & AC disconnect; and

  • 1 - Production meter.
Our south-facing roof, showing the 12-panel PV system and two hot water solar collectors.

Based on the size of our system and our average monthly electric bill, we expect to be repaid in less than ten years.


  1. That's great, congrats

  2. Good call. Wrap that up in a 30 year mortgage and you'll be saving money your very first month! Why anyone building new wouldn't do this is the real question.

  3. Thanks, guys! We're excited that we can afford it!