Monday, October 21, 2019

Let the Sunshine in!

Wow. Its been FIVE years since the last House blog post! I suppose there have been few changes that have quite risen to the level of blog-worthiness, but that's not really true. In 2016 we were lucky enough to get a solar electric system installed on the house.

Through a long chain of events we found ourselves committing to a solar electric system. I always figured we'd invest in solar hot water first, since that is our single largest utility cost, but when we were presented with the metrics and cost of having a grid-tied solar system installed we decided we liked the prospect and decided to go for it. That's not to say we won't augment our propane/hot water costs at some point, but we've taken the solar electric plunge.
Having built the house I'm always a bit proud to account everything that I, or Joe and I, did ourselves. The exceptions being the earthwork, the concrete, the sheetrock, much of the electric, and significant parts of the plumbing/hot water stuff. Well, I can add "solar" to the list. The crew from SunCommon did a great job and I did virtually nothing other then confer on a few decisions as needed. On one hand it goes against my nature to have others do things I could do myself, while on the other its super nice to see the work done efficiently and professionally, so I'm not complaining.

The funny thing about suddenly having a grid-tied solar home is that PRESTO! nothing is noticeably different. The change comes over time as we recoup our investment and eventually see our electric costs subside to as-needed maintenance, and that's proved to be the case. We have a negative balance on our electric utility bill--just what we were expecting. All concerns about clearing off the snow or worrying about cloudy days are forgotten. The system is sized to generate a positive flow over the course of the year and it has been successful. The joke around our place now is "only use the lights during the day!" since that is when we are sending our extra power back to the grid and not purchasing it from the utility.

Our home was always envisioned as a net-zero design, and installing this system is a major step in that direction. It feels good to both invest in long term savings and know that we are disinvesting from dirtier forms of power consumption. We're grateful to have this opportunity.

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