(5) 42 Hurricane Road
What motivated you to install solar?
I’ve been motivated towards clean energy from the mid seventies on, initially because it just made sense to use energy sources that emitted no pollution once built, then by the late seventies, my dad was talking about the “greenhouse effect,” so climate became the primary motivator, and always in the background, an interest in energy independence.
How many panels do you have, and if you know, how much energy are you producing, percentage of your electric usage?
2 arrays, the first with 13 panels for about 3 kW, second with 12 panels, also about 3 kW. The total capacity is 6 kW.
What has been the biggest benefit so far? What are you excited about?
The benefit? How about doing our part for climate, a benefit that lasts longer than our lifetimes?
What were the obstacles to installing solar and what did you do to overcome them?
Our first array was installed 8-9 years ago, we had solar at the farm in Stoddard and knew we should have it here too. At that time, economics of small scale solar were iffy, but the tax credit and state rebate made it work out financially The second array was installed because we would soon have two electric cars and needed additional solar to stay close to net zero electrical energy. But it was also easier to justify financially because panel prices have dropped so much. Both were installed by Solar Source/Melanson. There was some fuss on the install of the first array because our southern exposure is limited and the only way was to use an “awning style” of mounting which involves a bit more hardware and care during the install. The second array we decided to face west instead of south (actually about 15 degrees south of due west). Because West Keene seems to typically have morning fog, and because the afternoon/evening western sun is all powerful, and because this west facing array is high on the barn roof with zero shading, we believe it generates more energy despite being the same capacity as the first array.
What advice do you have for people considering installing solar?
Get a few different quotes (or consider doing it yourself if you are handy – it’s not rocket science). If you have potential shading issues, consider using micro-inverters on each panel. this will result in better performance of the array even if individual panels are shaded. On the other hand, if you value a little bit of back-up power, a single inverter is useful, since it can provide back-up power when the grid is down, even without batteries. If you want long-term back-up power, you’ll need a more elaborate system with batteries (old fashioned lead acid, or modern Tesla Powerwall) and a different type of inverter.
Anything else you want to share?
We have a solar hot water system as well.
If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, just do it, for Pete’s sake! By the way, there is no better sensation than driving an electric car and knowing that it’s mostly charged from your own solar panels!