Having batteries and the associated automatic disconnect from the grid allows us to operate our solar array during a grid outage and keep the house running.
Carolyn & George – The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands 2018 Solar Co-op
System size: 7 kW
Why did you decide to go solar?
We had been thinking about it for about 10 years. Our house is far from ideal, and that made the cost too high, not enough production to make the cost vs benefit work. Also, we do not have a choice for our electrical utility, and their (Entergy TX) buyback rate is not friendly to residential solar owners. When the cost got reasonable from the installation side we did it.
Did anything surprise you about the process of going solar?
There are a lot of intricate details that need to be worked out with your installer, especially if you are in a neighborhood with HOA restrictions and/or if you are particularly concerned about aesthetics. Example: where will the conduit be run; if you want it hidden in attic space, how do you run it from the array(s) to the electrical panel? On the economics of sizing our array, it didn’t make sense to install too big, as excess production goes to the grid at very low price. If your utility has a good (1 for 1?) buyback rate, it may make sense to build as big an array as possible.
Did you go solar with Solar United Neighbors?
Why did you choose to go solar with Solar United Neighbors?
SUN provided great help with technical questions and reviewing potential installers.
What benefits did you experience going solar with a co-op?
It was great to meet like-minded folks in our area.
Anything else you’d like to add?
After a year of getting familiar with our system, we decided to add storage (two Tesla Powerwalls), giving us about 28kWh of storage. Having batteries and the associated automatic disconnect from the grid allows us to operate our solar array during a grid outage and keep the house running. The battery system comes with a smart-phone app that allows us to modify settings to meet our needs. We can top off the batteries if there is severe weather expected. And during normal weather when no outage is anticipated, we can avoid sending ANY electricity to the grid on most days; this is the major cost benefit, using our free electrons rather than buying from the grid.