Charles, Dorothy and Luci Gerena – Richmond, Virginia

Go to an info session, learn all you can, and talk to people like us who’ve taken the plunge. But most importantly, just do it!

Charles, Dorothy, and Luci Gerena, Solar Homeowners – Richmond, Virginia
Went solar with the Richmond Community Solar Co-op in 2016
System size: 6.84 kW, 24 solar panels

Why did you decide to go solar?

We believe we should decrease our use of non-renewable resources. We have an all-electric vehicle, and going solar was the next logical step in trying to walk (and drive) lightly on the earth.

Why did you decide to go solar with the co-op?

The co-op made sense in so many ways. The information sessions provided most of the information we needed to decide to go solar. It allowed us to get a really good price with an excellent installer that was researched and selected by the co-op members.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to go solar?

Go to an info session, learn all you can, and talk to people like us who’ve taken the plunge. But most importantly, just do it!

Has anything surprised you about going solar?

We were surprised at how effortless it was. The only hard part was deciding to do it. The other surprise was how much we like the look of the panels on the roof. They’re actually really good-looking.

Do you have any data on your solar system’s performance?

We have an app that let’s us track how much power we’re generating and see the historical data. It’s fascinating to see the hourly and daily graphs and how that data correlates with the weather.

How much was your electric bill before and after going solar?

Our system was sized to cover about 65% of our average annual electricity usage. It’s hard to compare with less than a year’s data because of the weather’s impact on electric bills, but in the eight months we’ve had our system, the total decrease in our electric bill has been about 45% compared to the same months in the prior year.

Over the winter, the weather was cold but also often overcast, which reduced the system output, but beginning in late Feb, our output has dramatically increased to the best output so far. We’re expecting our spring and summer bills to decrease a lot more than we’ve seen to date.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Many of our neighbors stopped by to ask about the solar panels.

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