Charlie Behrens and Rev. Kathy Schmitz – Orlando, Florida

Now that we have [solar], we’re realizing that it serves as an excellent example to our neighbors about how easy it is.

Charlie Behrens and Rev. Kathy Schmitz, Solar homeowners – Orlando, Florida
System size: 4.275 kW, 15 panels

Why did you decide to go solar?

Originally it was for the climate, our grandchildren, and the joy of using less ancient fossil sunlight. Now that we have it, we’re realizing that it serves as an excellent example to our neighbors about how easy it is.

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

Efficiency Rules! Reduce your electricity usage first. We foam insulated our attic and crawl space, and put in a variable speed HVAC unit. That was well worth it. It cut our electric bill by almost 10x, dramatically reducing our solar system size and price.

Has anything surprised you about going solar?

How simple and quick it was.

Emergency battery backup is still trickier than we expected. We opted to have a net-metered system, so for the safety of repair crews it has to shut down if the grid fails. We’re now looking into all of the great new battery options coming on the market…or maybe we’ll just use the battery in our EV.

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

We like that its output can be monitored right on the phone. It powers 100% of our home and almost 100% of our electric vehicle charging too. We’re thinking of adding a few more panels to eliminate the natural gas stove and clothes dryer.

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

Before we installed the insulation, efficient HVAC, and solar system, our bills were about $300/month. Now the electric company pays us.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Having your own source of electricity means that you can charge an electric vehicle for free. Bye-bye gasoline bills; hello clean green zoom machine!

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