We wanted to lock in our electric rate and help the environment at the same time.
James – Westfield, Indiana
System size: 15.7 kW
Why did you decide to go solar?
We wanted to lock in our electric rate and help the environment at the same time. Reducing our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy is important to us. The air quality in Indiana is not good and we feel that producing our power with solar is one small step towards cleaning the air in our area. Jobs created by the solar industry are the kind of jobs we need in our state.
Did anything surprise you about going solar?
We were pleasantly surprised by the response we received from Boone REMC when we approached them initially about our project. They helped us throughout the process and were ready just when we needed them so that we started producing power within hours of completing our project. We initially installed enough panels to produce about 50% of our electricity. We were surprised to find that we were instantly hooked on solar and wanted to make 100% of our electricity from solar.
Do you have any data about your solar system performance? What electricity savings have you seen since going solar?
We produced over 100 megawatts of electricity in 4 1/2 which is about $11,000 worth of electricity at our current rate. We pay only the monthly service charge to the electric company.
What advice would you give to someone considering going solar?
I would advise putting in a system to make 100% of your annual usage if you can. And also make a system big enough for the future purchase of an electric car if you don’t already own one. The sooner you go solar, the better off you are. Go with a ground mount system if you can so that you can sweep off snow and maybe change the tilt angle seasonally.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Never stop finding ways to save energy. As you transition from gasoline powered lawn mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, etc., your need for electricity is likely to grow so finding ways to save energy allows you to make the transition without running out of solar power.
It’s a good idea to put in those new energy efficient windows, add insulation where needed, change to LED light bulbs, install geothermal heating and upgrade to heat pump water heaters and clothes dryers (I could go on and on) before you calculate your solar system size.