Building business wealth while making our power grid more resilient.
Taylor – Ripley, WV
System size: 12 kW
Why did you decide to go solar?
I was originally motivated to look at solar for environmental reasons. I have had family members and friends suffer from cancers whom their doctors blamed the prevalence on our increasingly polluted environment. I also have children and I want to see them inherit a healthier environment. The idea that solar is far less polluting than other forms of energy generation is a big step in the right direction. Solar is not the one and only answer but I see it as part of the answer to cleaning up our environment.
After a little research I soon learned that it also offered a favorable return on investment. Having seen the instability of typical financial investments I prefer an investment that is more tangible. Another aspect that I liked about solar as an investment is that it pays back in savings and not profits. Savings are not taxed whereas “profit” investments are. Now I consider solar to be part of my wealth building strategy.
Not only does solar offer a benefit to our health, our environment, and our financial position; it also benefits the electrical grid. Solar, known in the utility community as distributed generation, can put power on the grid from distributed locations (my house) and lighten the load on our centralized grid. If adoption of solar is managed properly it can make for a more resilient power grid in years to come.
Did anything surprise you about going solar?
One of the most surprising aspects was how easy the power company was to deal with. Although I did struggle to get in touch with the proper department, once I did, they were helpful.
Do you have any data about your solar system performance? What electricity savings have you seen since going solar?
In it’s first year my system has generated 14,358kWh. I had built the system in hopes to cover my home’s 10,500kWh annual usage with a little excess for an electric vehicle one day.
My bill averaged $155 a month before solar. Having finished the system in winter it did take a couple months for the production to climb above my usage. I have electric heat and solar is also inherently less productive in Winter. For the last 8 months I had zero net usage and have enjoyed paying only the $12 minimum customer charge with my utility. As it stands right now my bill credit is over 5,000kWh so I expect to only pay the minimum as long as I remain conscious of my usage.
What advice would you give to someone considering going solar?
Joining “SUN” is the best first step if you’re seriously interested in going solar. I had gone solar without their help but had I known of the help they offer it would have saved me a lot of research. They offer advanced knowledge and insight from years of experience of helping other individuals go solar.
Going solar is not a small decision and it will seem daunting at first but with help from the SUN team members I think anyone could tackle it.
Consult your utility company as well and they should direct you to their distributed generation policies.
Anything else you’d like to add?
When considering a system keep other nearby electrical services in your name in mind. In states with aggregate metering you can aggregate (share) your excess credit to other nearby services. In my case I apply my excess credits to my garage and the aggregate metering charge is a $15 monthly fee.