Posts Tagged ‘photovoltaics’


Solar System Update

August 3, 2010

Have you noticed – no pictures of the photovoltaic system (aka solar system) we are supposed to have had on our roof months ago.garage without solar panels

Oh, and perhaps you have heard that the economy is in kind of a mess? 

These are unfortunately connected.  The company we were working with is going out of business.  However, they sent me a list of all the materials our project would require (and the electrical drawings) and we can purchase the materials from the distributor at wholesale prices.  I figured it out, that saves us about $4,000.

Before I have $15,000 worth of solar panels and assorted connectors and wires and inverters and computer cards sent to my house I need an electrician lined up who can actually put this all together so that it does what it is supposed to do.

I had an e-mail way back from a man from the original company who left that company soon after he e-mailed me.  His e-mail address wouldn’t be any good, but it just so happens that I had recently (as in days before) bit the bullet and joined FaceBook – and this man was on FB too, as was the saleswoman who sold us the system (she’s no longer with the company either, obviously – if you aren’t taking new business you don’t need a sales force). I sent them both messages asking if they could recommend an electrician in the area who did solar projects.

They both, independently, recommended the same person. I take that as a good omen. Today I heard back from the electrician and yes, he’s interested, and could I send him pictures (the roof where the panels would go and our electrical panel) and he’d get back to me with an estimate.

So, still no panels on the roof – but a bit of movement in the right direction.  Going green is not always as easy as it seems.


Chugging along

August 28, 2009

Yes, I’m still alive, and still committed to greening our lifestyle. I’m just caught up momentarily (or maybe longer than momentarily) in the comings and goings of everyday life.  All four of us are back to school on one side of the desk or the other, plus assorted meetings and responsibilities and life gets hectic.  For instance, this week on Monday was a school board meeting, on Tuesday was an Education Foundation meeting, on Wednesday was a party (more on that later), on Thursday was a cross-country meet (an hour away), tonight there was gloriously NOTHING, but tomorrow morning is another cross-country meet and a party in the evening.  Sunday is house cleaning from top to bottom and the yard too because the appraiser is coming Tuesday to appraise the property for refinancing and then family will be coming for over Labor Day weekend.

On the green front the solar panel project is in the refinancing stage, so at the moment we wait.  The bees are doing their bee stuff, as far as I know, I haven’t had time to check them this week, and am not sure I’ll have time this weekend either – – luckily they don’t really need me to check on them. At school I met with my Environmental Psychology Research Group, we’re planning to look at the environmental attitudes and behaviors of beekeepers (so I will get something scholarly out of this hobby too).

On Wednesday I spend a hunk of change at a home party on what is billed as eco-friendly products by Norwex.  Norwex (short for the Norwegian Experience) features microfiber clothes embedded with silver particles that kill bacteria.  Nancy Lamkin, the consultant, did a marvelous and enthusiastic job.  How is that a group of women, most, of not all of whom have professional careers, can simultaneously “ahhh” when another woman dust mops a floor but with a little flap of mop to the side to get up on the baseboard as she slides by.  Such innovation.  Yep, we’re a bit pathetic.  I’ll be receiving my products in a week or so and will report my impressions.  I’m most anxious to see if the magnet ball will work.  It is suppose to soften the water in your dishwasher or washing machine allowing you to use less soap.  We have trouble with our dishwasher when we use phosphate-less detergent (which is all the time).  Some of the soap powder gets stuck in the glasses or where dishes might touch.  Sometimes the soap leaves a nasty film too.  I’m hoping softer water (ours is as hard as rocks) and less soap will mean less soap powder  and film on the dishes.  There’s a 60 day money back guarantee, so I can always return it if I’m wholly dissatisfied.

Oh, and as for the monarch caterpillars.  Everyday I checked and every day there were 2 fewer caterpillars.  I believe they crawled off to build their chrysalises – unfortunately not where I have been able to find them.  Oh well, it was cool to see the caterpillars.

Well this was a “yep, lots of things in the works, nothing has come to fruition” post.  Next time I hope to have something newsworthy to report.


Solar Update

August 11, 2009

Today we got our solar power report from Bauer Power.  The wind power report hasn’t been done yet but will be, but the solar report was a lot of fun to get.


The proposal suggests 18 39” x 58” panels on the garage roof – that would nearly cover the roof which is about 12’ x 30’ – and it would look so cool!

Based on our electrical usage over the past year, if we had had these solar panels we would have been able to generate 72% of our electricity – – and in April we would have actually made excess energy. 

I should mention that we are pretty energy efficient.  We are on a plan with our utility where we receive information each month about how our energy consumption compares to other homes our size in the area and we are always way lower.  The Bauer Power representative looked at our usage and asked if we have an Energy Star refrigerator, which we do; she said the refrigerator plays a big role in electricity usage. [So, if you don’t have an energy star fridge it might be worth the investment in energy savings.]

I’m looking forward to the wind power report.  I wonder how close to 100% of our electricity we could cover with a hybrid solar/wind system.  It may not be something we can swing financially at the moment (that garage rehab and roofing a large shed took a hunk of our liquidity).  But it is something that I hope we can do soon.  And who knows, maybe I’ll win the lottery.

My friend chuckled when I told her we might be purchasing a solar system.  She said she imagined my daughter sliding on Saturn’s rings. 

A galaxy is totally out of the question, but a solar system is a distinct possibility.