Posts Tagged ‘solar’


Solar System update–another milestone met

February 6, 2011

Given that it’s winter and the sun, when it’s out, is very low in the sky, it is encouraging to see that the solar panels are squeeze out some electricity.  And yesterday we hit my latest goal – 500 pounds of carbon that we did not put into the atmosphere!

feb 5 2011  - 1Here are the outputs displays from the two sets of panels.  Grand Total: 507.3 lbs!  We have saved the weight of our family in carbon emissions.  more carbon saved as of Feb 5, 2011

I don’t remember how much that is in kilowatt hours – a goodly number.  Next update I’ll provide that too.



After a quick consultation with my husband we have decided that the next milestone to meet is 1730 lbs.  That is our estimation of the weight of the entire household, including pets  (4 llamas and 3 cats).  We aren’t counting the bees.


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.


Solar system, where are you?

February 20, 2010

I’m trying not to worry.  So they have $8,000 of ours and we still have no solar panels on our garage.  We received paperwork to sign last month – an application to the utility company to hook up the panels – the hook up date was February 28th. 

The company has a good reputation, and I’ve been told it is a 3 day project.  And if they do run late, I’m sure the company has experience applying for extensions with the utility and the state (there is a rebate program for 30% of the cost – of course the state is stone broke, but there is a rebate program).

So, I won’t waste time and energy worrying, right?  Worry never changed an outcome, right?  I’m still going to e-mail the salesperson.

Keep those fingers crossed that everything is going along as planned but I just don’t know the plan.


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.


No Go on the Wind Turbine

August 17, 2009

Well, we made the decision to definitely not get a wind turbine – unless a tornado takes out our trees, then we’ll reconsider.

The official word from the boss at Bauer Power is that the trees on our property would a) require a taller tower than Bauer Power typically uses, which would be more expensive, and b) cause turbulence that would be hard on the turbine and thus increase maintenance.

It wasn’t the initial cost of the turbine and tower ($25,000 – $50,000 depending upon height) that ultimately caused us to blink.  It was the maintenance – he estimates, given the wear the turbulence would cause, maintenance would be $1,000 per year.  Ouch.  That is a lot of electricity that would need to be generated, and again, given the trees, who knows if it could generate enough.  So, no wind turbine. sigh.  On the other hand, this company  up front and boldly said “skip the turbine, stick with the PV” when it would have been money in their pocket if we had gone with the hybrid system. To me, that’s a sign of their integrity.

So, the official decision this morning is to go with the PV system – the solar system, as I like to call it.  My goal for this week is to submit the application for refinancing the house. 

We hadn’t quite gotten around to refinancing yet even though mortgage rates are considerably lower than what we’ve been paying.  Turns out to be a good thing perhaps.  After refinancing, even with the additional funds added for the solar system our monthly cost will be less than it is now.  On top of that we are likely to see a $10,000 state rebate (Bauer is optimistic, I’m less so) and the 30% federal tax credit come spring.

The financing is going to be the time drag on the system.  Bauer will install in 100 days after we sign on the dotted line – but the bank has a 4 month backlog.  So it may be awhile before you see pictures of installation – but I’ll post them, don’t you worry!


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.


Renewable Energy System for the Home: So far so good

August 4, 2009

Jody, the Bauer Power representative came out this morning at the end of a rainstorm.  Raining lightly, no sun, no wind – just the time to talk about solar and wind power.  If only there were a way to harness rain power…

Anyway, we talked about the whys and the whats.  Our garage with a wide slanting roof facing due South is just right for solar panels as I thought – – I need to remember to thank the previous owners for building it that way.  Jody wasn’t so sure about wind; from her view of our property as she drove in it looked like a fairly heavily wooded lot.  Then she saw the open field behind the barn and suddenly a wind turbine looked a lot more possible.

The report/design/contract should come to us by the early part of next week.  Meanwhile, I have e-mailed the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Energy and Recycling to learn about any state incentives for alternative energy systems.  I’m not optimistic – lack of funding closed the solar rebate program last year.  We’ll see what I can find out.