By Brent Sauser
After three years of preparation the Sauser home has finally taken the “leap” and installed a 7.54 kW roof-top solar array. Because our 22 year old, east facing home is not oriented to the south, we ended up placing solar panels on the east, south, and west roofs. We are on track to produce close to 700 kWh of electricity this month. By the way, our electrical consumption last month was only 564 kWh. A year from now we hope to report that we are a Net Zero home.
- (29) 260W Axitec polycrystalline solar panels (2 on east roof, 10 on south roof, and 17 on west roof).
- (29) Enphase M215 micro inverters (for maximum flexibility in solar panel orientation, maximum potential for energy production, and best tracking and reporting software).
Our system was installed by a local solar installer with a long and impressive resume of solar installations . . . 3 Guys Solar. I highly recommend 3 Guys Solar to all those living in the Central Florida region. They can be reached at: http://www.3guyssolar.com, or at (407) 865-9338. Ask for Andy or David and drop my name. They will be happy to help you design and install the right solar array for you . . . from start to finish. They were able to install our complete system in one, very hot day.
If you are thinking about going solar and taking advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Rebate (that expires at the end of 2016) I suggest you follow the Sauser plan for preparation. Remember, a solar installation should be the LAST thing you consider AFTER doing as many energy conserving things beforehand. Three years ago our electrical consumption was over 2020 kWh per month. Since then we:
- Replaced our aging asphalt shingle roof with an Energy Star rated roof system.
- Added daylighting with a Solatube for our living room.
- Installed a solar powered attic exhaust fan.
- Replaced all incandescent bulbs and CFLs with LED bulbs
- Installed a NEST thermostat and raised the temperature to 80 degrees during the day and 79 degrees at night. Turned off the thermostat (A/C) when the house was empty.
- Replaced our old, energy-hog water heater with a GE GeoSpring hybrid water heater. I have adjusted the setting to “Heat Pump”, which is the most energy efficient setting.
Each one of these energy saving decisions has served to reduce our overall electrical consumption to be where we are today, that is, 564 kWh consumed on the hottest month of the year! The solar array required to support a 564 kWh usage will be much smaller than the one needed to support a 2020 kWh consumption rate.
My wife and I couldn’t be any happier with our decision to go solar. We are excited to see what the next 12 months will bring in energy production and see if we achieved Net Zero or not. There is something about being sustainable that gives a feeling of peace and security. Now is great time find out for yourself before the 30% Federal Tax Rebate runs out. Remember, to be eligible for the rebate your solar array must be totally functional. Plan on a minimum of three to four months for that to happen.