Water in, electricity next!

cfmuehlingSeptember 9, 2006

I'm so excited, I had to share this with people who I know would understand. :)

2 weeks ago we had our solar water heat system put in. It's the tubular system on the roof. We had hot water almost immediately. It's so exciting.

On the 12th, we're covering our entire, south-facing, unobstructed roof with BP PV panels. We're evidently the first house in our area to have them, as BP is just coming into southern MD. Or so they say. A BP guy is coming with our solar guy to supervise the install. We're very excited.

We're going grid tied, because the 1) we own a generator, and 2) it's more cost effective to have more solar panels collecting and paying back, rather than storing energy in case we lose power. We only do that maybe 2-3 times a summer. Not a worry. With BG&E jumping up 70+%? It's a no-brainer.

Before someone talk about spending too much,

know that we have no intention of not using our air conditioning.

We have no intention of adding 14 sweaters.

We plan to use our appliances (energy efficient),

our lights (extended life, energy efficient bulbs), with their dimmer and/or motion sensing devices.

We are rebuilding after a fire, so our house has all new windows, all new doors, the walls are 6'' (for pocket doors) with appropriate insulation, with solar attic fans, a new roof, and strong attic insulation. The way the household electrical demands have changed in the last 20 years? We plan to stay ahead of that demand. And while we have the money, we're putting in the panels.

So here we go into the future. Now to look at that flat panel, solar heat, using gray water, and DC appliances as ours wear out!


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You know solarjohn? I agree with you. You'd be surprised, though, at how many people would tell me if I "just" do this or that I wouldn't need xxx type of system.

Mostly it involved using fans in Maryland's 100 degree+ heat in August. They didn't discuss the humidity and had no answer to how cranky we both become when hot and sweaty and up for all hours of the night.

My system is running today. We got our inverter yesterday and were hooked up last night. It was raining until a few hours ago, but now we can see power coming in. Very exciting.

Take that, BG&E!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 5:59PM
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Congrats!! It is all about system thinking. The house as a system- the building envelope, mechanical systems, plug loads, immediate environment (inside and out) and don't forget the people. It is not doing without, just doing better.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:20PM
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It's all a matter of resources. The lower you can get your energy use, the less money you have to bolt up there on your roof. You pay for every watt of capacity.

Thus, if you want the luxuries such as air-con and fancy appliances, you will pay for them one way or another. You may not be paying the POCO, but the PV on your roof amounts to dollars that could otherwise be working for you as an investment. Of course, then you'd be spending some of that investment income on utility bills.

This rather crude analysis completely ignores the "green" aspects, which have both tangible and intangible value, both to you and to society. That part will be left as an exercise for the reader. ;-)

Your approach is not for everyone, but it apparently works for you. If you're comfortable with the economics and happy with the system, I say bravo!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 3:48AM
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I accept the applause.
It definately works for us. We've done all the energy reduction we can in our house, but of course I'm always looking for more ways.

I feel so much more comfortable paying a interest deductable home equity loan than BG&E. And once the loan is paid off? Well, every net metering penny goes towards our side of the balance.

As with energy savings? Every little bit helps.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 8:44AM
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Good for you guys. I always want to do the green thing and often have to make the other half see the florescent/LED light. LOL

Would love to see pics of your projects.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 5:58PM
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Good for you guys. I always want to do the green thing and often have to make the other half see the florescent/LED light. LOL

Would love to see pics of your projects.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 6:09PM
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I've often wondered about something for solar roof installations. What do you do when the roof shingles need replacing? Does that gets to be a major project, or can the solar installation be easily moved aside for roof repairs?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 10:55PM
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