Friday, May 15, 2009

Solar Power!

We are very excited about the prospect of installing solar power on our house, something we were not sure we could afford. Through a new program that has just arrived in Massachusetts, we have signed up to have 4 kilowatts of solar panels installed on our roofs through what is called a power purchase agreement. The gist is that we pay very little up front ($1,000) and then sign a long-term power agreement with Sun Run Power, which charges us $0.14 per kilowatt hour for the next 18 years, which is about $.06 less than what we pay now. Even if electricity rates do not go up, we pay for the project in 6 years and then save money after that. If electricity rates go up, we save even more. And we expect that the 4200 kwh produced by these panels should provide more than half, maybe 2/3 of all our energy needs for the entire year! At least that's what we're hoping.

Alteris Solar was the local installer arm of this program and they came out a couple of weeks ago to do a roof analysis. Even though we have east and west facing roofs, their analysis showed that because our roofs are relatively flat, and we have very little shading, our production would actually be pretty good. We're very excited, given that our house will be all electric.


Brian Crounse said...

The SunRun approach is great- it seems almost too good to be true- but it's the real deal.

Andrew T. said...

Hi Eric.
Saw the story in the Boston Globe and found your blog. Good stuff!

My wife and I are looking to buy a small run down house and do a high energy efficient renovation much like you are doing.

I will probably be bombarding you with questions as I read your blog.

Susan Crook said...

Maybe we can't install a windmill, benefit from solar panels, or rebuild an entirely new green house, but there are a few simple things we can do that make a big difference in energy usage. For example, if you take a look at the flex duct in your attic, it's probably kinked and preventing efficient airflow (like a garden hose). There's a product called SMART Flow Elbow you can snap on (like a brace) that helps - 80% more efficient airflow.

Also something else we added was a "FilterLOCK" on the furnace filter to cover/seal the filter slot. It also protects allergens and dangerous pollutants from entering the duct system.

Just doing these two things reduced our gas bill by $10 a month this winter. We were surprised with the results.

Melissa said...

HI Eric,
My husband Kevin and I live on Prospect street in west newton in an 1890 victorian that we are slowly renovating. This is our second old house renovation. The first was in Auburndale at 221 Auburn street with Scott Sorenson- we were very happy working with them. I am an interior Designer and write a design blog and my husband owns we would love to talk (green building)shop with you and see your amazing project. my email is
Great work- great blog!!!
Melissa Gulley

Joshua Rogers said...

Just wondering what you have thought of your Fibertech windows. I'm about to do a renovation and am considering them. How is the quality?

Solar panels massachusetts said...

Solar energy can save you money, and add convenience to your life and home in many different ways. Solar panels Massachusetts is one great way to use solar technology to benefit your home.

Brian said...


I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?