Alfred, ME Family Shares the Sun to Beat Electric Bills
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Rising electricity costs were a frustration Kelcy and Read McNamara used to share with their neighbors in Alfred, Maine, until they traded their stress and hefty bills for solar electricity and peace of mind. Now they share solutions instead of aggravation!
The McNamaras always wanted to go solar and knew their sunny rooftop would be ideal for generating their own power. Like many other Mainers, they experienced drastic electricity rate hikes in the beginning of 2018. They also saw their local representatives continue to support anti-solar policies despite ominous warnings of the climate crisis. Everything indicated it was the right time to make the change. “We wanted to be on the right side of history,” says Kelcy.
Making the Change
The McNamaras live nearby several ReVision co-owners in Alfred, so they were already familiar with the company, but even they were surprised at how quickly their transition to clean solar power went once they made they call. “It was so seamless,” Kelcy says.
When their array was installed in June of 2018, Kelcy’s parents – also Alfred residents – came to see the install process first-hand. “She and her husband were just kind of raving about it,” says Peggy Greer, Kelcy’s mother. 6 months later, she and her husband Larry had ReVision install solar on their home. “I’d wanted to do it for a while, and Kelcy encouraged it,” she says.
The ReVision team almost gained two new employees in the process – Kelcy and Peggy both joked that they were so impressed by the ReVision culture, they were going to quit their jobs to come install solar with us. “Everyone was genuinely happy to be working there,” remarks Kelcy. “I feel like you don’t see that in the world of trades as often.”
For the first couple of months after the install, the McNamaras’ new solar array eliminated their electric bill completely. With no bill in the summertime, and a reduced bill for the remainder of the year, they find security in being able to produce their own power. “We know there is a percentage of our bill that will never be jacked up by CMP and there’s a lot of relief in that,” says Kelcy.
Now, Kelcy, Read, and their teen children feel a stronger ownership of their energy usage. “It has made everybody aware of the electricity we’re using in the house,” Kelcy says – and it provides strong motivation to remember to turn off the lights. She says, “We notice our kids becoming more aware of it as well.”
In the meantime, Peggy and Larry have also discovered some unexpected upsides to solar. Peggy sometimes jokes to her friends that it’s better than marriage counseling because when the weather is sunny, her husband wants to get all the chores done that use their home’s electrical appliances. “It’s the best!” she says. “When the sun’s out he’s ready to do all the chores – and that works for me.”
Sharing their Solar Story
Kelcy and Peggy feel motivated to share the positive impact solar has had on their lives. The pesky electric prices that her neighbors still struggle with often lead Kelcy and Reed to talk about their experience switching to solar. “People start to talk about CMP, and that’s how the conversation gets started,” says Kelcy. She applauds the nearby town of Shapleigh for installing a solar array to offset municipal energy usage. “They’re setting an example,” she says. “I admire them for saying, these are values we have as a community.”
Peggy and Kelcy have seen more of their neighbors and friends start to take their advice, which makes them optimistic for the future. “I’m hoping we’re moving in the right direction,” says Peggy. “I think we are.” For Kelcy, the biggest part is having all of the information to make a decision. “Even we didn’t realize how affordable it really was to do,” she says. “I encourage people just to call and find out about it.”