An Interview with Steve Rowley, York, Maine
Residential Projects | March 17, 2014 | Posted by Fred Greenhalgh
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Steve Rowley owns Blueberry Fields Alpaca Farm with his wife Hope in York, Maine. Steve loves the ocean about as much as he does alpacas, and we caught up with him to talk about how his love of the ocean was linked to his household’s investments in solar energy.
REVISION: Why Did You Go Solar?
STEVE: Growing up my favorite TV shows were Sea Hunt and The Under Seas Adventures of Jacques Cousteau. At the age of 15 I received my SCUBA certificate and quickly learned that the beautiful beaches above water, were littered with trash on the seabed just out of sight (and still are). I have studied marine biology and ocean engineering and quickly learned that the oceans are not as big as we thought. Global changes are now measurable. The solid trash problem I saw as a kid was replaced with the ones you can not see. Now when I look at the beach I see global warming, ocean acidification, rising sea levels and warm water marine organisms moving north as water temperatures increase. We know burning fossil fuels are to blame and so my wife and I are doing what we can to stop using them.
REVISION: How Did You Choose ReVision Energy?
STEVE: My wife and I have been heating with wood pellets since 2000. We’ve reduced our energy as much as reasonable, insulated, replaced old windows and doors, and purchased a hybrid car. The next logical step was to generate our own power. We’re not in a good location for wind, and our house was not right for solar hot water, but we thought that maybe with the decline in prices, solar electricity could work. I went to the Revision Energy website and used their solar PV calculator. When I plugged in our numbers, I was stunned – the price was way too low! I did it again and got the same answer. I checked my units and sure enough everything checked out – solar did indeed cost much less than I thought it would. I had to make the call.
REVISION: What Was the Process Like?
STEVE: I worked with Nate Bowie, he worked up numbers using our old electricity bills, did a site survey and produced a proposal. I can’t say enough about how nice and informative Nate and the entire Revision Energy employees were to me. The installation team – Matt, Seth and Ted – worked on the roof on the coldest day in February without a single complaint. The installation went so well that my neighbor directly across the street didn’t know they were already up.
REVISION: What Do You Like Best Now that It’s Been Installed?
STEVE: If I have one complaint about the system, is that it just quietly sits there – I was expecting a bunch of randomly flashing LEDs that make it look like the space age equipment I know it is! (laughs)
Seriously, though, I am impressed that everything is working just as we calculated. The advances in solar photovoltaics are truly amazing and costs are going down. When people ask me about solar, I say – “Don’t listen to the old myths, do your own research, and I hope you come up with the same conclusion we did.”