Q&A with Eloise Vitelli: “It was the perfect time for solar”
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Former Maine State Senator Eloise Vitelli (Maine’s 19th District, Sagadahoc County & Environs) made a major contribution to the state’s solar future by sponsoring the legislation that called for Maine’s landmark “Value of Solar” study. The bill became law, and the study found that solar was worth more than double what utilities currently compensate customers for it, setting the stage for the “Resolve” passed in this last session. The Resolve charges the PUC to involve stakeholders ranging from environmental groups, utility companies, and the solar industry in crafting a market-based policy to supplement net metering. This effort has garnered national interest, most from the recently the Rocky Mountain Institute, which follows the economics of distributed energy closely.
Eloise is also a customer of ReVision, and her house sports the “trifecta” – solar photovoltaic generation, air source heat pump, and electric water heater – a combination which nearly eliminates all need for fossil fuel inputs to her home.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you get interested in solar?
I have long been interested and supportive of alternative, renewable energy sources out of a concern for our over-dependence on fossil fuels and their contribution to climate change. When I became a State Senator I took the opportunity to sponsor a solar policy bill, which, after much work in committee, garnered enough support to pass into law. The study done as a result of this legislation points to the value of solar and lays out options for policy that would better utilize this powerful source of energy.
What made you feel it was time to make a solar investment? Why did you choose ReVision Energy?
Based on what I learned through the process of crafting legislation around solar, I became convinced that I needed to do my part on a personal level as well. We had just had our roof replaced so this was the perfect time to do a solar installation. It helped that we were able to get a financing package through our local bank. We chose ReVision because of their reputation, their ability to do the whole package – solar panels, heat pumps and electric hot water heater installation; and because I had seen them at work in my town, Arrowsic, so I knew they knew where we were.
How did the installation go? Did it meet your expectations?
The installation went very smoothly! We had our electrician come to the house a few weeks prior to take care of a few issues and assure us that we were set up to accept a solar installation. It helped to have electrician talking to electrician as the installation proceeded. I was very impressed with the efficiency, team work and professionalism of the team that did the work! It took two days and voila, we had solar!
What do you like best about the system now that it’s installed?
We won’t know the full effect of the new system until we get through a winter to see how well the heat pumps function in keeping us warm and off our oil furnace, but so far, so good. The cooling feature works fantastic – it was great to have fast and efficient cooling on a few of the hot, steamy days we’ve had lately.
We are keeping track of our kWh use and solar power generation. A plus is that the panels look really good on our roof – they blend in and are unobtrusive.