Rowley, MA Homeowners Eliminate Oil, Propane, and their Electric Bill
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Bryan DiPersia, his wife Laura, and their young son are going all-in for electric. With a primary goal of eliminating their oil and propane usage alongside their carbon footprint, the DiPersias invested in a solar array for their home and in the process completely erased their electric bill from existence.
Bryan is a mechanical engineer who has worked in power generation for over 15 years, and is currently a light commissioner on the board of the Rowley Municipal Lighting Plant. Heating with fuel oil at their home in Rowley, MA always bothered him and his family. “We’re a pretty environmentally conscious family,” he says. “We thought, there’s got to be a better option. It’s going electric, going renewable – going solar.”
They had been wanting to make the change for years, something having a young child particularly put into perspective for them. They wanted to make sure they were doing all they could to protect the environment for the future, so when they saw a ReVision Energy sign perched on their neighbors’ front lawn they decided to ask about it. Those neighbors were the Hasselbecks, recent solar customers and also parents of one of our ReVision co-owners. They gave the DiPersias a good recommendation which, combined with ReVision’s B Corp certification and local community involvement, made them feel confident in moving forward with projects of their own.
Tracking the Sun
The DiPersias chose to go with a solar tracker, with 24 LG high efficiency 360-watt solar panels. With a large field right next to their home, they weren’t confined to putting solar on the roof where Bryan was concerned the roof angles would result in lower production. They also considered a fixed ground mount but eventually settled on the tracker. “I thought, let’s collect as much sunlight as we can in a big open field,” says Bryan.
For them, the tracker combined maximum production with an aesthetically pleasing option that wouldn’t block their view of the field from their house. They were impressed with the attention to detail and support from the ReVision team. “I was constantly asking technical questions,” says Bryan. “ReVision was really good at getting me answers. The whole process was really smooth and interactive.”
Solar Heating, Cooling, and More
Their goal was to go fully electric, which meant replacing an oil-fired furnace and boiler system for all of their home’s heating and hot water. ReVision installed an efficient 5 to 1 Mitsubishi mini-split air source heat pump system for the main house, plus an additional 1 to 1 unit. The heat pumps were designed to carry the full heating load of the house, so they do not have to run the oil heating as backup. It heats in the winter and cools in the summertime. “The level of comfort is great,” says Bryan, in particular commending the features that allow the family to customize temperatures separately for different areas of the house.
The heat pump water heater, he notes, runs exactly as it’s supposed to – reliable, energy efficient, and practically unnoticed as it should be. Even the propane-powered stove and dryer were replaced with electric models. “That brought it all together – to be able to nix the gas and the oil and bring it all online as electric,” says Bryan.
To accommodate the new load, they needed to upgrade the service at the house to 200 amps. But it was worth it – not only have they essentially eliminated their household carbon footprint by running everything on solar electricity, they’re also coming out of the equation net zero. They are producing just as much energy as they’re using over the course of the year, effectively vanquishing their electric bill. Their environmental living extends beyond the technological upgrades too, including reducing their plastic waste and purchasing natural products. “The energy piece is one part of the puzzle,” says Bryan.
Clean Energy Future
One year in, the solar tracker has been operating flawlessly as have the heat pumps, coming up on their second winter. “I definitely recommend the systems to anyone,” says Bryan. Already at least one friend he referred has gone forward with a solar project of their own, expanding the ReVision family in the town of Rowley. While Bryan enjoys educating friends about the options, having solar at home also has an educational impact for their family. He says that their son understands how they generate electricity at their home, and will now point out any solar he sees.
The DiPersias still have a few future upgrades of their own planned – Phase 2 for them will be battery backup and switching from their current hybrid to a fully electric vehicle. They’re looking forward to that sunny day when they can say everything is 100% powered by clean electricity. “Everything just makes sense, having solar as the core generator for all of our energy usage,” says Bryan. “It’s been a good adventure, working with ReVision.”