Solar Power Gets Homeowner Closer to Carbon-Free House
Residential Projects | July 31, 2012 | Posted by Fred Greenhalgh
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Since the 70s, Hilary Clark has dreamed of producing her own power and being both lighter on the planet and independent from the utilities. So when she had a chance to build her own home in the early 90s, she jumped at a chance to implement several sustainable technologies – super insulation, a masonry heater, and solar hot water. But when looking at solar electricity at the time, she balked; the cost of batteries was just too high.
Flash forward 20 years, and Hilary Clark is the proud owner of a 7.2kw grid-tied photovoltaic array that will provide the bulk of her home’s electricity. A system that today is eligible for a 26% federal tax credit and state rebates – $2,000 in Maine and $3,000 in New Hampshire.
Herb Perry of The Green Alliance writes:
[after] attending a lecture by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org … Hilary asked herself, “What can I do to reduce our impact on our earth and our atmosphere?” leading to a second question, “How can I produce electricity that’s not carbon-based?” A friend had put photovoltaic modules onto her roof in Portsmouth, using the company ReVision Energy, so Hilary learned more about the technology and the company.
That search led her to a free solar evaluation with one of our solar design specialists, who was able to design a system that would both provide nearly all of her electricity and pay for itself in just over 10 years. The home uses premium Sunpower panels, which are the most power-dense solar electric panels in the world, offering more power per square foot than other modules.
According to all reports, the photovoltaic system is working great so far! Again, Perry:
“I go out and check the meters constantly,” Hilary says. One meter shows how much carbon she is not putting into the air, another shows how much electricity the new system is generating and a third shows how much electricity she is selling back to CMP.
And the stakes are high as Hilary learned during a week she spent this winter on the Mt. Washington summit.
“A meteorologist told me: ‘It’s really, really hard to predict the weather now, because all of the weather models we have don’t work anymore.’ And that’s what’s happening. For those of us who know the natural world, we can adapt, but that adaptation takes place over the course of a 1,000 years, not over the course of ten years.”
While the global prospects are still scary, for her home’s part Hilary is keeping her share of C02 out of the atmosphere, and saving money while she does it.