Solar Champion Stories

Barry Fifield Retired Early with the Help of Solar + Heat Pump + EV

Solar is one of the unique projects that offers a powerful economic and environmental return on investment. While we provide advanced modeling based on our 10,000+ installed systems when designing/estimating solar arrays, it's awesome when we get to review real-world data to compare how the system lived up to our predicted outcomes.

That's why it was awesome when Barry Fifield shared with us super-granular data based on 3+ years of real-world system performance. The bottom line? Barry says it best: "Installing solar allowed me to retire 7 years early."

Barry's data details the progressive additions of a heat pump and electric vehicle. Barry's philosophy is that pairing his solar with a heat pump was key, and driving on sunshine has been the icing on the cake.

Electric Heating Works...When Powered by Solar!

"Home heating here in New England is where it's at for solar. Heating is huge compared to an electric bill, and the power requirements for an electric car is right up there too as a major reason to go solar. I've been tracking it all on a spreadsheet including home heat, heat pump usage, electric baseboard heat usage, while logging daily info of miles driven in my EV and the actual kWh required to charge it. My spreadsheet can calculate everything. I haven't been able to find any online calculators so I made one - it also helps in understanding the interface with my CMP billing statement and SolarEdge monitoring."

Barry Fifield

Sometime after Barry's solar installation, SolarEdge began offering an electricity meter upgrade which allows homeowners to see the whole picture on their monitoring.

Customers in CMP territory like Barry, and various other territories, will not see solar self-consumption on their bills, so they would need to calculate for themselves the difference between their total solar production and CMP's generation, which we like to call "export." Your CMP usage could then be known as "import."

While Barry enjoys crunching numbers, for ReVision's other solar homeowners who are interested, we can return and install the SolarEdge upgrade to help clarify usage. As always, we hope you'll reach out anytime with any questions!

From Fixer-Upper to Net-Zero, to Early Retirement

Barry's conversion to solar power was part of a larger process to create a tight and efficient home. He explained, "I rebuilt my 1970s house in Brunswick, purchased for just $85k six years ago. Nobody else wanted the house since it needed so much work. Now it's a net-zero property including the car! Solar installed by you, which was an incredible job! I did all the windows, doors, insulating basement and sills, adding attic insulation, even new basement windows. It's amazing the low cost of everything."

Thanks to solar power and his net-zero home, Barry's savings have been substantial. As Barry remarked, "I retired 7 years early at age 58 because of my installation. I can't believe how much money I'm saving!"

"With my solar investment I've paid the equivalent of $72/month for all household energy including my heat pump, standard electric hot water heater and old 1970's electric-zoned baseboard heat, electric car charging miles - all household electricity. $864/year for everything. Now we're talking!! Thank you solar power. That includes $12/month to CMP being connected to grid, and based on my $18k system with a 25-year guaranteed lifespan of its panels."

Heard it Through the Grapevine

Barry retired as an employee of Bath Iron Works (BIW), where he became well-familiar with the design of the Zumwalt-class destroyers that have been built there, and also learned the ins and outs of solar power. "I learned from a genius friend at BIW that nobody would listen to except me. He had chart on the wall showing everyone the numbers for years and nobody would listen. My friend had already installed his own system and heat pump singlehandedly. He tells me just a day or two ago, 'They still don't listen.' Now I'm the one who has been telling everyone else, just trying to help them out!"

One of the tips Barry received from his co-worker was to maximize his solar production to power complementary technology like his heat pump, or even his baseboard heaters. "When you installed my system I already knew to 'fill the roof.' It was easy working with ReVision on my install and simply filling the roof. The numbers do not lie."

We find it wonderful to see a Mainer with Barry's background who understands the personal and societal value of the clean energy transition and relishes not having to pay a heat or electric bill! We also admire Barry's "fill the roof first" approach. The key to tackling climate change is to electrify everything, so if you have the roof space and desire to capture all of that valuable energy in a cost-effective solar project, then we can help with all of the practical ways to use that clean electricity to reduce and eliminate your fossil fuel use and carbon emissions!

Barry Fifield Data

Barry sent over his spreadsheet for us to take a look at and we separated out his solar self-consumption from his total solar production by combining his online monitoring with his CMP bill data. Not only has Barry eliminated his heating and electric bill he has 2,898 kWh in his credit bank with CMP.