Solar Champion Stories

Koutelis Family Doubles Down on Solar

Three generations of the Koutelis family, with another member on the way - they believe strongly in preserving the environment for all future generations.

Two generations of the Koutelis family reside in Epping, New Hampshire, but location is not the only thing they have in common - now, they both have solar-powered homes.

As someone who has spent much of his life working in the energy industry and data analytics, Mike Koutelis knows firsthand about incorporating solar into the grid. Through his work, he gets an involved look at how solar energy systems are affecting the grid at each instant throughout the day. Both Mike and his wife, Rose, attended Unity College in Maine, where he studied environmental sciences. Mike says that Unity is where his story started.

Deep-Rooted Committment

"We came to Unity in the '70s when the environmental pollution awareness movement in the United States had reached a new consciousness and some of us embraced our heroes like Scott and Helen Nearing, John Denver, and others who called for change of thinking about the environment," said Mike, in a news article with Unity College in 2013. His college education had such an impact on shaping his future career and commitment to renewable energy that he and Rose recently decided to give back to the school by donating a wind turbine.

Mike had known about ReVision Energy for years, due to his involvement in the industry, and it's interesting, he says, that ReVision also got its start in Maine, less than an hour from his alma mater. When Mike and Rose decided to install solar on their new home, ReVision seemed the logical choice, intuitive like the decision to install solar itself.

"My roots go a long way back," he says, "and it's great to see solar growing because we do need it for the future. It's not just for yourself, we're all doing it for the well-being of future generations."

A Family Under the Sun

For Mike and Rose, that future is close to home - in fact, it's right next door! Their son Bobby, and his wife, Sheila purchased the family home he grew up in, and Mike and Rose built their new home on the adjacent lot. For Bobby and Sheila, the solar fits well with their lifestyle, which includes gardens in the yard, and chickens for fresh eggs. They are raising their own family now in the home, with one young daughter and another on the way.

Impending policy changes encouraged both families to move ahead with systems this past summer. For Mike and Rose, solar was the next step for the house they had built with the idea of incorporating energy efficiency & renewables to become a net zero household. Their investments included closed cell foam insulation, energy efficient windows, LED lighting and air source heat pumps. Now powered with solar, they have just about reached their goal of providing for 100% of their energy needs. "It's a really powerful combination," Mike says. "It takes very little to heat and cool the house."

Bobby had also been looking to expand the small PV system that his parents had installed on their barn 8 years ago, and did so shortly after. With the new ground mounted expansion in their backyard, they should also be able to cover the entirety of their electrical usage with solar.

As someone who grew up on the seacoast, "I was very much a New England kid," says Bobby. "Hiking, surfing, snowboarding, taking advantage of all that stuff." His investment in renewable energy helps ensure that those same outdoor environments will be there for his own children to enjoy.

Both families were happy with their installation experience. "You guys were great, loved the team you had out here. ReVision has a great team concept and they were able to connect with us, and be flexible and open to taking our input, even during the install," said Mike. "Very professional, super courteous and nice," added Bobby.

Koutelis Family With Ground Mounted Solar Array