Solar Champion Stories

Methuen Homeowners Use Solar to Tame Electric and Gas Bills

When Stephen Tarquinio bought his parents' house in Methuen, MA, he and his family needed to make some renovations to the split-level home in which he'd grown up. The upgrades included an in-law apartment for his mother Judy, while he, his wife Jenn, and their two young sons resided in the main house. Shortly thereafter Stephen realized that the floorplan was not the only thing that was going to need some rearranging: with a family of four plus an additional living space, they were spending far more money on electric and natural gas bills than they wanted to be.

With the help of ReVision Energy, the Tarquinios tamed those energy bills with the addition of a 44-panel solar array that powers their electric needs, helps heat and cool the house, and even cleans the pool.

Solar Savings + Air Source Heat Pumps

Stephen's interest in solar energy was sparked when a coworker showed him how much energy and money he was saving with his own solar array. To Stephen, an engineer who had already been tracking his own energy expenditures, it made a lot of sense. "A big part of it was that I understood the technology," he says.

In the process of finding the right solar contractor, Stephen had four companies out to his home but ultimately chose ReVision Energy. Bob, the ReVision solar design specialist, was the only one of the four who went up on the roof to take measurements and put together a complete proposal on the spot. They sat in the kitchen on that day and went over how much electricity a rooftop solar array could generate, and when he could expect it to pay itself off. "It was a fantastic experience," Stephen says of working with ReVision. He had his preliminary site visit in June, 2016 and the array was installed and producing clean solar electricity by the end of August.

While the solar array met close to 100% of the Tarquinio's electric needs at the time of installation, they went on to install highly efficient electric-powered air source heat pumps for heating and cooling, which he controls through an app to only run when needed for greater efficiency. The increase in overall electric use as a result of the heat pumps was more than offset by a decline in natural gas usage.

Sunny Future

Stephen notes that he's much more aware of sunny days now that he has solar. A phone app lets him keep track of how much his array is producing at any given moment, and he can see the correlations between his solar production and the weather. While over the course of the year everything tends to even out, he noted that some months are a surprise. December of 2018, for example, produced more energy than November despite having the shortest days of the year, thanks to some unusually sunny, cold weather.

While he likes to clear the snow from his solar array in the wintertime to ensure the highest production possible, taking care not to scratch the panels with a foam-covered roof rake, he says the fun part of being a solar owner in the summertime is the effortless of it all - he does nothing and the solar array just keeps cranking out clean energy.

Their solar journey started with a helpful hint from a friend and the Tarquinios are passing it on, letting neighbors and friends know about the positive impact their transition to solar energy has had for them. From making their home more sustainable and energy efficient to saving money on their electric bills, they are are looking forward to another 50 years -another full generation for the Tarquinios at least - of free solar electricity to power their family home.