Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Next Step

Our overall goal is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and other non-green energies. We have reduced our energy needs now by approximately 30% since we moved here 3 years ago by replacing appliances, light bulbs and installing a house wide energy saver as I described in an earlier blog in Sept '09. To seize upon the still available state and federal energy rebates and grants, the time has come to investigate alternative, green energy options such as solar energy.

Our friends, Hal and Gail, recently invested in solar energy systems for their home and invited us over to learn more. John was listening more attentively, thus summarizing our visit as follows: “ To reduce (eliminate?) their reliance on utility company supplied electricity, they developed a plan with Mark Bortman of Exact Solar to install two systems: a solar thermal system to provide energy for heating water and a photovoltaic system to generate electricity. The thermal system generates preheated hot water for cleaning, showering and for their spa. If the water isn’t hot enough then ordinary house current electricity can be used to bring it to the desired temperature. Their photovoltaic system, which was installed just two months ago, consists of 16 panels that can generate up to 5 kilowatts of power per hour during the day. This energy is then inverted into AC electricity and a monitoring system reports how much energy is being produced each day as well as how much carbon dioxide is being saved by their environment friendly energy systems. Interestingly, when we saw them on a cold but sunny February afternoon they had already generated about 25 kW hours of power- approximately enough electricity to meet their needs for the day. Hal is looking forward to seeing how much electricity will be generated when the long, sunny days of summer arrive. “

The picture shows the actual installation taking place at their home.

There are both federal tax credits and state grants that can offset the cost by approximately 60%. Please see below for more information:

PA solar rebate information: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/in_the_news/10475/pa_sunshine_solar_program/553019

Federal solar tax credit information:


We are meeting with Exact Solar this week so we can begin to determine how to substitute green energy in place of conventional power sources from utility companies.

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