Going for Solar – The First Year

Happy New Year! View from under our Solar PV Awning In our first full year with our solar awning, we generated 5,816 kWh of solar energy, which is 16% more than we expected.  I’m not sure if that is a normal fluctuation in the amount of sunny days we had this year or a trend […]

Wordless Wednesday – Back to School Eco-Style

Here’s are some snapshots from our Back to School shopping.  We tried where ever possible to get environmentally friendly school supplies for our twin second graders. Crayons made with solar power Markers made with recycled plastic FSC Certified Notebook Made with reforested wood Composition notebooks made from sugar cane Full view of the sugar cane […]

Going for Solar – Adding Insurance for Solar Array

Hurricane Irene 2011 – Photo courtesy of NASA With Hurricane Irene heading straight for Boston I finally got around to calling my insurance company to see if I needed to make any changes to my homeowners’ coverage now that we have this expensive solar awning on our home.  I’ve been meaning to do it once […]

Going for Solar – Becoming a Net Generator

Our March 2011 Electric Bill – No Payment Due That didn’t take long, it took longer to write and publish this post. As soon as the days started getting longer our solar awning started generating more and more electricity.  So much so that when we got our March electric bill (2/17-3/22) we were shocked that […]

Going for Solar: Your First Electric Bill (Step 12)

I cannot believe how excited I was about getting an electric bill.  I was eagerly anticipating our first electric bill after we turned on our Solar Awning.  Yeah, I’m probably a little crazy, but I was excited to see how low our net-usage was, that is, how little electricity we used from the grid. Here […]

Going for Solar: Flipping the Switch To Green Energy (Step 11)

We finally got the go ahead from the electric company to turn on our solar awning on November 19, 2010. It was a bright, sunny day and I took a quick break from work to run home and flip the switch. Usually your solar contractor gives you basic training on how your system works,  then […]

Estimating the Effects of Tilt and Azimuth on Solar Installation

Warning, this is for the more advanced DIY solar fans. I was recently discussing our solar project with a friend who is looking at homes in Atlanta and wants to factor in the feasibility of a solar PV installation.  In trying to find a tool to calculate the impact of roof pitch (aka tilt) and […]

Going for Solar: Final Sign Offs (Step 10)

Caution stickers the electrical inspector required The final step before flipping the switch is passing the electrical inspection and getting your electric utility to sign off that you can put energy back onto the grid. The electrical inspection was very straight forward and took less than an hour.  I attribute that to the quality of […]

Solar Hot Water Heating up in Massachusetts

Image courtesy of solarenergyfactsblog.com I’m really excited to see the new solar energy incentive program testing the waters in Massachusetts.  MassCEC is conducting a trial for a residential solar hot water incentive program.  Scheduled to begin in February 2011, the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program will provide $12.50/sq ft of collector plus a $200 Massachusetts […]

The Origins of Solar Panel Jewelry

Jon loves me so much he invented something for me: Solar Panel Jewelry. It was such a hit with our friends and family that he’s continuing to experiment with forms and techniques and now he’s selling it online and he will exhibit pieces at an upcoming art show.   How does loving me turn into […]