Archive for July, 2011

My excellent solar adventure part 4

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated my quest to bring solar power to my home.  With a slower summer schedule, I’ve got some time to let you know how the mission is going.

Back in December, NYSERDA announced some really good incentives for solar thermal.  For those that aren’t familiar with solar thermal, this uses solar panels and/or tubes to heat the water for your electric hot water tank.  This can have some significant savings in your electric bill since hot water can account for up to 30% of your electricity use.  If you are one to calculate “paybacks”, a solar thermal system offers an excellent return when compared to the traditional solar panel system, with a 3 to 7 year payback depending on the system.

The announcement of this new incentive inspired me to brush the dust off of the quotes I received for solar panel and solar thermal systems in the past.  Since it had been a while, the company I decided to use needed to come out and re-inspect the area.  They sent me a new quote, I accepted and away we went.  However, my dream of a new system met with two roadblocks: first, we needed to get a new roof and second, two trees next to our house needed to come down in order to access the southern exposure enough to power the system.  Both of these were things I knew needed to be done regardless.  The roof is about 20 years old and the two trees have had severe lighting damage, one is hollowed out, and they pose a risk to our home.

So with that in mind, I accepted these additional projects in the spirit of bettering my home, but it did add to the overall total cost of the project.   Right now we are in a waiting pattern. The company I contracted with has gotten approval from NYSERDA and submitted paperwork to the town for a work permit.  I’ve contracted with another company to put on our new roof and to a third company to take down the trees.  Now I’m just waiting for everyone to show up and start the jobs.   I’ll post some pictures later as the work gets done.

Mary Ellen

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