This year I have given myself the goal of reducing our home energy usage, and part of that is looking into solar power.
Our location has very good sunlight year-round, and we have a very high electrical bill — between $110 – $130 / month.
We use about 11.5 kilowatt-hours per day. Look at your electricity bill to see your average cost per kilowatt-hour and how much you use per day. Going solar will be good for our pocketbook and for the environment.
I'll be documenting my planning and work here.
1) Grid-tie vs. Off-the-grid.
Our first decision is to decide if we want to go totally off-the-grid vs. having a "grid-tie" where we are still hooked into the existing system. The majority of solar installations are grid-tie systems, but if you're doing research in your own area, consider your location, how much you can afford to invest in batteries, and the reliability of your access to power.
2) Budget and Timeline.
We have to look at how much we can realistically afford and what our timeline is. I pledged myself the goal of having a working system in place by this time next year, so please help me hold to that pledge. We are looking into financing options to pay for the system.
We found a solar installer through SunPower http://us.sunpowercorp.com who has done multiple large installations in our location and comes recommended through friends.
Based on our energy usage, they recommend an initial setup of 8 panels (SunPower 225) and we can increase that in the next year. The total cost is about $16,000 – $17,000.
Here is what we need to prepare:
A) Location of existing electrical meter on the house
B) Copy of a recent electricity bill
C) Photos of the meter enclosure, close up of main circuit breaker next to the meter and if possible, a close up of the main circuit breaker with the cover off
D) Photos of the south facing roof from the roof itself from several directions
Your contractor may also come to your location to assess this on their own.
I'll be keeping you posted with my progress.
Please help me go solar. Your purchase of my e-books allows me to continue forward with this process and continue bringing you information, resources, and support for green business women.
Social Networking for Women in Business, 136 pages of tips on managing your social media.
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Thank you for your support.
Monica S. Flores of is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business — she believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits.