A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

April 9, 2016
Emilie Phillips

Kinder Morgan planned a natural gas pipeline right through my town, Mason NH. I opposed it and decided to put my money where my mouth was. I bought photovoltaic solar panels for the house.

Stack of photovoltaic panels.

Stack of photovoltaic panels.

We had considered PV panels 5 years ago, but the return on investment just wasn’t there. Prices have come down significantly since then. The next question was whether to rent/lease or buy. Since we are planning to keep the house for a while, it made more sense to buy. Also, there is now financing available for PV, so we wouldn’t have to pay a lump sum up front. Our neighbors had a good experience with their installer, Revision Energy. So we went with them.

The process was pretty simple. One guy came out and measured our roof, analyzed the sky line, and looked at our past year of electricity usage. He concluded we could reach net zero if we covered left, right and underneath of the hot water panels. We paid a down payment to reserve a spot on the installation wait list.

Inverter installation in the garage.

Inverter installation in the garage.

Three months later our slot came up — right in the middle of sleet season in March. The indoor work went quickly. They ran electric cables down from the roof through the attic. In the garage, they installed a giant white box containing the inverter and monitoring firmware. It connected to our Ethernet switch and our main circuit breaker box.

Hookups for each PV panel.

Hookups for each PV panel.

Outside the house, after it stopped sleeting, they attached horizontal rails to the roof. The giant PV panels mounted to the rails. The panels are parallel to the roof and spaced above it by a few inches.

While they were there, we also paid Revision Energy to install a mini-split air to air heat pump. Future owners can use it as back up heat for the house. We will be using it as an AC to alleviate our summer humidity problems.

Revision Energy was done at that point, but we still had more hoops to jump through before we could turn the panels on. First we needed the electrical inspection. Next we sent paperwork off to Eversource, our utility. Finally, Eversource replaced our regular meter with a net meter. At last we could start producing power, almost a month after installation started.

28.8 kWh produced so far.

28.8 kWh produced so far.

Our first full day of production: 43kWh.

P.S. Kinder Morgan put the northeast direct pipeline on hold on April 20th, and officially canceled it on May 23rd.

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