Michele Chalice, Healthy Home Habitats
What motivated you to install solar?:
My commitment to collectively healing our planet with less destructive energy choices. The energy from our panels lessens my guilt from the multitude of other environmental degradations, destruction of ecosystems and violence resulting from all of the other impacts my lifestyle has.
How many panels do you have, and if you know, how much energy are you producing, percentage of your electric usage?:
27, 100% of our electricity and heat with the addition of half a tank of heating oil annually for our 1,500 square-foot living space in a 1900’s home. However, last summer we had so much rain that less kWhs were generated and we used a whole tank of oil. This is still phenomenally better than the three tanks of oil we used to use every year, let alone the additional electric bills that were nearly over $100/mo..
What has been the biggest benefit so far? What are you excited about?”
Less anxiety and increased energy efficiency awareness for my teenage daughter. I love that our Eversource bills are $13.81 per month for the past four years and that our energy use is dramatically less dependent on burning fossil fuels. I love to check my phone app (SolarEdge) to see our panels’ generation and our hourly usage of our kWhs. My daughter and I can talk about the relationship between our kWh use by our induction range/oven, the vacuum cleaner, our basement dehumidifier and our electric water heater during the day. We’ve made and used about 39.7 megawatts since the fall of 2017!
What were the obstacles to installing solar and what did you do to overcome them?:
Cost. I decided to be brave and invest my retirement funds for the sanity of my conscience, our home and our community with a home renovation that included substantial weatherization work and solar. Our payback for the panels is 7 years, with the heat pumps it extends to 15.5 years.
What advice do you have for people considering installing solar?”
Do your weatherization/energy efficiency work first; if possible, through the NHSAVES program. Then make sure that the investment in a solar installation actually works for your home. Solar worked for me because I had excellent roof exposure and was ready to shift my predominant heating source to electric heat with two, hyper-heat heat pumps. Evaluate if there there other solar tools that you can use as well such as solar-powered attic fans and Solatubes (tubes that passively reflect sunlight through a series of prisms through the roof, into a room) My Solatubes include a cigarette-sized solar collector which charges all day and then functions as a nightlight.
Be sure to check to see if your community has a property tax solar exemption. This way you don’t pay increased property taxes for the increased value of your home with solar panels.
Anything else you want to share?:
High-efficiency living isn’t carefree but our solar panels have made all the difference in feeling terrific about our reduced fossil fuel demand each and every day. However, I do not believe that solar power or any technology alone will heal the ecological and environmental damage we have inflicted on our planet. In my opinion, only less people and less consumption can do that. That said, our solar power has allowed me to create a business, Healthy Home Habitats, sharing our efforts with other homeowners looking to reduce their demand, live lighter on the planet and also create regenerative gardens to improve their health, the health of their families and the health of our communities’ ecosystems. For us, solar power is a choice that feels great every day.