Finally Going Solar!

I’ve been interested in Solar power since I thought of doing a solar thermal demonstration project for our school science fair project in 5th grade. That project didn’t quite get off the ground due to problems getting some of the parts in time, but my fascination with harnessing the power of the sun grew. Years later, I discovered portable thin film panels that could generate power and used them to provide energy for a project in the black rock desert and then created a solar powered Sukkah a number of years ago.

When my wife and I purchased a home just over a year ago, I began thinking about solar immediately. After getting settled in and taking care of some immediate projects I started investigating alternatives. I considered two local companies, SolarCity and Sungevity. Ultimately I decided on Sungevity for a number of reasons including my awesome salesperson (solar consultant), Nadia who really went the extra mile to address my questions and concerns. I also really appreciated the option to use American designed and manufactured panels from Suniva. I’m not opposed to imported products when they make sense to me, but the idea of using energy and carbon emissions to ship many panels from so far away as China seemed to at least partially negate the benefit of installing solar. Beyond that, it seems that as demand is growing faster than some companies in China can manufacture panels, they are often subcontracting manufacturing from smaller Chinese firms which are likely to use a more toxic and polluting process than American manufacturers can get away with. I also liked that the Suniva panels are lighter, smaller and generate more power reducing the load on my roof and increasing the amount of energy I could generate in limited roof space.

Sungevity has some awesome financing options. For those who can take advantage of it, the prepaid lease is the most attractive as it costs less than buying the system outright and includes both monitoring and a free replacement of the inverter in ten years. I’m also banking on the fact that my panels won’t be worth enough to warrant removing them after the 20 year lease expires so they will become mine for free or next to free.

I’ll share more details about our system in a subsequent posting and another will focus on solar financing and why it’s so compelling. In the meantime, here’s our system design layout:

Solar Layout Plan