My husband and I have been thinking about this for many years... figuring out a way to go solar or wind power, or? Finally, I think the stars have aligned and the combination of a local city program, and tax credits available right now, and a South-facing house roof in a city with lots of sun has got us moving forward at last. We're not quite sure if we can do it, but we've taken the first steps.
We attended a local information system, through the city of Pendleton, Oregon. Solarize Pendleton is an amazing program that has been put together with the help of many different people and agencies. I encourage you to look at their program, and copy it in your own communities. We feel that we can not afford to miss out on this opportunity. And in this day and age, it even makes sense to pull money out of retirement funds to invest in solar energy for our house, instead of Wall Street. We're hoping we can get one of the no-interest loans that the city is offering. Wish us luck!!
We have the Oregon Energy Trust coming out next week to do an energy audit of our house to see how we can improve how we use and save energy. They'll look at the insulation, appliances, heat, AC, hot water etc... At the same time, we will be getting an assessment as to whether or not our house is situated to be a good candidate for solar. They'll look at how much shade we get (almost none), and the orientation of our roof (almost due South). The panels need to face South for the best energy generation. The size of our roof will also determine the size of array we can get. At this time, there is no program to buy back excess energy that we generate, but it will be credited back to our electric account to use when the sun is not out. Excess energy will go to our neighbors to use, keeping it all local.
I thought it'd be fun to bring you along on the journey as we try to "go greener".
It's a cause we both feel very strongly about, and want to teach our boys, by example that it needs to be a priority, both for the environment, and for our fellow citizens who have sacrificed their lives drilling for oil in the Gulf Coast, or mining for coal in West Virginia. Not everyone can go solar, but we can all make steps to use less gas and electricity.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Also, I'd love to hear any other stories and experiences of others who have gone solar!!!