Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Solar site assessment

Spring is a busy time for our family, as it is with many others. Before it gets any later though, I thought I'd try to give an update of our solar electric journey.

A few weeks ago, we had the Energy Trust of Oregon come out and do a home evaluation, both for its current energy efficiency, and its solar electric site "value". Their folks climbed up in our attic crawl space, and under our house, looked at our heat and air conditioner, water heater, and gas and electric bills. They made a few minor recommendations, but our house is relatively new (12 years old), so it's in pretty good shape. Next, the solar evaluation was also an easy one. There was a neat tool the evaluator used to determine our exposure and shade. It had a graph of sun exposure, and a reflective dome fit over it that would show the percent of shade a site had. It was a low-tech tool for a high tech adventure!!

We suspected what the Energy Trust person confirmed, that we have 100% solar exposure... Our roof in the front faces due South, and we have no shade blocking it. We also have room on our electric circuit breaker to expand. We have space on our roof for a 3-4 kilowatt solar array. We also expressed interest in solar hot water heat, but right now the best incentives are for solar power.

If anyone else is interested in renewable energy or efficiency, I found this website for a list of state by state renewable/ energy efficiency money incentives. It depends on where you live, but most states have more than a few programs out there.

Since our initial evaluation, we have applied for the city's loan program, and were supposed to have the actual solar/roof contractor our today to give us a bid on exactly how much it's going to cost, but right now it's raining pretty good, and that appointment was canceled and will be rescheduled for later this week. I'll let you know what happens!!!!

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