We talked with Phil Blackwood about his decision to purchase solar, the purchase process and what’s next in his ongoing quest towards energy efficiency:
SP: Why did you go solar?
PB: I have always been fascinated by solar power. When I talked to some people [with solar panels] I could see how happy they were with their systems, especially when the systems had already paid for themselves. I did some financial calculations and decided it was not only good for the environment but also a good investment. After we had our system installed I continued reading about the environmental benefits and found they are incredible.
SP: How was the solar the purchase process?
PB: The purchase process was simple. I visited our local dealer, really liked the people I met there, and pretty much decided on the spot to go ahead and get the system. After discussing it with my wife, we put down a deposit to get the panels ordered!
SP: How effective has your SunPower system been in reducing your monthly energy bills?
PB: My panels are producing exactly the amount of power I was expecting. My lowest electric bill has been $2. Typically I am saving more than $200 a month. The amount of power produced held up well as the days got shorter in the fall. They produce the most power in the summer - right when we need it to air condition the house.
SP: You’re obviously an eco-conscious consumer. Now that you’re armed with solar panels and an electric vehicle, what’s next?
PB: I held a big celebration to inaugurate my system, and later in the evening I started thinking, “Now what? Maybe I can paint my roof white!” I studied that and decided a better option was to install a radiant barrier on the lower side of the roof (inside the attic). It’s the same idea as white paint, but it’s on the inside instead of the outside. We had our radiant barrier installed in January. I’m also changing out all our light bulbs with LED and ESL bulbs. Since we have already done a lot of other energy efficiency work on the house, the one big thing remaining is to switch out our natural gas heating with a heat pump that runs off the electricity from our roof. And maybe expand our system. And maybe see if we can go from one electric car and one gas-powered car, to two all-electrics.
SP: What advice would you provide to a homeowner who is considering a solar system purchase?
PB: Go for it!