For most people, the decision to get a Tesla Powerwall comes after they look into solar and learn the benefits of solar + storage. For Linnea Koons it was actually the reverse; she watched the Tesla Powerwall debut video in 2015 and thought the battery design was beautiful. The Powerwall inspired her to look at solar for the new home she was building in Readfield, Maine. Linnea has always been involved in environmental issues and has been very careful to maintain a low carbon footprint. When she was designing her new house she worked with Hallmark Homes, which offered her an energy efficiency package. After she decided she wanted the Tesla Powerwall, she set her sights on a fully net-zero home design. She decided to use geothermal heating and install a 7.2 kW ground-mounted solar array to feed the Powerwall.
“The power goes out in Maine, always has, always will,” Linnea said. “I wanted generation capability at my new house, but I didn’t want to chase after fuel or listen to a generator run during a power outage. I also love the fact that I am generating my own electricity in a sustainable manner.” Even though in 2017 we weren’t battling a global pandemic, Linnea still did her site visits virtually with Zach, her Solar Designer, who emailed her a proposal for the ground-mounted array and Powerwall. Because she was pairing the Powerwall with solar, she was able to take the federal tax credit (now 26% through 2020) off both systems, bringing the total cost down considerably.
“Working on a virtual platform was just fine. Because ReVision communicated so clearly, everything went smoothly. I might have spent 15 minutes marking out the general location of the ground array. Everyone from Revision showed up when they said they would, did what they said they would do. It was one of the few times in my life that I’ve felt like a princess!” Linnea also appreciated the way that ReVision, Hallmark Homes, and Juniper Geothermal all worked together to orchestrate the design and construction of her net-zero home. The construction went smoothly and we were able to seamlessly install the Powerwall into the basement, and build a 24-panel ground-mounted array in the field behind her house.
“ReVision Energy was willing to work with my builder and was happy to incorporate a Powerwall into the project. They also took care of all the interconnection details and applications with CMP . . . Everyone was a pleasure to work with. The communication was great. I was kept informed of applications I needed to sign (electronically). The installers and electricians knew what they were doing and were extremely conscientious, responsible, and thorough . . . I ended up with an environmentally-responsible home that doesn’t have any fuel tanks to fill, generators to listen to, or fumes to smell.”
Readfield, about 15 miles northwest of Augusta, has seen some heavy storms over the last few years, making Linnea especially glad for the clean backup system. “The Powerwall has functioned seamlessly in power failures. In fact, the first time the power went out we didn’t notice it . . . Most recently, our power was out for 3 days during the storm just before Easter. Even though it was still snowing on Good Friday, the array recharged the battery. The next day, the Powerwall was fully charged by 10am, so I ran the dishwasher!” Tesla Powerwalls are typically hooked up to a separate electric panel to power a home’s “critical loads.” Linnea’s critical loads panel includes her refrigerator, freezer, microwave, hot water heater, well pump, chest freezer, and dishwasher, as well as most of the lights.
“The more time I spend with my system, the happier I am that I have a net-zero house,” Linnea ended by saying. “ReVision Energy’s work culture, forward-thinking mindset, and willingness to work with my builder helped make it all possible.”
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