Even in the midst of a pandemic, 2020 was the year to go solar for Alan and Kathy Clapp of Mashpee, MA. The right combination of technology and financial incentives brought them savings and peace of mind, with rooftop solar, battery backup, and intelligent energy load management.
When Alan and Kathy built their home new 10 years ago, it was with the goal of creating a home that would be as sustainable and efficient as possible. Equally as important as good insulation and the actual construction of the house was deciding where they would source their energy. For heating and cooling they chose geothermal, knowing that it would transfer the burden of heating costs to their electric but save them money overall in fuel costs. Having worked in the solar industry for years in the development of industrial scale solar, Alan had long been interested in bringing personal power generation closer to home.
Taking Advantage of Tax Savings
The decreasing Investment Tax Credit for solar is what drove him and Kathy to make the switch before the end of 2020 when it will drop from 26% to only 22%. “This is the time to act,” said Alan. “It was a great financial investment, with a great payback even though our house was not optimally oriented. It’s worked out really well so far.”
The 40-panel, 14.5-kilowatt system, designed and installed by ReVision, now spans the east- and west-facing rooftops of their home. They expect it to pay for itself in under ten years, and to generate approximately 75-80% of their electricity, which includes running the geothermal heating system. With the help of an accommodating neighbor, they were able to remove a couple of shady trees to boost the solar availability of the location, and now expect to generate more than their original production estimate.
Luckily Alan knew where to turn at the beginning of the process when it came to finding a solar company for residential installations. With a nephew that works for ReVision (our own Dan Clapp!), Alan was already familiar with the history and values of our company and was pleased that we had expanded into the Massachusetts market as well. “I know you do an awesome job,” said Alan.
But yet another piece of what made ReVision suited to the job (and 2020 the right year for it) was that Alan and Kathy were also looking for a backup energy source. Located on the Cape where the grid is particularly vulnerable to storm damage, they experience frequent power blackouts – often as many as 5 or 6 a year and sometimes lasting multiple days.
They originally contemplated an emergency generator that would run on gas, but much preferred the more environmental idea of a backup battery solution. The two options were financially similar, and the clean, quiet battery won out over the gas-powered generator. “It’s as seamless as a generator, with without any noise or maintenance,” said Alan.
Lumin is a Smart Choice
Given the size of the electrical load for the geothermal heating and cooling, backing up their home required creativity in the solution. The end result was 2 Tesla Powerwalls paired with a Lumin – a “smart” panel that allows control of which loads are powered and when.
“It provides me with data and the ability to be as efficient as possible with my combined system – particularly the geothermal system for heating and cooling,” said Alan. It makes it possible to essentially have “whole house” backup power without needing the amount of battery storage that would actually be required to power the entire house at once.
Since wintertime outages have been their main concern, this solar + battery + Lumin solution provides peace of mind. “Having the battery backup is long term security to make sure the house won’t freeze,” said Alan.
The systems were all installed in early April of this year, under social distancing and safety protocols. “We social-distanced whenever we interacted. There were no problems at all,” said Alan. “The crew was very safety conscious.” In addition, both he and Kathy are thrilled with the unobtrusive aesthetics of the completed installation. “It really looks nice, it really disappears on the roof.”
Someday in the future, they hope to add to their sustainable lifestyle with an electric vehicle and charger, but Alan is also excited about the future of battery storage in general, and sees it growing for both residential and grid-scale applications. “Battery storage is the complementary piece that allows renewable energy to go even further and provide an efficient energy solution,” he said. “I think the future is very bright for all of us.”
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