Moving Forward with Our Investigation of Solar

We had the site assessment for the Make Mine Solar program. They said the solar heat exchange would not work but solar water would. We were not as keen on solar water because of the small size of our household, but we had been told that if our roof qualifies for water, it will qualify for electric. So we moved ahead with talking to a solar installer. We’ll leave that decision for later.

Innovative Power Systems came out last Friday to check out the house and give us a full proposal. They think we can do solar heat exchange, up to 4 panels, on the side of the house (like this). And we can fit a 3kW system for electricity generation on the roof. Our current electric use is 420, so to be independent we’d need to get down to 300. We’ve really been working on this… but clearly we’re not there yet so I need more ideas about how to reduce electricity use. The installer told me about The Energy Detective. He also suggested switching from CFLs to LEDs.

I also moved forward with contacting a builder about the cost of installing a solarium to do passive solar heat exchange (as shown here or here). So far it looks like it will be too costly but he’ll get back to me in a week or two with concrete numbers. Of course there is a big added benefit to the solarium idea – extra living space, and we can start plant seedlings out there at the end of winter.

So we were making progress AND THEN I saw this article in the Star Tribune about a problem with solar rebates. I’m not sure what this means for us – if anything.

About thinkofitasanadventure

We are a 50-something couple living in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. We attended a sustainability conference at our local high school in November 2010, with keynote speaker Richard Heinberg from the Post Carbon Institute. What we heard shocked us deeply. We finally understood the need to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. We immediately began to change the way we live. We joined together with other folks in our neighborhood to learn more, to do more and to have fun doing it! We're part of Transition Longfellow. We're choosing to change now and to "think of it as an adventure." If you are on this journey too, we'd love to hear from you.
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