Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Q+A with Meredeth Winter about her solar array on the South Freeport waterfront

Meredeth Winter, a philanthropy adviser at the Nature Conservancy, recently updated her 1984 South Freeport waterfront home with a 4.8 kW grid-tied photovoltaic array that generates 6,602 kWh annually and a Chromagen flat-plate solar hot-water collector that produces 19,000,000 BTUs of renewable heat energy annually—together offsetting more than 14,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Photo courtesy ReVision Energy
Q: What inspired you to add a solar array to your home?
A: As a long-time employee of a conservation-minded organization, it was largely about walking the talk at first, but because our house is optimally sited for solar it was a natural progression. We called ReVision Energy and they quoted us the options and installed the system in four days, not to mention fixing a faulty snowmelt heater that was running overtime and helping us with the tax rebate. I can't say enough good things about them.
    South Freeport Harbor by Dave Cleaveland/Maine Aerials
Q: What have been the benefits of this addition?
A: I love feeling like a power station. Since I dislike opening bills, it's great to get one that that says they owe me money. We make more kWh than we use from March to October, and the extra goes back to the grid to offset the months of November to February when there's less sun. For example, last June we produced 475 kWh but only used 415 kWh.

Q: What's next?
A: If I could do something better, it would be to sit down with my kids more often and look online at the TED Dashboard that shows in real time what we're producing. We're also interested in connecting the solar hot-water system to more radiant floor heating.

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