Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Solar Project Has Started

On Friday they started installing the conduit that will hold the wires. They installed the cut off box. So if need be, the feed to the grid can be shut off. The pipe that runs down the side of the house was painted to match our siding. You can hardly see it.

The Electrician made the measurement and talked us through their plans for Monday. I really like that. So far all the installers have been very informative and experienced. These are people who are Masters and have had their own businesses. Now working for the Solar company we are using. Most of them had to seek a company to employ them because the work , due to our economy, just wasn't there to continue with their own Business. I think it was a good move for them. Continuing to use their skills while in this recession and helping with the Green alternative is a great choice. Having these type of workers are far better than just some newbie that has had a year or two training. When you are spending thousands of dollars on a project, it really makes a difference in the workmanship. It needs to be done right the first time. We are very pleased with yesterdays workmanship.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Solar Panel Decision

Making the decision which solar panels to use was a difficult task. We looked at many Brands. Checked out the performance, Manufacturers' rating, the panels' output, warranties, workmanship and above all (for me) the cosmetic appeal. There were some good ones out there. All the panels we were interested in were Monocrystalline, meaning that it is made up of one layer of conducting crystals. Years ago they made them with several layers, thinking at that time it would harvest more energy. Of course now with today's technology we can harvest more energy with using only one layer. Although we check out many manufacturers, I will list only the three we were seriously looking at.
First company we were introduced to was Schuco, a German company. Schuco has been in the United Sates for a little over three years now. Their panels have a 210 watts output per panel with a minimum output of 207 watts. The panels have a 90% output guarantee for 12 years and an 80% guarantee for 25. They are a very good company with a great reputation.
Second one was Suntech. Their output per panel was 180 with the same 90% and 80% output guarantee. I did not like the looks of this one. You know the lady of the house rules. It's all about Looks... Looks...Looks. Oh yes, performance counts but Looks over rules.
SunPower was the third one investigated, This was the best in our view and the one we went with. Sunpower has several sizes of panels ranging from 210 to 230 watts output. The panel we decided on was 225 watts output. The size of the panel was ideal for our installing area. Making the number a panels needed perfect for our site. There was a 10 year product warranty where all the others were only 5. Output guarantee is the same for all of the panels, that is really standard for solar panels. This company also has a monitoring system included with the panels. I spoke about that in an earlier post. Oh about the Looks..well it is the Photo above. Nice and clean,we will have them mounted with no gaps for a very smooth look.They are en route as I type this post. They will arrive at the installation Company we chose.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Men of Change.

I saw this video and thought, out of all these men, did they help or hurt the environment? It became clear that these men did change the things we do and our technology in the world. However did their decisions bring us here today? From the chariots to the automobiles, from industry to nuclear, from sky to the moon and from the small business to big business. All of these things contribute to the environment we live in today. Every decision made effected Our lives. Yet we see in the Video, the faces of the Men that wanted to rule our world. Reading into their faces with our hindsight! The knowledge of foresight unattainable to them. Look at the faces so we do not forget..they helped change the way we live and how we think!

I viewed this video at Is this Really happening? He has a different view about the video. Check it out.... give him a visit... Link above.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Solar Family is About to be Born

I know you are wondering how the solar is going. Well, we are all set and waiting on the State. You see the Federal government changed the rules, and why not they like to change things. With a New fiscal year starting in October, this was the time to make changes for the states to receive the money. The State has to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed in order to get the funds from the Government to pass on to the consumer. Our savings will be close to 5000.00 so we wait! That kind a money is worth the wait. We are really hoping to get this done this year. Every thing else is done and ready. Once the State opens the applications acceptance then we are a go.
After writing the above yesterday, we received a call that the state is now accepting applications. That means it's a go. Today we will be meeting with the company and signing the agreement. We will be ready to go. Will post photos as the work gets underway. We will be the Second Solar Family Home in our immediate area. Oh I like that. It's always great to lead the Pack.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Snoring Vanished-Who Knew?

It has been almost a month since we purchased the New Bed. As stated in a previous post, I had not been able to get a good night sleep in years with the other bed. If I had known that a Bed could make me not snore, it would have been purchased years ago! So, I know you are asking" how do you know you are not snoring". Great question! Hubby told me this morning that he had noticed it. I do feel better, in a better mood and sleeping well through the night.
I am not a spokes person or getting any money for stating this (but I could use the money,lol). It is Just the Facts, like Joe Friday of Dragnet would say.
Now hubby likes a soft bed and I like a hard bed. This Simmons Beautyrest NXG is one bed that we both can sleep in. He likes it and is not having any back aches and my body is waking well rested. Yes cute little me has been I snorer for many years. I thought it was just in my genes. Mom and Dad are snorers. Once when they visited us in Germany, it sounded like the house was falling down. Hubby and I couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from until we went into the hall way. It was from the guest room! A few years later, while in counseling , Hubby informed me I snored! "Well ",I told him,"You know it runs in the family". He would live with it for the next 25 years. So, today he tells me I am not snoring! We figure it most be the alignment of the spine. Whatever it is, we are both sleeping very well now and together!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heathy Living- The Weight Delimma.

Wow, Here I am again talking about the things every one hates to hear...Weight! Oh yeah I know you are going to click off this page real fast now. WAIT..It's not that bad and I am not going to talk about how much I weigh or how we all need to loose it. NO..NO..NO! Let's talk Food and Fun times. Yeah that's what I said. Now with Candy and Chocolate time in the near future we all are going to partake. Me included, the holidays would be a drag if I could not join in.
So what are some things we can do to enjoy our food. Let's enjoy every morsel, eating it and savoring every bite. That slows me down when eating and tends to make me eat less. Then go for a walk and look at all the decorations in the neighborhood.
I love to cook this time of year. It is sometime a challenge to make the sweets healthier. I do manage it often. If you haven't visited My Kitchen yet, now would be a good time.I really love all the comfort foods. Making them healthier is my goal. Oh yeah I want that same taste. Sometime I can not change it, but eating less of it is okay. So how does Pumpkin cheesecake sound? Be looking for that recipe next week. I am working on it now.
Let's enjoy the next four months and try to see the healthier side of Food.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Solar?

Glad you asked. For some time we have been looking into ways to lower our electric bill. Our home is all electric. We have changed out light bulbs, turned things off when not in use, and monitored our meter daily. All our windows were replaced with Tripled paned, the house had new siding with molded insulation used. A pellet stove was installed, a new two speed heat pump and Heat film put on the solarium window and doors. Still our bill is not going down. This is mostly due to the rising cost of energy. Looking at Geothermal, Gas, Wind power and Solar. We decided that because of the location of our home, Tax incentives( state, county and federal), Solar would be the best move for our money.
All the questions about Maintenance and what if we need a New roof were looked into. As far as the Maintenance. Some solar companies will monitor your system relieving us from that worry. They have a system in place that allows it to be monitored by their computer, similar to a home monitoring system. It takes a look at the weather in your area and other solar systems measuring them. If your numbers are low they will trouble shoot and let you know. Sending out a technician if need be, this is included in the cost and warranty. There is also a monitor placed in your home were you can see the amount of solar energy being produced in real time. Some even give you the option of web monitoring and an APP for your phone. How awesome is that?
Most panels have a 35 year life. Everything is usually covered during the first 25 years time. You really have to be careful on this coverage. Do your homework on the company. There is really no maintenance on the newer panels, they are made better nowadays to withstand the harsh environment.
Now what if you need a new roof? It is better to put a new roof on before the panels. However with that said, if your roof is not that old, our is 10 years and double shingled, you do not need to reroof. Actually the panels prolong the life of your roof due to the way they work. The Panels collect the sun energy and send it to Inverter and then to the meter. By doing this the heat of the sun is not bearing down on your roof. This make the shingles cooler, saving the aging of it. A typical roof can last 25 years or better. Some newer roofing is even more energy friendly, last longer, 30+ years.
As this project get underway I will be blogging more about it.

Photo from Sunpower

Friday, October 9, 2009

Aloha Friday - How high will you go?

Our Electric bill at one point was over 700.00! My friends is almost like paying their Mortgage payment. We managed to get it down to 400.00. However that is still too high for me. So now we are looking at another energy source. More to follow....

My question for You:

How high would you let your electric bill go, before you will consider another energy source?

If you would like to see other links or join in Aloha Fridays, the link is the Meme Photo at top. This Meme is sponsored by An island Life

Please linkup so we can visit your blog. This link is only for Aloha Friday Participants

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We Are Going Solar.

We went on the Solar Home Tour in our area last weekend. Visited this home in the photo as well as some others. Have had four solar companies visit us and given us estimates on the cost. At first I was not too interested. Thinking so much money, how long will it take to recoup the investment? What about the maintenance on the panels? Not to mention the house down the street, their panels looks bad! I would not want that on my house.
After talking to some people and hearing about the grant funds, I came to the feeling this was a plausible move. Earlier I posted on the grant money. Now I want to blog a little about the layout and it's functions.
Our home faces Southeast. We have no shading trees or other things. so the panels would go on the top of our roof with a clean look. Similar the the photo here. Now we were told by most of the sale reps that there was no Net Metering in our area. Wrong, Yes we would have Net Metering. This is where your Meter would be running backwards as the solar energy is being collected. Therefore there is no lost solar energy. and you would be getting credit if you run in the negative numbers. Depending on how much one would like to offset their electric energy will decided on the size and number of panels.
Another thing a company can do is monitor the system. We like that,if there is a problem they will see it and send someone out to fix it.
Going on the tour helped me to see that this is a good choice. The owners of the homes talked to us about their savings and how the system works. Most of the homes we looked at did not have the new improved solar panels, yet they had good savings. Most of them had some sort of shading throughout the day, depending on the sun position. We do not have any shading during the day. Yet all these homes still had good results.
One home had a battery back up. We were told that the batteries are huge and would take up a Entire wall. Not true, the battery was not that large and one we could accommodate.
Attending the Solar Home Tour was a great choice for us. One needs to do some studying so not to get misled by Sale Reps. find out if there is a Solar Home tour in your area and visit. You do not have to be solar to visit the homes.
We are getting ready to sign a contract to install Solar Power . In the next few months I will be posting as this project gets underway.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A New Greener Coffeepot.

Here is our new Coffee pot. Very Green if I might say. It doesn't have a heat plate that stays on, will brew 1-10 cups of coffee. Can brew a single mug or a couple mugs to go. I really like that feature. It will also brew ice coffee, which I am also fond of.
Our old coffee pot stopped keeping the coffee hot. We needed to look for a new one. Trying to be green about all our decisions we found this one. It's by Hamilton Beach called Stay and Go. Because it brews then turns off there is no wasted energy used. Conserving energy is high on our going green list. I will keep you updated monthly on how it is working out.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's in The Bag- Second Month Update

Now into the second month..How did I do. Pretty good. I managed to take my cloth bags with me. At the Mall , and Grocery stores I used them. One time I forgot so I told them "Paper please". Yeah they didn't like what. I use the paper bags for other things and it is recyclable.
So,How did you do?