Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Quick Update on the Solar Panels...

The good news so far is that we've been approved by the CT Solar Lease Program. Our house would need 40 Evergreen ESA 210 solar panels, with an 8.4kW solar electric system and this would generate 95% of our energy (based on past usage.) The estimate is that our monthly payment would be $131.37.

Now the rebate application goes to the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. The total proposed cost is $55,860! (My eyes ACTUALLY popped out of my head when I saw the number.) The rebate amount hopefully will cover $29,724 coming from the CT Clean Energy Fund (CCEF.) The difference, I finally understand, is paid in our monthly lease. There must be a lot of people with the same idea because it appears the waiting list to have the panels installed goes into August!

So, for the solar electric...fingers still crossed while we jump the last hurdles.

The solar company also gave us a quote for solar thermal hot water, at a price of $10,264.50. With this one, there is a federal rebate of 30% or $2383, and a CT Clean Energy Fund rebate of $2320, bringing the total down to $5561. 73% of our hot water use would be offset by this kind of system. Hmmmm....things to ponder.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"It's a 50-50 Chance!"

That's what Dan Britton, the Photovoltaic System Designer from Sunlight Solar Energy said at the end of his visit to our house this morning. He was referring to our chance of being approved for the CT Solar Lease program. Apparently, with the current program drawing to a close, they're busy going through the back log of people like us, who are trying to get solar panels with grant money.

(Here's his car - OF COURSE it's a Prius! I also loved that his business card was printed on 100%PCW paper with soy inks and without chlorine, and the presentation folder...made of 100% recycled materials! Who can't be impressed by this company?)

To be honest, I missed a lot of the technical speak about the inverters, but only because while Dan was talking, Julien kept trying to insert himself into the conversation. (He enjoys the science of it so much that he couldn't keep quiet. At one point he brought out circuit boards to show Dan how he himself would make solar panels, and then got out a notebook to take notes on our consultation. For the grand finale Julien made an illustration of our house with the solar panels.) Seriously, it's amazing we got anything done.

(Dan measuring the roof, and taking sun measurements. )

After measurements and calculations, Dan explained that our house was a great candidate for solar energy with only 1% of shade a year - that's what you get for southern exposure with a VERY tall house and no large trees blocking the sun. We're waiting on his proposal to tell us how many solar panels he recommends for our property. He did say we'll need to do some carpentry to reinforce the support beams on the original part of the house. (The addition is built with trusses so there's no problem there.)

What I hadn't understood before today was that we'll still have the CL&P meter, but also an additional one measuring how much energy we produce and sell back to CL&P. This system does not store energy, just sends it back to the street. It's kind of neat to me that we'll be producing the electricity our neighbors will be using. We'll get credits for that energy which we can use to purchase any electricity we'll need later when the days are shorter or we're not producing enough of our own.

I also found it interesting to go to the CL&P website and print out our energy usage for the past 2 years, by month. You can go to the website and pull your usage history and email it to yourself. I can also recommend (so far) the solar company we've used The man who came out to our house was very patient with all of our questions (and Julien's!)

So we may not make the cut this time around. With the backlog of applications, who knows if there is any grant money left at this point? We've heard that this kind of clean energy program will probably reincarnate in some form or another in a few years. Until we hear, we'll be sitting with our fingers crossed, hoping to share the news that we've got solar power!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The GREEN CT Realtor gets GREENER...

If we're approved, my current GREEN-NESS is about to get a shade darker!

A few years ago we had a solar contractor come out to the house to find out about solar panels. At the time we were looking at a cost of $10,000 to install a solar hot water system. After spending around $100,000 to renovate the house, we didn't exactly have any money left over, so that project was shelved.

Since then, the Connecticut Solar Lease Program came along. The basics are that you lease the panels for producing your electricity for 15 years, no down payment (other than a $150 processing fee) and then you make monthly payments of $120. The deadline for applications is rapidly approaching on February 26, 2010.....and guess who is applying?

For more information go to and

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Do You Say GREEN in French?

La Vie en it the new Vie en Rose?

I was flipping through a French mag called Maison & Travaux and came across a short article on a website I just had to research.

This website is While it does not appear to have an English language feature, it is to me, over the top in its GREEN deliciousness! I love the drama of lines such as, "Kindle: Ecological Angel or Demon?" I keep seeing the slogan "Adoptez la green attitude!" Funny, but I always thought the French were so GREEN already. That's my own opinion though, based on the infrastructure & excellent mass transit, use of nuclear energy, and the cars with great gas mileage (just to name a few.) I love that they're looking to further make a difference. Apparently, from this site, there are TONS of eco-shopping opportunities too. Admittedly I spent most of my time perusing the organic wines :) By the way, there are website translators, such as one offered by Google, which may even pop up at the top of your screen, if you need help reading the site.

There does exist an English language site, which seems more eco-consumer centric and less article-driven, but if you click through the blog posts....there is some interesting material. Today's post was entitled Green Coffins for an Eco-Friendly Afterlife. There's something I had NEVER considered, and to be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable with the whole idea.

One of my favorite features on the greenzer website is the GREEN FACE-OFF! This is a comparison of 2 products (say, CFL lightbulbs vs. LEDs, or Apple vs. Dell) to see which is the greener choice. I also like their glossary of GREEN terms.