Monday, November 5, 2018

The Post I'm So Excited To Write

I have been SOOOO excited to finally write this post! 

It's been a long time coming, but it will all be worth it in the end!

What am I talking about, you say?

MOUNTAIN MAMA WENT SOLAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember I told you about my plans many, many months ago?

I bet you thought I changed my mind or something fell through. 

Nope....I just had to be practical about things. 

The south side of my house, before installation
I started my solar journey by using a website called Energy Sage. This was an absolutely amazing place to start, and I'm so grateful that I stumbled upon that site because it made the whole process so much simpler. 

Once I entered some basic information on Energy Sage, a number of companies reached out with quotes, and Energy Sage made it super easy to compare them side by side, and to read reviews on each company. I also did some research online, checking out more reviews in various places. 

I finally decided on Kasselman Solar,  a company based in Albany, NY, that has been in business since 1948 and has incredible reviews online. They gave me the most appealing quote, and made the entire process so simple. 

I was so incredibly happy to see this truck pulling into my driveway!
So why did it take me so long? 

Well, I told you I was going to be practical about this....and I sure was. I had my accountant look over the tax credits and she determined it would take me two tax seasons to recoup the full amount of the tax credit. Which wouldn't be an issue if someone were paying outright for the solar panels, but I was financing the entire project through two separate loans - one is a NYSERDA loan (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and the other a Green Sky Bridge Loan. The bridge loan covers the portion of the project that will be refunded in tax credits, and has 0% financing for either 12 months or 18 months.  

In order to not pay anything out of pocket for this project, I chose to move the installation to October and take the 18 month loan, which will give me until April of 2020 to repay the loan, with 0% interest. That's two tax seasons....perfect!

Two more of the Kasselman trucks. I think in total on day 2 there were 5 trucks at my house!
So, I've been just biding my time since April, waiting for the perfect time to start the installation. 

My project manager at Kasselman Solar was wonderful - they held my hand every step of the way, making it super easy to apply for both loans and get all the permits needed for the project. They contacted my electric company and handled all the details with them as well.  It really couldn't have been simpler, once I decided which company I was going with. 
The lumber necessary to sister the beams was brought into the attic by removing the attic fan
We finally had a date of October 1st to begin the installation.  One of the things that had been revealed during the roof inspection (set up by Kasselman, of course) was that the beams in the attic would need to be sistered to support the weight of the solar panels. It would add another $500 to the price...also covered in the loan. 

When they arrived on October 1st to begin installation, they discovered moisture and mold in the attic which had not been there during the previous inspection. 

The very awkward access to my attic...a ladder that opens onto a staircase. I never go up there!
The project was put on hold once again, so I could get a roofer in to see what was wrong. 

I finally got a roofer in, and he was able to tell me the problem was condensation, not leaking. The guest bathroom vented into the attic, not out the roof (why????) and the attic fan was not working. 

Whew!!

So, the electrician is coming today to install a new attic fan that will be controlled by both temperature and humidity. The bathroom vent will be addressed at some point in the future as well. 

Meanwhile, the project was back on the calendar! Stage 1 on October 31st.....and stage 2 on November 3rd. 

Yippee!!


While one team worked on sistering the beams in the attic, another team dug a trench from the house to the generator and electric pole.  Two electricians worked on site each day, hooking up whatever needed to be done to make the magic happen.


Good thing they brought that little workhorse, since they dug all these rocks out of the narrow trench!

I'll have to hook up Bee's trailer and move them....if the ground ever dries up enough to actually drive the tractor - we've had so much rain my back garden is a muddy mess!


I guess I'll be reseeding in the spring! They did a great job cleaning up, not a piece of anything left behind. 


Finally, after 6 months of planning/waiting, Mountain Mama has gone solar!


I couldn't be more pleased with both Energy Sage and Kasselman Solar. They truly made the process as seamless and painless as possible!

The panels are not 'working' as of yet....the building inspector needs to come inspect them, and then the electric company has to swap the meter. But once that's done, I'll get such joy in watching my meter run backwards!!!  

Even with the loan, I'll be saving about $600 a year on electricity. And that's at today's rates, who knows how high they will go in the future? 


I'll share more on my solar experience as things are finalized, but if you are considering solar at all, I would seriously suggest you start with Energy Sage!

This is not a sponsored post, I truly just want to help you on your solar journey. I found the whole process completely confusing and intimidating until I found Energy Sage - without them I am not sure I would have gone through with the solar process, even thought I wanted to for years.  

Thank you, Energy Sage & Kasselman Solar! You made this Mountain Mama's solar dreams come true! 

43 comments:

  1. How exciting! Good for you! I'm eager to hear how well it works for you.

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    1. Thanks, Pattie! I can't wait until they are all hooked up and running!

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  2. Congrats on going Solar! I look forward to hear how it is working once up and running.

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    1. I'm pretty darned excited, can you tell, Penny? :) I've always wanted to go solar - I'd love to be completely off grid, but I don't think that's going to happen but I'm pretty close to it now!

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  3. That's exciting news. Can't wait to see how it all works.

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    1. How lame am I that this is what I'm so excited about? Not a new car or an RV or something fun like that....but SOLAR PANELS!! Ha ha I'm surely getting old!

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  4. Wow...that's some process. I have always been so curious about this. I can't wait to follow along and hear more details about how it all works. Congratulations!!

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    1. I'm excited to see how it all works, too, Kim! Of course I've done a ton of research - I know there will be an app where I can see exactly what I'm producing so that's pretty awesome!

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  5. My husband and I were just talking about this over the weekend. I had mentioned to him that you were going to do this and he said I should check back here and see if you went forward with it.:) We're moving to Door County next April and we know we want to do something like this or wind energy. Can this be done somewhere other than your roof? Can't wait to hear how it goes for you, I'll be patiently waiting. (you can hardly tell they're on your roof.) Two thumbs Up!! Patti Ann

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    1. Hi Patti Ann - Yes, you can install panels in other spots, they don't have to be roof mounted, although I believe that's the most common. The solar company determines the best placement of the panels, to provide the most energy. Mine were put on the south side of my house. Even though there is a tree line between my property and the neighbors, the south side will most likely provide the best winter sun. I really can't wait to see how it all works, it's so interesting!

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  6. Congratulations on going solar! What a long journey to get there! Looking forward to hearing how your first solar winter goes.

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    1. I'm looking forward to it as well, Amy! I know the winter months won't produce as much electricity, but the other months should make up for it - this system is supposed to provide over 100% of the energy I need, based on my last 12 months electric usage!

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  7. That is so awesome! Like Kim, I've been curious about the process. A house down the street had some installed but it was all done so quickly, I never saw it happen. So interested to see the progress! So happy for you!! Love and hugs!

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    1. There was a lot I didn't capture, Benita - I didn't want to be out there constantly monitoring and taking photos....plus it was raining for a good part of the second day's installation, and cold! I was inside by the fire with a book!

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  8. Wow!!! So exciting indeed! That is quite a process to go through, having to deal with the roof issues! Must be so exciting to know that in two years, you will be making money on the deal!!

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    1. I'll be saving money as soon as it starts producing electricity, Marilyn, even with the loan payments on the NYSERDA loan factored in. When I ran the numbers it was a no brainer that I definitely wanted to go ahead with this...plus it adds to the value of my home, so it's a win/win!

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  9. One of the best things you could do, and one of the smartest decisions! So glad it has gone smoothly for you and you will be up and running soon! Have you been using your fireplace yet?--I love your fireplace! Makes it so cozy

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    1. My woodstove has been going for a month already, Debbi! I cranked it up as soon as the temps dropped, and I've been feeding it ever since. Anything to help keep those oil bills down! It really does a great job of heating the whole upstairs....and for downstairs I keep the heat low and got my daughter a little electric fireplace heater to use when she's relaxing down there. May as well take advantage of that free electricity, am I right?

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  10. Congratulations! I think that would be a wonderful and effective cost saver! I might just need to look into that as well.

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    1. With my loan payments I'll be saving about $600 per year in electricity costs, Carol. Every little bit helps, that's for sure! If I can get the loan paid off sooner, even better!

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  11. How wonderful. We do need to embrace cleaner energy sources.

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    1. Absolutely Carole! I love the wind turbines also, but the solar panels are a better option in my location.

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    1. Thanks, Ellen - I'm surprised you never looked into it, I would think your house would be a good fit for this also since you have a nice bright lot!

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  13. Oh my gosh Deb this is awesome. What a wonderful thing for you and your budget and also for our environment. You go girl I am so proud of what you have done with this. To get the financing and the tax credits and a great company to do all this for you. Great planning and research. This is going to pay off for you in so many ways. I am so glad that all of those hidden things you find when you start a project like this were minor and did not cost a lot more or hold up your installation. Woooo Hoooo this is great. I am so excited for you.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thanks, Kris, I'm pretty darned excited myself!! I was really lost in the whole process, it was so confusing, until I found Energy Sage - I feel as if they are my solar angels!! :) I'm excited to see one year from now how the system performed over a 12 month period, and if it met 100% of my needs! Fingers crossed!! xo

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  14. I am so glad you went solar. I know you will not regret your decision. We are also going solar, since we are off grid, but we need a roof on the house before we can put the panels up! But that is coming soon! It looks like the solar exposure will be perfect on your roof, and it sounds like you hired the perfect company to install everything with their attention to detail. In fact, I think this SHOULD be a sponsored post because of the exposure you will be giving to Energy Sage and Kasselman Solar! It will be interesting to see how your system does during the cold, snowy days of winter. Congratulations on the new addition to your lovely home!

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    1. Hi Vickie! I've been thinking of you, wondering how the construction is going - you haven't put up a post in a long time, I'm sure you're crazy busy! I'd love to be completely off grid like you but I guess I'll take every step I can in moving in that direction, even if I'm not completely off grid. Every little bit helps, right?

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    2. Every little bit certainly does help! I can't post because some jerk hijacked my blog. :( But, we are ALMOST done with the walls and have the first floor framing done! Happy dance! We were hoping to be closed in before winter, but that's just not going to happen. Ah well, life goes on.

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  15. You've really done a great job of updating your mountain home and the grounds. I'm impressed!
    Brenda

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    1. There's always something to be done, Brenda, without a doubt. There are other projects I'd love to do, but my budget prevents them, sadly! Some day perhaps!

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  16. This is exciting! Looks great too! I can’t wait to hear about how well it works. Good for you and some thinking on smart choices.
    Lisa

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    1. Every little bit helps when you are a homeowner, right Lisa? Especially as a single woman owning my own home, if I can cut expenses anywhere I will!

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  17. Looks great,I'd be interested in learning you're savings,obviously,just ballpark....
    Are you Nyseg or National Grid?
    Do you hear and make hot water with electric?

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    1. Hi Pat! My current electric bill on the budget plan is $141 per month. My loan is estimated at $72/month and there is a fee of $24 per month with the electric company to stay 'on grid' - that totals $96/month which means I'm saving $45/month by installing this system. Once I get the loan paid off obviously the savings will be more(115+)....plus as electricity keeps going higher and higher, my savings will increase again. Plus, any 'additional' electricity that is produced by the system gets 'sold' back to the electric company at the end of the year - yay! I do make hot water with electric, but not heat....except for the small electric fireplace heater I have downstairs in my daughter's family room. I heat primarily with my wood stove....which does have an electric blower, so that's going to be 'free' now too!

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  18. I'll be interested in how it works over the cold winter! Glad for you that you got it done finally.

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    1. Me too, AnnMarie! From the research I've done, it won't produce much in December, but should start increasing monthly once we get past the winter solstice. Don't worry, I'll keep you all posted!

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  19. Wow, Debbie, I am SUPER DUPER excited for you! What an amazing value-added project, and on so many levels! Kudos on the planning and execution. And here I thought having some trees cut down was amazing, lol. Yours is HUUGE!
    (not gonna lie, I thought maybe the announcement was on a personal level. ;) ).

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    1. Ha ha what did you have in mind, my friend? Hey, if it 'ain't broke, don't fix it' right? The inspector is coming tomorrow, after that I can get the electric company to swap out the meter and then the system will get turned on - yippee! Right in time for all those Christmas lights, ha ha!

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  20. Good for you going solar. Glad the problems found weren't tragic and can be fixed. You did your research and it is going to payoff.

    Sorry for being a bit behind.

    Can't wait to hear how you like it and how it works out.

    Enjoy being solar

    Cindy

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    1. I'm super excited, Cindy, can you tell? I'm always looking for ways to cut expenses....believe me, that's another blog post coming up soon!

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  21. Wow! This is so exciting. I can't wait to hear what you think about it and how it works for you. I'm going to share your post with Brian - he's very interested in this stuff. As far as your bathroom vent going into the attic and not outside, I'm not surprised. Our roofers just found that same problem in our house while re-doing part of the roof. They're working on venting the fan to the outside now.

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    1. Isn't that crazy? Thankfully it's the guest bathroom and not either mine or my daughter's so it rarely gets used for a shower. But the family that lived here before me used it all the time so imagine how much steam went right up into the attic?

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