My family lives in Buffalo, where we’ve had a solar house since 2013. We’d always been interested in the environment and renewable energy, but didn’t know that solar was practical in Buffalo until our friend and landlord at the time added panels to his house.
When we bought our first house, we knew right away that it needed to have solar. So, in 2013, we had our system installed. Here it is:
And now, other friends of ours have added solar to their homes, and many neighbors are curious about the system and how well it’s worked for us.
The idea that the adoption of novel technologies like solar spreads through social networks is what lead me to start The Solar Nerd, so that solar homeowners can gather and those who are curious about solar can ask them questions.
Even though snow is the second thing that people think of when you mention Buffalo (the first being wings), it’s further south than people often realize. It sits at the same latitude as northern Spain, and we get plenty of intense sunlight in the Summer. Even during the Winter we still generate quite a bit of power. Snow does cover the panels a couple weeks a year, but it melts or slides off on its own. There’s no maintenance on our part.
Our house is just about as energy efficient as you can make a house built in 1910. Here’s what our electric bill and electrical usage looked like before we added solar:
Here’s what it looks like after solar:
You can see a dramatic drop in usage in late Spring and Summer, which is when we run our air conditioner, our biggest electrical consumer. Those segments of the chart that drop to zero are when we receive a credit on our bill due to net metering. We still pay a bill of $18.29 during those months, which is the basic connection charge from National Grid.
The system uses Enphase microinverters, which are smart devices that make the data available to your smartphone or on the web. We’ve made our profile public, so you can explore the data yourself.
Is there anything you’re curious about? I love talking about solar, so you have any questions please drop me a line.