ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Going Solar, My Story

Updated on September 20, 2019
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren is a DIY house fixer-upper and a passionate earth-eco-green person. She wants her grandkids and yours to grow up on a beautiful world.

Beautiful Solar Roof Panels

My unobstructed southern exposure is covered in solar panels.
My unobstructed southern exposure is covered in solar panels. | Source

Obainting Solar Energy: An Emotional Journey

I am thrilled with my rooftop solar energy system.

I can’t tell enough people, can’t put enough photos of it on social media, can’t stop walking to the playground behind my house to admire the 15 solar panels placed so precisely in three rows across my roof. Giddily, I watch the meter’s spinning dial showing how quickly the sun’s light is being converted to electricity. But my emotions during this journey weren’t always cupcakes and happy fireworks.

They were more like a roller coaster ride.

Leasing Seems Like a Good Idea

I live in a modest 1200 square foot house with a totally unshaded southern facing roof. Only a few months after moving in, I contacted a national solar leasing company. At first the representatives were totally positive, stating that the sunlight exposure was fantastic and her roof was wonderful. So, I signed the first batch of permissions for this company to perform the initial steps of inspecting my roof and checking local building code requirements

I broke into a happy dance. Using the sun’s gift of energy is something I had long wanted to do. It is right for the environment and for future generations, and leasing suited my budget. However, things quickly went south.

Wait - What Just Happened?

budget. However, things quickly went south.

After passing two of the qualifying inspections, the company suddenly changed its tune. They sent me an email stating that my new roof could not withstand the weight of their solar panels plus a heavy, wet snow. When I tried contacting them to ask what changes my roof would need to pass their needs, I met a stone wall. I would have considered spending some money to fix whatever this company felt was lacking, but I could never get an answer or clarification from anyone – no answer to my emails or voicemail messages – it was very unprofessional and downright rude. It was as if the company disappeared (or wanted her to disappear.)

My best guess is that they wanted some minimum amount of excess electric energy coming from my roof panels so that they could sell it and that they figured my roof was not going to make their secret quota. It’s rather disgusting. They weren’t open and honest with me.

In my region (south central Pennsylvania), the only other options are owning one’s own system. Due to finances, I put my plan to go solar on hold.

We All Feel the Increased Warming

I am personally committed to live green and make what changes I can. This is a value which is reinforced by my church. There are a few denominations which don’t pussy-foot around. They believe that making environmental changes in your lifestyle is equally as important as treating others fairly, being honest, and caring for those in need. Whenever I’d attend a service focusing on stewardship of the earth, in my heart I re-affirmed my goal to “one day” have solar panels. I was determined to reduce fossil fuel emissions as a cost of my energy use.

A few years passed and as we all know, the climate situation clearly worsened. Scientists amended the language of their descriptions, going from climate “warming” to “disruption” and then to “crisis.” Anyone with half a brain could see the connection between human activity and awful losses of glaciers, flooding of island nations, and severe weather occurring with exponential frequency.

For example, insurance companies develop models for natural disasters and the probability of them happening. A severe storm and flood designated by insurance statisticians as a “500-year-flood” is expected to happen only once every 500 years (give or take a few years.) Yet, cities around the world have been deluged with that level of severe flooding as often as three times in a five-year period! Hurricanes now are frequently reaching the Category 5 level of strength and severity.

However, I didn’t need those reports to know that the climate is noticeably warming.

I am a gardener. I’ve been seeing that each year I can put out tender seedlings earlier and earlier without a “last frost” destroying them. Although this delights the gardener part of me, it frightens my human desire for survival of this beautiful world.

Deciding to Try Again

More and more intensely, the need to act pressed on me. I began exploring solar companies again, this time thinking I’d bite the bullet to own a system. I chose to use a home equity line of credit at a reasonable interest rate. I know the return on investment point is many years in the future, even with my careful consumption lifestyle. But the time was now.

Internet research on local and regional companies occupied my spare time. I learned the terminology: SREC, inverter, grid, net metering. Then I took the plunge: I scheduled appointments for the free consultation that all the solar installers here offer.

All the companies wanted my address and they immediately (within 20 seconds) check it on geo-satellite maps for amount of yearly sun exposure. One local company refused to even come out to talk with me based on what their maps indicated. The inside sales rep said my project wasn’t big enough for them!

Narrowing Down the Options

Ultimately, two local solar installers came for visits. They explained their GPS maps. They walked around my property, looked at roof from the exterior, and looked in her attic with flashlights at the underside of roof.

Of the two companies, both seemed competent and experienced. But one seemed to REALLY LISTEN to my desires and concerns much more closely. That one was my choice.

Mounting Frame for Panels

This took much care and I appreciated that my solar installer measured and triple-checked everything!
This took much care and I appreciated that my solar installer measured and triple-checked everything!

Only Three Days

The sales advisor also actively performs installations. (I like that.) He predicted that the entire process would spread over three working days. He was absolutely accurate. On the first day the team attached the mounting framework to my roof. The second day was used for attaching the 3-foot by 5-foot panels to the frame and doing some wiring. On the last day, the team set up my inverter box and new meters. I needed to be without electric power for about 45 minutes as they tested the hookup with my area’s utility. (I opted to not use. For days on which my system produces less power than I need, the utility seamlessly provides it. On other days, any excess electricity that my panels produce are sold back to my local utility.)

So Right!

Getting solar panels installed is a move worth making!

In the future, I will report back on my system’s production and my experience.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      2 weeks ago from Pennsylvania

      Jill, "working with others towards a positive change" is a wonderful expression. I believe it is your middle name! Mine, too!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      2 weeks ago from United States

      Your tenacity is admirable! I'm so glad things worked out. We went solar, too, through Solar City, which is now owned by Tesla. I loved your article's enthusiasm. It is exciting to work with others toward a positive change.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      8 weeks ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks, Linda. I will be reporting on productivity and how to go about collecting incentives in the USA.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds like a wonderful project, despite its frustrating periods. Thanks for sharing the photos and the information. I'm looking forward to your next report about the project.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      2 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks, Phil. The sun's energy is certainly a gift from the creator. Watching the meter spin is very exciting.

    • profile image

      Phil Holzinger 

      2 months ago

      I've seen that meter going around!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)