Powers Unfiltered

An entrepreneur’s journey into grid computing and partnering with Microsoft, by John Powers

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Off topic — Going Solar

June 3rd, 2008 · No Comments

Late this winter, we had a whopper of a Pacific storm, and it became clear that the Powers Roof had reached the end of its useful life. (The weather inside may not have been as bad as the weather outside, but it was bad enough.)

This wonderful opportunity led to the “while-we’re-at-it” syndrome that plagues so many home repair / improvement projects. So while we’re replacing the roof — why not investigate installing a photovoltaic system at the same time?

Going Solar — The Roof

And after a bit of analysis (more on that another day), we decided to go for it. The process of collecting bids and testimonials went smoothly (hint — the housing market really is as soft as people say; contractors are hungry!), and after a bit of permitting and paperwork — BAM, new roof and new solar panels. From two signed contracts (roofer and solar guys) to completed project took less than 10 days, including Memorial Day weekend. PG&E will be out “soon”with a new meter, and we’ll be getting about half our electricity from the sun.

The whole system will pay for itself in about 8 years (given California’s outrageous electric rates), and we’ll take a few toes off our carbon footprint.

Panels like these were quite rare even here in California even 2-3 years ago. Now, they’re popping up all over. The California Healthcare Foundation (where Marian works) just put up a 100 KW system, which is 30 times the capacity of ours. Google put in a 1.6 MW system a year or two ago. Walmart has started putting them on stores here. It’s not enough to account for much power yet, but it’s a big change in a short time.

If you want to find out how solar might work for you, call Jason at Borrego Solar, and tell him I sent you — they did a great job (and no, I don’t have any financial interest in Borrego).

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