Sebastopol, our agri-artsy Sonoma County outpost, (Jerry Garcia went to High School at Analy 1/2 mile from our house) was the first city in the US in 2013 to implement a building ordinance that required all new homes/buildings to include solar systems that provide 2 watts of photovoltaic-derived power per square foot of insulated building area. The system must offset at least 75 percent of the home/building’s total annual electric load.
We are in the county but on the Sebastopol border, so it is not applicable to us…but being good neighbors, stewards of the environment and cost efficient people…and we were about to rent on VRBO, we decided to add to our solar in 2012.
When we purchased our home there was already 7 kW of solar. We added 2 kW February 2012 that would take advantage of the morning/mid-afternoon sun. In addition we have converted most of our lights from incandescent/CFL to LED and upgraded our pool pump to variable speed…but I had to add a wine room for the Turtle Vines Inventory!
How are we doing?
– Our average electric bill 2009-2011 was $1,085
– Our average electric bill 2012-2015 was $ 638
– The last 4 years have also included 125 couple who stayed at our Vacation Rental, which is all electric.
– Our solar generation accounted for 70% of our energy usage! In addition, we purchase the remainder of our electricity from Sonoma Clean Power that is 100% renewable.
– We use half of the electricity of the average American family.
– Our goal is to be near $0 for 2016.
So…why the picture above? Installing solar panels after the roof is installed has risks…namely leaks. We are now figuring out the best way to fix the roof, but we are committed to solar!