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James and Elizabeth Williams
James and Elizabeth Williams and their batteryless grid-tied PV array.
James and Elizabeth Williams

James and Elizabeth Williams lost nearly everything—their house, garage, shed, and household possessions—in a June 2011 tornado that tore through western Massachusetts. But in the process, they “found” renewable energy.

Although they were already aware of the power of PV—a neighbor had installed a solar-electric system—it was meeting Olan Martin of Paradise Energy Solutions at the Big Home Show that springboarded the Williamses’ solar project—a batteryless grid-tied PV system. A combination of state and federal incentives helped make the system affordable. Incentives included a federal tax credit of 30% of the system cost and a state tax credit of $1,000. They also received a MassCEC grant of $2,000, plus a storm damage adder of $5,000. After rebates, the cost for their 5.25 kW system was $11,200. The Williamses also participated in the Massachusetts solar carve-out program by selling their solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). The system is expected to produce six SRECs annually, at an estimated value of $200 to $300 per SREC.

With the retail cost of electric energy from their utility between $0.15 and $0.17 per kWh—among the highest in the country­—the couple’s PV system will offer them significant savings. The system is expected to produce approximately 6,000 kWh per year, paying off their investment in less than five years, and their electricity bill is estimated to be reduced by about 70%.

The system is secured to the roof of their new garage using Unirac rails with Quick Mount PV mounts. The 250-watt Mage PV modules are each coupled with Enphase 215 W microinverters, giving module-level monitoring. The two strings of AC modules run to a combiner box in the garage and feed the service panel in the house. As of January 15, 2013, the system has produced just over 2,000 kWh—right on target with expectations.

Comments (1)

America Install Solar's picture

Way to Go James & Elizabeth!! ( & Paradise Energy Solutions!)

As with most (if not all) investments in solar energy** now, the Williams' solar PV investment is very wise! & Mr.O Martin, is correct is his payback calcs* (* I am not affliated, or know, him or his company 'P.E.S'...glad your mid-name is not 'Install' ) I'm in diff. region (and a 'expert' in solar, supporting my fellow installers' ) and just helping 'clear' some engrained myths about the true & uPdated value of solar as the best investment, for home power readership, and for benefit of all interested in owning solar now.

For future buyers considering investment in a solar electric(PV) system on your propety, here's some info. for thought when not sure about owning PV system now, vs. later?

Based on cost/Watt (or cost/kWh), the investment on most PV systems (depending on type/site & purpose) main benefit of owning is avoiding increasing utility bills now & for decades(sadly until you move or die!), and majority of Solar electric(PV) systems are 'cost effective' since PV system ownership does have a "payback" (it may be 5-15 years) but they Are 'Paid-Off'...verses a constantly increasing electric bill which will never be 'paid-off'!)...so 10 years from now (if you don't own a solar energy system) you will have accumulated $10's of $1000's paid to utility companies 'renting' you electric power (selling you kWh's), then, like rent, you have No Equity by 'renting' energy at any time.

In contrast, Owning the 'power plant'(on your property) will most likely be paid-off before your retire (depending on your age) if you start within min. 10 years of your planned retirement when you can have no electric bills in your 'golden years' using the sun's free 'fuel' for electricity!
Ownership of the source (your 'power plant') using Sun's free fuel will always beat any monthly electric bill (for the same kWh usage) even if low-interest loan to own it.

And most ROI's on PV systems today(depending on site/type, etc.) is very high, and IRR is usu. over 10% !! (& it's a more secure investment, on your property)
+ if with a battery back-up PV system, you will be able use your own on-site, locally produced electricity when the 'Grid is down' and if want later, to go 'Off-grid" (with correctly sized sys.) at the 'flip of switch'! Now that alone is worth more than just the Great return on investment (even with inverter or batt. replacement) by OWNing the 'power plant' at your home(or work), i.e. your own solar electric system!
It's TIME for Solar!!

**Solar PV is now one the top energy source investments in the US! see:

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