Want the facts about going solar? You could start by asking a scientist why she made the decision to use solar energy in her home.
Meet Texas homeowner Joann Trial, a scientist who recognizes how important solar energy is. We wanted to know why this scientist chose to go solar, so we had a chat with her. Here’s her story about going solar.
Let’s start with, what were your most important reasons for choosing solar energy?
“First and foremost, I wanted to do my part for the environment.”
Joann knows that solar energy does its part in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a cause she’s passionate about. Secondly, since Joann lives in a state that has seen its fair share of power grid outages, she wanted to ensure her home wouldn’t be compromised during these outages.
Surviving frequent storms in Texas
Houston, where our homeowner Joann lives, gets hit by hurricanes regularly, and she told us that she once went without power for two weeks following a hurricane! After that experience, she didn’t want to remain at risk of being left without a working refrigerator and other essentials, so she began to weigh her options.
Solar vs. generator
While some homeowners in her neighborhood relied on generators to keep their lights and appliances on during power grid outages, Joann didn’t want to use one herself. In her opinion, generators are loud and pollute the environment.
Joann preferred the idea of a rooftop solar energy system backed up by a battery, for good reason. She was concerned about the sweeping effects of storms on her area.
“Having a solar system with a battery gives me an improved sense of confidence that I’ll be able to survive. A hurricane doesn’t affect just a few houses, it also affects grocery stores and other places that sell essential supplies. I think a solar battery is an extremely important perk of the entire system. And it’s great to feel like I’m helping the environment with the panels [in addition to feeling protected.]”
Researching solar energy
As an immunologist, Joann recognizes the value of making informed decisions. Research is the cornerstone of her profession. So, once she decided to get a solar system and battery installed, Joann began to make her decision how it came naturally to her: with research.
Factor 1: Integrity
Part of her research involved speaking with multiple solar energy installers. She was immediately impressed by the integrity displayed by ADT Solar energy specialist, Gage Mueller.
“Gage didn’t lay it on thick like other solar salespeople did. For example, one of the salespeople from a different company said he could balance the weight of their solar panels on one finger,” Joann says.
Factor 2: Quality equipment
The performance, quality and size of the equipment was also a top priority for Joann. Another reason Joann chose ADT Solar was the quality of our solar panels, she told us.
“The panels and solar battery that ADT Solar installs are a superior product,” she says. So with higher efficiency panels, you can get them smaller in size, which was important to her because of the size of her roof. She also didn’t want any of the panels to be visible from the street. She thought that would make it easier to get approval from her Homeowners Association.
Finding the perfect sized solar panel solution
Once Joann made the decision to go with ADT Solar, she worked with Gage to determine exactly how many solar panels she’d need. Fortunately, ADT Solar provides Solar Energy Specialists with a highly accurate tool to aid their efforts. Using advanced and highly accurate software, Gage took a number of factors into account when determining the size of her solar system, including:
- The home’s geographical location
- How much sun, compared to shade, the roof gets
- The direction the panels will face
- How much offset the homeowner is likely to get based on their utility company
In Joann’s case, her solar battery was another major factor to consider. She would need 19 panels total to accommodate the battery.
When it came to getting both sets of solar panels installed, Joann shares that her process was quick and easy. After scheduling the installations (one day for the initial 10 panels and one day for the additional nine panels), ADT Solar was able to install each set in just one day. Scheduling the installations and getting them done went smoothly.
First, ADT Solar installed 10 panels on the south side of the roof. At that point, Joann got the lightweight cedar shake roof reinforced to support the weight of the panels. Once the roof was ready, the additional nine panels were installed over the garage, which faces west.
“The orientation of the panels is nice because the sun strikes the south facing panels first and, as the day goes on, the west facing panels become more productive,” she says.
Adding the final piece: a solar battery
While a solar system sans battery would certainly fulfill Joann’s desire to use eco-friendly renewable energy, she knew it wouldn’t power her home during a grid outage. When the grid experiences an outage, solar systems are temporarily disconnected from the grid by the utility company. This is a safety precaution for the technicians who are working on the power lines.
However, homeowners that add a reliable solar battery like the Enphase Encharge 10 to their system can receive solar energy even when their system is not connected to the grid. It also allows them to power their home at night, instead of relying on electricity.
A battery collects and stores the excess energy that a solar system produces during the day. The exact amount of surplus energy generated varies from system to system, as it depends on factors like the direction the panels face and how much shade the roof receives. And the extent to which it can power your home at night depends on factors like the size of your home and how many components it will need to power.
Formula for success
Joann’s solar array and battery are now working in tandem to power her home. The experience has been reassuring and rewarding.
“There’s a feeling of gratification I get from playing a role in easing the load on the electric power grid. We’re being pushed to ease off our electricity use. I believe we’re just one connection away from the entire grid blowing. So, I feel good about doing my part,” she says.
Joann’s local area hasn’t experienced any major grid outages or hurricanes since her solar system has been in operation. That said, she has already enjoyed numerous benefits thanks to using it. For one, her electricity bill has decreased.
And it’s not just her home that Joann can power with solar energy. She also uses it to charge her car! Since Joann drives an electric vehicle (EV), she can plug it into one of the electrical outlets powered by solar power.
“I deliberately charge my car while the sun is shining and the solar panels are reducing the load on my electrical system. They overproduce and that allows me to send electricity back onto the grid.”
And through it all, Gage’s dedication to customer service has solidified Joann’s confidence about her decision to go with ADT Solar.
“It’s reassuring to know that someone is knowledgeable enough about the system, which Gage is, that he can answer all my questions and make recommendations. I have a lot of confidence that Gage knows what he’s doing and that he’ll respond to my concerns. Plus, he worked to get the inspections done and he called all the appropriate people.”