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Energy independence in New York

Since we bought our house in Westchester NY in 2007 I have been focused on energy efficiency and freedom from high energy prices. Mostly oil and electricity.

I got away from oil for heat and hot water by using pellets stoves for heat and an electric hot water heater for domestic hot water( I know the electric hot water heater seems backwards but is actually much cheaper to make hot water with electric, than an oil burner. No natural gas available here). This allowed me to shut down my oil burner for a good 7 months out of the year. I also went through my house, put in CFL and LED lighting and added insulation. Then I seemed to hit a wall on what more I could do.
Then around 2 years ago I started looking into solar. I came across a DIY hot water solar system. Figured it would be a great choice to get away from the electric hot water heater and I could install it myself. Bought the kit, installed it and was immediately impressed with how well it worked. Of course I showed it off to all my neighbors and friends. Most were skeptical until they saw it working. The system has covered about 90% of our hot water needs since it was installed. Wow, free hot water on a daily basis, hard to beat.

Fast forward a year and a half and I open my electric bill to see it is way more than I expected. Use was not more than usual just the price of electricity was. I was fed up. That day I started looking at solar companies for solar electric options. I kept hearing radio ads for a company called Real Goods Solar. I decided to give them a call. They sent a sales person out to our house and we went over various options and solutions to add an electric solar system to our house.

I was impressed with how easy going the person was and that he was not here to hard sell me on a system. After a few different setups were discussed we finally decided on a system that made the most sense. The sales person was knowledgeable, polite and made me feel comfortable with what we were planning. He also helped me with financing, which was going to be a deciding factor.

Anyway, today July 22, 2013 I signed the contract to start the process, and looking forward to a continued easy relationship with Real Goods. I am still the only one in my neighborhood who is using solar. I feel kind of proud about that and hope I am setting a good example for my neighbors and friends. Thank You Real Goods!

Joe C
North Salem NY

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