By Trish on October 10, 2013
This summer, Ty and I finally made the decision to invest in solar technology at our home. We tossed the idea around for quite a while, but ultimately it came down to several key factors:
- Now that we each drive a Nissan LEAF pretty much exclusively, we wanted to make sure that our fuel source was guaranteed to be sustainable. We purchase electricity through PSE’s green power program, but what better way to cover your fuel needs than by generating it in your own backyard? Our current system will completely cover the electricity needs for keeping our LEAFs on the road, plus a little extra on the side.
- We want solar technology to grow and succeed on a local and national scale; it’s already taking off in some countries, but the US is severely lacking in this respect. As with investing in EV technology with the purchase of our LEAFs, we wanted to contribute to the future of solar technology Plus, these solar panels are made in Bellingham. How cool is that?
- With current state incentives and the availability of specifically-solar loans, if we got the highest loan available, at the lowest interest rate available, to purchase the most panels (plus labor) we could, we’d be making a profit. That was my ultimate deciding factor, when it came time for Ty to confirm signing our contracts for our loan and with Western Solar, the Bellingham-based company who did our install. If solar was going to be a complete money sink with no tangible benefits to us, it wasn’t worth doing quite yet.
Ty wrote a post about the specifics of our system and how the loan and state incentives come into play, over on our blog about our EVs and solar project. He also documented the installation of our ground-mount system and a recent tour we took of itek Energy in Bellingham.
And finally, in other news, we recently went on an all-electric road trip! We took my LEAF (the blue one) and drove down I-5 through Washington, as far as Eugene, then over to the Oregon coast and headed north. Oregon has an even better charging infrastructure than Washington, so we had no problems making our way around the state. We camped for most of our drive up the coast and used that as an opportunity to charge the car at the campsites, rather than the available chargers. Our trip took two weeks, as we weren’t sure which places were worth stopping at along the way, so we stopped pretty much everywhere. The next time we take a trip along the Oregon coast, we’ll be more familiar with it and already have an idea of what interests us and what doesn’t. Because I have to say, camping in a different place almost every night can get old very quickly!
I considered creating a gallery of my photos on the blog, but I don’t have the energy to mess with my stylesheet right now, to get everything formatted to my liking. So, if you’d like to see photos from our trip, take a peek at my public EV Roadtrip album on Facebook.
All from me, for now. If anyone in the Bellingham area is interested in learning more about the Nissan LEAF, just hit me up! You’re more than welcome to take mine for a test drive.