Two is Better Than One: Installing Two Homes with Solar
Tom & Heidi of Harvard, MA: Solar Electric
“Our Acton house sold on the first day that it was offered. The solar capacity was considered as a nice addition.”
Tom and Heidi Sikina haven’t just installed one solar panel system, but two since New England Clean Energy opened. The first system was installed in Acton in 2007 and then again after a move to Harvard in 2011.
“We may have been Mark’s first solar customer when we asked for a solar installation in 2007 for our Acton house. The solar installation we now have in Harvard was also installed by Mark, and has done well,” Tom declared during our interview.
Like a lot of families, Tom and Heidi’s motivation to go solar was to minimize his carbon footprint and to use good economic steps to do so. The financial benefits of solar power are really what made him realize he made the right decision. And he urged potential solar customers to look at the long term financial benefits over 25 years. The most obvious financial benefit of solar power is that it can lower your utility bills. Any solar power you produce yourself through your solar panels is the power that you don’t have to purchase from the utility. Plus there are tax incentives. Although each state varies in what they offer, the federal tax is currently sitting at a 26% tax credit. In Tom’s case, his solar system helps him avoid the increasing cost of electricity. The cost of electricity in his region was about 16 cents per kW hour in 20ll and has increased to 23 cents since then. But this number doesn’t affect him with his energy production from solar.
“The solar unit has been installed on a new house, and since its inception in 2012, we have not paid anything for electricity. Our house is also a zero-energy design, and we have not paid anything for our energy needs, other than annual firewood.” Tom said.
But the best payback of all? Selling Tom’s house with solar was a breeze. Believe it or not, having a solar panel system can actually increase the worth of a home by 4%, according to Solar CrowdSource. With a house that’s on the market for say $490,000, it’s about $20,000 that may almost cover the cost of the solar system itself.
In reference to selling his house, Tom said: “Our Acton house sold on the first day that it was offered. The solar capacity was considered as a nice addition.”
Since the installation on their Harvard home in 2012 Tom and Heidi have held several open houses to help educate and recommend solar to friends and acquaintances.
Ironically, despite being home more during this pandemic Tom told us his energy has actually decreased during the pandemic. He did acknowledge his use of air conditioning increased by a small amount but with the reduced amount of time spent driving, their electric car hasn’t needed to be charged as much. Nonetheless, Tom and his family know their system will be reliable for decades.
The only post-purchase issue he came across was with his inverter about two years back and New England Clean Energy quickly took care of it by advising him and making the adjustments needed.
“The solar system has made our lives simpler, more efficient, and has saved us funds. We think it is one of the best ways to assemble a living space, and have enjoyed it,” he said.