Nathan Scott moved to Cincinnati, Ohio back in 2007 for work and has lived there ever since. Recently, Nathan and his family moved to Montgomery, a suburb of Cincinnati and began to settle in. It was in 2016 that Nathan and his family started thinking about going solar.
What motivated this initial investigation was Nathan’s budding family. He and his wife had two young children and were noticing their carbon footprints increasing. They were buying more food, doing more laundry, driving bigger cars. His family was using more energy overall and his primary motivation was to go green and tread a little lighter. With his kids in mind, he thought about where the climate would be 40 years down the road. Going solar was a way that he could contribute to the renewable energy solution.
When asked about the financial aspect of his solar purchase, Nathan said that the economics played a part in his choice to go solar. He likes knowing that there is a known return on investment. The added value in his home is another financial bonus. If his family ever does sell their home, free electric is a compelling selling point.
What He Learned
Nathan says that he learned a lot throughout the whole solar journey. Like a lot of shoppers, Nathan got quotes from a couple of solar installation companies. He found that the 2 companies he worked with had different philosophies when designing a solar system. The first company he had out proposed a huge system, maxing out his roof with panels. They posited that if you’re going to go solar, you might as well go huge. The proposed 34 panel system would have made it more expensive but given the family more solar production. Third Sun proposed Nathan go with a 21-panel design to offset 50 % of his annual consumption. At the time Nathan felt that the smaller system seemed to be just the right size.
The Choice – Why He Chose Third Sun
- The design – Since installation, he realized that the additional 14 panels proposed by the other company would have been largely shaded by trees and other roof obstructions. He understands how our designers laid out the roof array to maximize the areas that get the most sun. He has 2 big trees in his yard and the roof array was designed in a way that avoids their shading.
- The gutters – In the years since installing the array Nathan has noticed that cleaning the gutters is a lot easier than it would have been with a roof entirely covered in panels up to the very edge.
- The electric panel – Something else that the family avoided when going solar was having to upgrade their electrical panel. The output of the inverter was right at the line where they did not have to do a panel upgrade, which was a big savings.
- The panels – The last thing that Nathan liked about Third Sun’s proposal was the look of the panels themselves. Third Sun’s standard solar panel offering is a black panel with a black frame that some homeowners prefer over the blue panels with silver frames.
Looking at the data, the annual solar projections are 100% spot on, which Nathan is pleased with. His family has completed some energy efficient home upgrades like adding energy efficient lightbulbs and installing a new central air conditioning unit, as well as adding an electric car, the Tesla Model 3. His solar panels are either meeting or exceeding their proposed annual energy offset for his household.
Between our designers knowing exactly where to place the panels and our consultant’s earnest listening to the family’s true solar goals – Nathan got the solar system that he wanted installed on his family’s home in fall of 2017.
What He Likes Most
- It more than offsets all of the AC use, Nathan says: “It’s like we have AC that doesn’t cost anything to run. You’re at your highest solar production when you need the AC and we’re reducing that load on the grid.”
- Monitoring – With Solar Edge optimizer monitoring Nathan can see each panel and its production. Nathan looks at the monitoring software frequently – he says he doesn’t need to but it’s fun to track.
- The system runs itself and doesn’t need anything.
- Record solar production this year, from July 2019 – July 2020. The past 12 months have been sunny!
Advice to those shopping
His advice to those thinking of going solar? “The cost is similar to a used car, but this will last 25-40 years. It was a no-brainer for us. I would be glad to spend this money on something that will last this long. If you think about other things you might spend this kind of money on – this is one of the only ones that will pay you back.”
Nathan says that in the summertime a lot of people just come up to his house and ask questions about it. We love to hear that – it confirms our suspicion that there are so many homeowners out there who are curious about solar. It just takes one neighborhood leader to spark that interest in others.
Lastly, Nathan notes that there was a lag time between contract signing and installation. So, if you’re thinking about going solar (especially in 2020 to get the full 26% federal tax credit!) start now because it will take a while before the date of your solar installation.