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Switching to Solar in Pickens, SC

Dave Roberts has generously volunteered to take readers along on his solar journey. Initially from Palm City, Florida, Dave and his wife moved to Pickens, South Carolina in 2007. Now, his home runs entirely on solar energy, and he has two battery backup systems. In this week’s blog, he discusses his original thought process behind installing solar.

When we closed on the property where our house is now, January 30 2007, we had passive solar in mind. We had a decent South face, and the plans for our log home called for windows facing South as much as possible.

The angle of the sun in the wintertime allowed for more direct light shining in than in the summertime when the sun is at a higher angle. The design of the eaves allowed for more summertime sun to be prevented from entering during those months, keeping it cooler.

As far as planning for solar went, we added piping for the solar hot water and an extra-large water heater but made no plans for solar electricity.

Looking back, I wish I would have given more thought to the places in my house where I frequented most and designed lighting for those areas. Now that the LED lights are so much more efficient and brighter (and I’m getting older and can’t see as well), I’m frequently finding myself at home wishing I had more light– but not wanting to light up the whole room.

Luckily, we didn’t make our plans for our solar electricity at that time. Breakthroughs in materials and the equipment of today would have made most of our ideas inappropriate.

There are some exciting new solar-related products and more in development that give the homeowner new tools and abilities to control the entire house in such a way as to determine automatically exactly which power loads to shut down in the event of a prolonged outage.

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