Stories From the Solarhood highlights the stories of individuals who have made solar a part of their lives.

The roof on Charlie Copeland’s Brookside home looks like it was made for solar panels. That’s because it was.

“When we moved in, the house had a roof that had some time on it already,” Copeland said. “We knew it wasn’t going to last forever, so when we were re-doing the roof, we made it suited for solar.”

Copeland has 30 panels on his roof supplying 9 kilowatts of power. Copeland said they had already done a lot to conserve energy, and they were spending between $1,200-$1,300 a year on electricity. By going solar, they’re only spending $200-$300 on electricity a year.

Top Learnings from Charlie

  1. When planning a home renovation, think about how solar can fit in. Because they were already planning on replacing the roof, they decided to think of how to best design a roof to fit solar. In older homes, roof design and condition plays a huge role. For example, the rafters on Charlie’s home were not big enough, and they needed to beef them up by doing some reframing.
  2. There a lot of ever-changing factors with solar. Incentives change, energy costs change, technology and install costs change. By monitoring these factors on a long term basis, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on when to make the plunge into the home solar pool.

3. Talk to your neighbors and neighborhood association. Charlie talked to his neighbors and passed out flyers to make sure everyone was in the know that he was going to be installing a solar panels on his roof. This ensured that if there were any concerns from neighbors, he could clear up any confusion.

4. Don’t forget about low-hanging fruit. Charlie said they had already done a lot to conserve energy in the home, such as purchasing a high efficiency furnace.

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