Instead of cooking with gas, Neta Crawford of Medford, MA will soon be cooking with sunshine. Her 8.6-kilowatt solar array powers her home with the help of a backup battery, helping her live more lightly on the earth.
Neta, a Professor of Political Science at Boston University, realized the urgency to go solar when she designed and taught a class on climate change for the university. “I wanted to change my ways,” she says. “I don’t want to be putting any more carbon into the atmosphere than necessary.”
She chose ReVision Energy for the ability to design and install the solar-plus-battery-backup approach that she wanted. ReVision helped her size a 24-panel solar array that could power her home and charge an electric vehicle, combined with a Tesla Powerwall battery, which offers resilience in event of a power outage.
Solar + Battery
The array was installed in October of 2018, and the Powerwall the following February. The option to finance the full amount made the investment less onerous, she says – especially with a federal tax credit and savings from the solar production. “The reduction in electricity bills is immediate,” says Neta. “Eventually this is going to more than pay for itself.”
For the past few months, her solar array has been producing more energy than she uses in her house. Her Powerwall stores the excess generation during the day, and she uses some of it during the evening hours to continue to power her home from the sun. “Mostly I’m off the grid,” she says.
She switches back to grid electricity during the middle of the night when the only thing drawing power is the fridge. Neta says the power has gone out once since she’s had the battery – which she only knows because her battery tracks the usage and shows that it did. “I didn’t notice any disruption,” she says.
Driving on Sunshine
With a clean electricity source on the house, Neta upgraded from her “gas-guzzler” to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. She can drive to and from work on pure solar electricity on the days when she can’t ride her bike. It not only eliminates carbon emissions from her commute, it gets rid of her gas expenses. ReVision also installed Neta’s Chargepoint charging station for her plug-in hybrid. “That was very handy that you did that,” she says. “It’s full service!”
While she’s looking forward to upgrading her stove from gas to electric next, Neta wants to make every change she can to reduce her impact on the planet. “Gradually all of my lifestyle will go all electric now that I have solar,” she says.
For her it brings a sense of relief. “I feel better knowing I’m doing my part to stop climate change,” she says. And she’s not the only one – her home is the third home on her street to go solar, and she believes that the town of Medford has reached a tipping point, with more and more families choosing renewable solar energy. “The whole neighborhood is abuzz,” she says.
Neta’s glad to see the change taking place, and hopes to see Boston University also make the commitment to switch to solar energy. “They have the roof space,” she says. She likes to spread the word as well, from her neighbors to her classes at the university. “My main motivation is to show that this is possible,” she says. “Powering your home with solar is not out of reach.”
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