Behind every great installation, there’s a good story -- meet Ingrid and Chris. Ingrid and Chris live in Oro Valley with their three cats, Quark, Kendall, and Jackson, a beautiful view of the Santa Catalina Mountains and a 5.89 kWh solar electricity (PV) system on their home. Working at the University of Arizona, they were introduced to Technicians for Sustainability (TFS) through the Solar Benefits Tucson (SBT) Program.
When asked what inspired them to go solar, Ingrid said, “For me it wasn’t anything we had really talked about, but this opportunity came up that was so incredibly simple from our perspective that I just thought, 'well, why not?' It really was as simple as that.” Chris added, “We’re interest in conserving nature, we enjoy getting outdoors, but the (SBT) program was probably the impetus to actually do something about it. It started out looking easy, and then it turned out way easier than we thought it was going to be, in terms of the whole process. That’s one of the things that was just amazing to us; how little we had to do!”
They added that at first, they weren’t aware of any financial benefits associated with solar. Chris and Ingrid decided to go solar with a pre-paid lease option which allows them to pay for all their electricity in advance and lets them see immediate savings on their electric bill. Ultimately though, Chris said, “I don’t think the financial benefit is what drove the decision. We’re in Arizona, why aren’t we doing solar?”
Chris, who teaches in a UA South online Master’s program from his solar-powered home office, is a huge fan of the data monitoring app which he checks frequently. “In terms of looking at consumption and being more conscientious about turning things off now, I’m getting much better at shutting things down. The joke is if you walk down the hall at night, my study looks like the landing strip at an airport because there’re so many flashing lights.” The app helps them figure out which appliances are using the most electricity. “It’s so much fun to watch what is going on in your house and then try to figure out ‘Why did we get that spike at 2:00am?’ And it’s, ‘Oh yeah, we had the dish washer running.’”
In addition to keeping an eye on their electricity consumption, Ingrid and Chris are making other changes to make their home more ‘responsible.’ “In connection with going solar we’re going to have all the windows and doors replaced with double-paned glass to get a better insulating system. That should help us save even more.” Chris added, “I would consider solar a nudge now. We went with solar electric, now we’re doing the windows, then water harvesting would be next.”