For Emily Yetman and Ian Johnson, having solar on their roof is just another extension of how they live their lives with respect for the environment and their community. As Emily points out, “we already choose to bike, walk and use public transportation, so we can really control our carbon footprint that way and tread lightly on the earth, but this is one more way to really integrate that with our lifestyle. I certainly feel better about our ability to control our impact on the environment, without really having to diminish our quality of life.” Ian agrees, saying “It’s nice to know that we’re doing what we can in a limited way to offset our own impact.”
When they moved into their new home, Emily and Ian knew that they wanted to install solar. Since their roof and electrical wiring were new, Ian explains, “it was an easy shoe-in to get the solar panels installed. We had just moved into a new house about 6 months before and we expect we'll be staying here a while, so we figured this would be a good time to make that investment.”
From the start they wanted to work with a local company. Ian explains, "We decided it was better to go with a local business so we knew that the money - as much of the money as possible - would stay with the local economy." "TFS is just an awesome business that aligns with our values," says Emily, "I think that TFS walks the walk, so to speak, and does so much more to be energy efficient and sustainable both in installation, but also in their practice, it's really encouraging and something that makes us feel good not only about installing solar, but working with these people and this business."
Emily had initially been concerned about potential remodel and expansion options for the house: “We definitely had to weight our options with thinking about how we want to use this house over time, and how it may evolve if we ever want to make any adjustments or additions. What's really great is that this system is so efficient that it still leaves a lot of room on our roof. For example, if we ever wanted to add another room up there - a second story - we've got that option, and that's really great. Solar hasn't limited or confined our ability to modify as we move forward over the years."
Since their solar system was installed, Ian and Emily’s electric bills have been as low as $13 a month, covering the charge of being connected to the electricity grid; their solar system produced 97% of all the power they used last year. “It’s really nice to keep that money – to know we’re paying ourselves back for the investment we made,” says Ian. Apart from the low electric bill, Emily says, “I think the thing that’s surprising to me is just how little I actually think about the solar. You can’t see it, you never have to worry about maintenance, it’s kind of just integrated into our lifestyle, and that’s really convenient - one less thing to worry about.”
Ian on the other hand takes a different view: “I think about it all the time! I go to the monitoring site constantly. It makes me much more aware of how much power we’re actually using because I’m actually paying attention. I’m curious about how much we’re actually making vs. how much we’re using.”
While their main motivation was to offset their environmental footprint, it wasn’t the only reason to go solar. “One thing that I really like about having our solar installed,” says Emily, “is that our son, and any other children that we have down the line will grow up with it being the norm. As normal as riding his bike to the store, or walking down the street to a friend's house."
For friends considering going solar, Emily says, “It’s really rewarding and I think it’s a great return on investment over the long term, and like I said, once it’s done you don’t even have to think about it. It’s there, it’s doing its job, it’s efficient, and you’ll be glad you did it for so many reasons.”