Solar Powered!!

It’s official! We’ve got solar now! Installation was completed a few days ago and the County inspection was signed off. The decision to improve our green co-efficient is fueled by both economics, good sense, and the idea that we are improving how efficient we can make our home, green-wise.

Here are some photos to show you the process.

First, the solar company installs the mounting system which looks like this:


It is important to hire a reputable company. The company we hired had also installed systems for two families that we knew:


Our solar system is tied into the PG&E grid, so we are also able to sell unused energy resources back to them to offset our annual electric bill. Here is where they are installing the converter and other equipment inside our garage:


Here is the finished project:


When we built our home, we took some emerging building trend ideas that made good financial sense as well as reducing our energy use. A radiant roof barrier product was used for the roof sheathing. Read about it on Green Builder Magazine website. I knew this was a fantastic product as soon as Woody installed it. It dropped the temperature in the shade under this product at least 20 degrees or more.

This year, Joe and I are doubling the size of our vegetable organic garden, and I’m going to can the excess vegetables for consumption later in the year. In California, free classes are offered by the local University of CA (UC) Extension office on how to can and store food using a variety of techniques. UC Extension also offers free Master Gardener classes, too.

Joe and I both are interested in improving the quality of the food that we put in our body. We have been influenced by Michael Pollen, and his best selling books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:


and his latest book, In Defense of Food:


Another interesting read in a similar genre is Barbara Kingsolver‘s autobiographical Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life:


All 3 books are terrific reads.  I’ve been a longtime Barbara Kingsolver fan, and Joe stumbled on Michael Pollen- who coincidentally is now a UC Berkeley professor, which is Joe’s alma mater- when he read an article in New York Times Magazine.

Any comments on my solar install or book recommendations?  I would love to hear feedback.  Regards, Carla

5 thoughts on “Solar Powered!!

  1. Very well done you!!!
    I remember seeing some years back some roof tiles which directly took in solar power. They were a rather beautiful blue.
    We can’t have any effective solar power on either of our homes (no we don’t live in two, one is rented out until we retire). Our one here has trees overshadowing most of the roof and the trees are protected. The other house is in a conservation area so it would be allowed there either. And the roofs point east and west, not ideal for the limited sunshine here in the UK.
    DH wants to build our own house one day, so maybe then.

    Hi Sally, The blue tiles, while a lovely color, is considered older solar technology now. Here in California, we had to have a southern pointing roof for maximum solar efficiency. Ironically, we need to cut down 2 trees to improve our solar efficiency to 98%. While it hurts to cut down a lovely tree, I do live surrounded by a gazillion white and black oak trees. I’ll be planting other trees on my property to more than make up for it. 🙂

    I’ve always wanted solar, heck, I like the idea of alternative housing, too. Keep Dreaming, I remember being in my teens and wanting to live in the countryside. It took almost 20 years, but it finally happened! Hugs, Carla

  2. Good for you!!! When we decide to build, we are going solar too.
    Congrats on the garden and canning. Being from WVa, we can everything we can……or used to.

    Sharon, can’t wait to follow your build when it begins! My mother taught me to can when I was much younger, gardening and canning reminds me of her and the midwest. Do you can now?

  3. Wow Carla, this is very cool. I’m beginning to wonder if we were sisters in a past life; we are also very interested in permaculture and all things ‘green’. Two of my lifetime heros and roll models (politics aside) are the late Scott & Helen Nearing. If you aren’t aware of them, let me know & I’ll give you some titles to look for.
    Jorja, I would be honored to be related to you- LOL! The Nearings were WAY ahead of the curve… which books do you recommend and are they still in print? Thanks, Carla

  4. I am green with envy! You know how much I love this all. How smart CA is to offer MG classes for free. MI makes us pay. I too plan to expand my organic garden this year.
    I have the plot prepared and if all goes well, tomorrow is planting day. wish me luck…

  5. I read Animal Vegetable Miracle a few weeks ago, and was embarrassed that I never considered the amount of energy consumed by importing all of this food– yikes! I have tried to wean the boys off of bottles of water, and I’m working on eating more locally– not such a hardship when you live in southern CA!

    If you want more food books to make you think, may I recommend, “Fast Food Nation”? Warning: not for the faint of heart! I wouldn’t let my family eat ground beef for 3 years afterwards (and we have the kids eating veggie burgers at home– altho they don’t know it!)

    You are wonderful (in every way, of course, but especially for) going so green with your home. Hmmm, red (Woody) and green (solar)– my fav color combo!

    Miss Susan, I read “Fast Food Nation” when it first came out years ago. Actually, that book is the reason I stopped eating strawberry flavored cupcakes. Go read that chapter to see why!! LOL! Big Yuk!

    Are you going to plant a garden this year?? The boys could help you. 🙂

    PS: the trick to hamburger is to buy a better cut and then grind it yourself- LOL! Better yet, Joe and I made the switch to grain fed beef.

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