Case Study - Long Term Solar Ownership - Ron & Robin Pullen, Owensboro, KY
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
In January of 2014, Ron & Robin Pullen of Owensboro, Kentucky decided that they wanted to investigate solar energy as an option to power their home. So, they contacted Morton Solar & Electric to provide a quote for their home which is located just outside the west side of Owensboro. At that time, solar energy systems were very uncommon in the area, but Ron & Robin decided to move forward and install a ground mounted system. Now, eight years later, we decided to reach out to the Pullen's to ask some questions and get some feedback on their decision and share this information with you. We also wanted to use this real life example to explain the economic benefits of a solar energy system.
Question: What made you want to invest in a solar energy system eight years ago?
Ron: "We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in clean renewable energy."
Ron's system consists of (32) solar panels mounted on a ground mounted racking structure which equates to a 10.2KW dc rated system.
Question: Do you think solar energy was a good investment?
Ron: "Very good investment. Allowed us to take control of rising energy cost."
This is Ron's home from where the solar array is mounted in the yard. Ron's home has been net-zero energy for the last eight years.
Question: How much do you pay for electricity each month?
Ron: "We have never purchased a single kilowatt-hour of electricity since put online."
This is a recent electric bill for Ron's home. Since the utility company uses smart meters, it allows you to see and compare how much energy the home consumes vs. how much the solar energy system sends back to the grid. On this bill, you can see that Ron's home produced an extra 307 KWH above what his home consumed. So, this extra production is credit on his bill which is shown in his 'Mem-Gen Reading'. To date, Ron has an extra 10,221 KWH's in his bank.
This is Ron's Solar Energy Production meter which is located on his house. It's very easy to walk out of his house to view the meter and see that the system is producing energy by watching the meter spin. As of this date of July 10th, 2022, the solar energy system has produced 102,569 KWH's. (yes, the meter rolled over). So, in eight years, the system has averaged 12,821 KWH's of production per year. Also, notice that this value of 102,569 very closely matches the sum of the two values added together on the electric bill: Current Reading + Mem-Gen Reading = 47,107+57,328=104,432 KWH's. This value is within tolerance of the revenue grade production meter and gives reassurance that the utility company is crediting the customer on their bill properly. In other words, it's not a guessing game with a solar energy system.
Question: Did you have reservations that the system would not work or pay for itself?
Ron: "Not at all."
Denver patrols and inspects the installation of the system during the construction process.
Question: Was there anybody telling you not to invest in a solar energy system? Ron: "No, most people were very interested and many have followed our lead."
Denver is on guard to make sure that nothing is stolen off the back of our truck.
Question: Do your neighbors often ask questions about the solar energy system?
Ron: "Yes, anyone who stops by is inquisitive about the system, its cost and was it worth it."
Although it was not a requirement for the functionality of the solar energy system, Morton Solar & Electric upgraded the electrical service on the house from an overhead 200A service to an underground 400A service and added a Generac transfer switch for a backup generator. Since these upgrades were included with the solar energy project, Ron was able to take the 30% Federal Tax Credit on these improvements which added significant value to his property and allowed him to remove a pole from his yard.
Question: What did the system cost and what did it include?
Ron: "$34,500 for a 10.2KW system. Forty AUO 255W solar panels with SolarBridge micro-inverters. Snap-N-Rack ground mounting system."
This was the 400A service feeder installed underground to eliminate the ugly overhead service conductors. Although this was not a requirement for the solar energy system to function, it was a perfect opportunity to make these electrical system improvements as part of the solar energy system installation.
Question: Do you think the solar energy system increases the value of your home and how much?
Ron: "I do believe that it increases the property value. Just a guess would be $50,000."
Solar panels are designed for the elements. Snow and cold weather are not a problem and estimated energy projections take the local weather patterns into consideration in the calculations which are performed by advanced software modeling.
Question: How much maintenance has been required for your solar energy system?
Ron: "Totally maintenance free. The nice thing about the ground mounted system is the fact that it allows for easy snow removal which isn't really necessary, but easy enough to do."
Kenergy came out to make the final connections on the new 400A service and was a great company to work with on the entire solar project. You can see where the old meter was located on a pole near the driveway. That pole and meter were removed and the new meter was installed on the house.
Question: Are you glad you invested in a solar energy system?
Ron: "Most definitely."
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