Real People, Real Solar
Kurt Schneider and Carol Martin – “It’s less expensive than you think.”

System size: 5.5 kW
Solar PV modules: 26 Schuco 210 watt modules
Annual electricity production: 8,424 kWh/year
Annual CO2 emissions reduced: 17,269 lbs/year
Equivalent reduction in vehicle miles driven: 18,870 miles/year
Equivalent number of trees planted: 657 trees

Not unlike many folks considering solar, Kurt Schneider and Carol Martin had the illusion that they would not be able to afford a solar PV system. However, after a brief meeting with Shaw Solar, they decided that the time to act was now. “Meeting with John and learning the rebate benefits, as well as the lower per watt cost were the final factors that made us realize the time had come to act” says Kurt.

“We had been thinking of going with a PV system for several years, as we already had a solar hot water system and a good energy-efficient home. And even though we wanted to jump-in, we were concerned about the upfront cost. But, we also realized the longer we delayed the more we were contributing to climate change,” he adds.

After going through the process of installing a system, Kurt and Carol would now suggest that others jump right in – “The water’s fine! Many people we talk with have a mindset that the costs still need to get lower before they should commit to a solar collection system. Our response, besides giving figures and cost benefits, is that if someone can afford it, there is a responsibility to take action now. There is no time to wait.”

Real Solar Real People - Schneider

Frank Klein – Durango

System size: 3.15 kW
Solar PV modules: 15 Kyocera 210 watt modules
Annual electricity production: 4,823 kWh/year
Annual CO2 emissions reduced: 9,887 lbs/year
Equivalent reduction in vehicle miles driven: 10,803 miles/year
Equivalent number of trees planted: 376 trees

Frank Klein was most interested in making our shared planet just a little greener when he called Shaw Solar in 2009 to install a 3.15 kW PV system.
“We wanted to make a statement about the environment, combat global warming, and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels –  those were the deciding factors in our decision.’ Frank says. “It was truly a no brainer. When you live in an area with over 300 days of sunshine per year, a 30% Federal tax credit, and our personal finances could support it, the decision was easy.”

And now that Frank’s system is installed, how has life changed? “With the exception of no electric bills other than LPEA COOP membership, and local bragging rights, our life has not really changed. It’s nice to periodically email friends and family to mention how many lbs. of CO2 we’ve kept out of the environment.”

Frank selected Shaw Solar for the same reasons many others do – reliability and professionalism.

“I received four bids for our project.” Frank explains. “Three of the contractors made an over the phone or email bid.  John’s first words were “where do you live so I can come out and look over the project.” I knew then who I would have work for us.  It sounds like a simple reason, but it really isn’t. When someone is going to work on my biggest lifetime investment, I want it to be a person or company that invests themselves in that project. John and his crew did just that.”

Real Solar Real People - Hoffman

Jim Hoffman – Durango

System size: 7.5 kW
Solar PV modules: 36 Schuco 210 watt modules
Annual electricity production: 11,043 kWh/year
Annual CO2 emissions reduced: 22,638 lbs/year
Equivalent reduction in vehicle miles driven: 24,736 miles/year
Equivalent number of trees planted: 861 trees

As a builder and software engineer, Jim Hoffman’s goal was to build a net zero home in which he would never have to worry about gas, electric, or propane rates. “Along with that, we also wanted to make a commitment to the environment,” Jim says.  Shaw Solar was able to help Jim achieve those goals with a carefully designed 7.5 kW PV system, a solar thermal system with electric boiler, and a radiant in-floor heating system.
“Jim had a sophisticated energy modeling system which we used to size our installations,” says John Shaw. “I believe by the time we were finished (2009), Jim’s home had the lowest HERS rating in the US.”

Now that the construction is completed, Jim keeps careful track of his day-to-day usage and has employed some novel systems to keep his usage low.  “We installed a whole house power monitoring system that alerts us to any excess power consumption,” Jim explains. “We have installed motion sensors in some rooms, and are investigating going to time of day metering, which might help us move from net zero electric bills to net negative bills. By and large, we are much more conscious about using our electric and thermal resources wisely.“

Real Solar Real People - Hoffman

Doug and Bev Capelin – Durango

System size: 4.2 kW
Solar PV modules: 20 Schuco 210 watt modules
Annual electricity production: 6,430 kWh/year
Annual CO2 emissions reduced: 13,181 lbs/year
Equivalent reduction in vehicle miles driven: 14,403 miles/year
Equivalent number of trees planted: 501 trees

For Doug and Bev Capelin of Durango, installing a  4.2 kW PV system on the roof of their home was as much about making a statement as it was about finances. “I feel that we are part of a greater movement to reduce our carbon footprint on the landscape,” says Doug. “I also feel that I’m putting my money where my mouth and professed values are. As the years go by, it’s important to live as close to your convictions as you can.”

Living close to their convictions was also something the Capelins could share with their 17 year-old son, Ben, who helped the Shaw Solar crew with the installation. And as an added solar benefit, Ben’s work ethic at the installation later morphed into a summer job with Shaw Solar.

And why did Doug and Bev choose Shaw Solar?
“Shaw Solar stood out in the process for many reasons,” says Doug. “One, they have a great reputation. Two, John Shaw showed up, literally and figuratively, with a lot of knowledge, sincerity, and patience. And three, I trusted John to get us “whole” to the other side of the project.”

Real Solar Real People - Catsman