This 2.4 kW grid-tied solar electric system was designed to meet the guidelines for a home in a registered historic district.
In 2015, Sharon and Vic Fahrer installed a solar electric system on their home in Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood. They were one of the 52 homeowners that participated in the Solarize Asheville campaign, which provided additional impetus for the environmentally conscious couple to go solar.
At the time, Vic was working with the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency doing environmental impact assessments, and Sharon was an environmental planner. One of Sharon’s jobs had been with the Southern Appalachian Mountains Initiative (SAMI) which was a 10-year consensus-based organization that studied the effects of air pollution on the Appalachian Mountains. The data generated from this project helped to pass North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks bill. With the awareness of the impacts of fossil fuels on the environment, Sharon tells that she felt they should “put our money where our mouth is,” so to speak. Solar energy was not new to them either; they had participated in solar hot water program in the 1980’s in Long Island, and had installed one years later on a rental unit when they moved to Asheville.
As Montford is a registered historic neighborhood, the one hindrance that they faced in bringing solar to their beautiful Victorian home was the requirement that the installation could not be readily visible from the street. This limited the number of panels they could install, but our design team was able to propose a 2.4 kW system, comprised of nine LG 270 watt modules that passed the review process. The array is flush mounted to the roof, and indeed is barely noticeable from the ground. To increase the system’s efficiency, SolarEdge’s DC Power Optimizers were selected, along with their inverter and monitoring solutions.
Using PV WATTS, a production calculator for photovoltaic systems, this system will produce approximately 3,115 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Although modest in size, as a net-metered system it still proffers significant financial benefits. Since becoming operational in July of 2014, the Fahrers have realized over $1,000 in savings on their electrical expenses. However, I can imagine that knowing that their system will offset the equivalent of 2,536 pounds of coal, and roughly 2.3 metric tons of the greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide a year, is of incalculable value to the Sharon and Vic who’ve dedicated their careers to air quality and the environment. While Vic retired shortly after their system was installed, their solar energy system will be making an impact for at least two more decades!