Is here! Apologies to those who have not seen my new posts. I moved from Blogger to WordPress and getting the RSS feeds to ‘talk’ has been a nightmare. But I finally figured it out. Let me know how you like the new look! I have a lot of updating to do, I know, but I’m getting there!


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Going Solar

In the summer of 2014, we had solar panelling installed.  I was not keen on the idea at first.  I was against spending the money, but Shawn was all in. The main factor that changed my mind was that it adds to the resale value if we ever decide to sell. I couldn’t wrap my head around how long it would take to recoup the cost but yes, the electricity savings are great! SolarCraft is the name of the company that we went with – they have been in business over 25 years and the panels are American made.

Preparing for installation

Other factors we considered. We didn’t want to do the “lease” aspect because you don’t really own what’s on your private property and that can be an issue with re-sale. Also, those programs are specific based (financially) on the current laws and if the laws change you can have a significant issue in terms of the property that’s attached to your roof and connected to your electrical panels. We decided to purchase so that we would own them outright as it will also add significantly to the resale value of the home. In other words, our “green” decision was based on the universal green…MONEY :)



Come on Sun!





Here are the specifics:

System: 7.020 kW Power (STC) / 5.995 kW AC Power (CEC)
Est Annual Production of 10,397 kWh
PV Panel Description: 26 SolarWorld Model: SW270 Mono Black (one of the 2 or 3 US based companies left that still manufacturer solar panels).
Inverters: 26 Enphase Energy model: M215-60-2LL-S2x (1 inverter per panel for maximum conversion). Company based out of Petaluma, CA. Individual inverters monitor each panel instead of the collective which makes it easier to pinpoint a problem with an individual panel.

Total cost of $34,000. Federal tax credit of 30% reduces to $23,800 with an estimated payback of 7 years. PG & E increased electricity rates 5.9% this year and estimates are future yearly increases will be at or more than 5.9%.

Annual estimate is meant to match the average annual usage and not go over (net metering) as in CA you can only get 1c to 2c per kW produced over your usage (selling back to the grid) where the average cost is around 28c/kW. Unlike CO, which provides a $ for $ return to the consumer if you overproduce and sell back to the grid.

Also, we have a website to monitor our daily production.

This was the best part. Flipping the switch and starting to watch our meter go backward!


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We’re safe and sound

In the early hours (REALLY early) of Sunday morning we were violently shaken awake by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake here in Napa. I can’t begin to describe how utterly terrifying it was – made only worse by being half asleep! In between us both screaming, I remember looking down in the valley and seeing bright flashes of blue light as transformers blew everywhere. And then the valley went dark. It seemed that the shaking would never end and when it did, we stumbled around in the dark for flashlights, peeled the cats off the ceiling, tried to gather our senses, and check to see if there was any damage. (more…)

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