IREC board member goes solar (again), 10 years later…

Vicki's roof gets a new 3.3kW PV system

IREC’s board member, Vicki Colello, is all smiles.  A new 3.3 kW PV system was installed on her roof recently, replacing the old 1 kW system that was installed back in 2000.  The new system will offset 87% of her electrical load.  Is it any wonder she’s smiling?

“What an amazing difference between the PV installation experience in 2000, and 2010.  The industry has come a LONG way,” she said.

According to Vicki, it was a much smoother process.  In addition to having the right kind of roof and orientation, access to capital, coupled with good incentives, sealed the deal for her. 

According to Vicki, replacing the roof was the main driver for removing the old system and getting a new one.  And because the project required removal of the old system and installation of a new system, Vicki knew she needed to find just the right team.  She tapped local Hudson Valley Community College ISPQ-certified instructors, Kevin Rose and Mike Stangl (they’re also NABCEP-certified PV installers) for the job.  Conveniently, Vicki’s roof was the perfect training opportunity for Kevin and Mike’s students at HVCC.  “I wanted to provide some real-world, hands-on experience for the HVCC students to remove the old system, and compare it with the new one—the advances made in panels, inverters, installation procedures.”  The students weren’t part of the install team, but licensed electricians were.

What a great idea.

Colello is quick to point out that favorable financing options are a must for homeowners who want to install solar PV.   For Vicki, those financing options included the generous NYSERDA solar PV program financial incentive, the NYS state tax credit, and the federal personal income tax credit to make the 3.3kW system doable.  “This system will offset 87% of our electric load,” she said, “and will cost us less than the first PV system.  People really need access to capital to do this—there’s no getting around it—unless you don’t have any upfront costs associated with obtaining a system.”

So is she already engaging in typical consumer behavior with her PV system?

“You mean am I checking my meter to watch it run backwards?  I’ve not yet gotten into that routine, but I’ll admit it’s nice to look at. The electricians did a great job.  In fact, the electrical work on this system was so much more professional that it’s almost beyond comparison to the first system installed 10 years ago.”

Vicki’s so matter-of-fact about it all.  “It was really no big deal,” she said.  It was just like installing a new furnace (but a lot zoomier).


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