Step up to Solar: Oregon Home Ready to Soak Up the Sun

Once you’ve upgraded your home for energy efficiency, what’s next? For homeowner Erin Patrick, going solar is the natural choice.

Erin lives in a 1985 ranch-style home in the heart of Wilsonville, Oregon. When the sun is shining, not even an inch of her rooftop is covered by shade. After living in the house for 2 ½ years and already completing one Enhabit project where she gained energy savings from air sealing, attic insulation, and a ductless heat pump, Erin came back for more. This time, she took her home to a whole new level—solar.

Erin and her fiancé Logan, plus their two dogs Kona and Jack, reside in the home together. “We were both in agreement that we wanted to be less dependent on our utility for power. We wanted to go with renewable sources,” says Erin.

Renewable energy is not a new concept for Erin; it’s something she has known her entire life. She says, “Growing up in Hawaii, everyone has solar to heat their water. It was totally normal and natural for me.”

Another Project, Another Benefit

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With the help of partner contractor Abacus Energy Solutions, the installation of the 25 panel, 6.375 kilowatt system went smoothly and efficiently. Erin and Logan enjoyed working with Peter Tofalvi of Abacus.

Peter shares, “Erin’s first project completed by Enhabit has reduced how much energy it takes to heat and cool the house and produce hot water. The addition of solar panels was the second phase towards a home that is significantly less polluting and cheaper to operate.”

With the latest upgrade, Erin found the icing on the cake.

“One of the huge selling points for me, beside my own desire to be energy efficient, was that the system pays for itself. What I was paying for my energy before was only ever going to go up.” Erin asks, “Why not harness our power from what’s out there and available to all of us?”

Solar Works in the Northwest

Some Pacific Northwest homeowners may be hesitant to take the step toward solar, thinking that there is not enough sun in the gray, rainy climates of Oregon and Washington. However, as Solar Oregon notes, solar energy is the most abundant renewable resource in Oregon. Oregon’s sunny summers offset the gray winters. In fact, Portland and Eugene obtain as much solar energy as the national average.

Erin says, “Look to Germany. They rely on renewable energy and have a very similar climate to Oregon.”

Solar Oregon further notes that Germany is installing more solar energy systems per capita than any other country in the world, but its capital, Berlin, has less sun than some of the cloudiest spots in Oregon. No need to let regional climate keep you from a Solar investment.

Cost of Ownership

Another concern expressed by some is the price tag on a solar system. “The truth is that due to the high level of cash incentives and tax credits currently available to Oregon residents, the homeowner will pay only a small fraction – about 25 to 35 % of the total cost of a rooftop system,” says Peter.

Homeowners reap the financial benefits of the system with a return on their investments. According to Peter, it takes about four to seven years to break-even, which then results in about three decades of free electricity!

What Now?

Offering advice to homeowners interested in Enhabit, Erin says: “Just do it. Go for it.”

The couple noted the full-service treatment that comes from an Enhabit 100 Point Performance Check. “They tell you how to get the most bang for your buck,” the couple says.

Peter proudly shares, “Their monthly electricity cost was very significantly reduced already in the first few months of production, in spite of the fact that the winter sun is weaker.” Erin and Logan will benefit tremendously from their system, with years of free electricity to come.

“The couple can expect their panels to produce close to 100% of their household’s yearly electricity consumption,” says Peter.