Photos & Testimonials

 Solarize GT

"My residential solar PV curiosity started about 3 years ago when my parents installed a 4.5Kwh system on their house in Colorado. I had the opportunity to see the system in action and was amazed at the incredible potential - a passive and nearly endless means of saving money on electrical bills, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing property value! When I learned about the Solarize Frederick project, I couldn't wait and jumped at the chance, and I'm really glad we did. I have been nothing but pleased with the solar workshops, and the Astrum Solar installation team was first rate. They met with us at our convenience and walked us through every stage, including completing all the paperwork and permitting for us. I would be hard pressed to recall a better customer-service encounter. We are now the proud owners of a 6Kwh system that I take great satisfaction watching electricity being produced via a customized link on my iPad. To all those homeowners contemplating a solar PV system, I wouldn't hesitate acquiring one. During this summer's intense heat, it is truly a refreshing feeling to know the hot sun is helping to pay for and power your air-conditioning!

Greg

 Soalrize ta

“I've wanted a solar electric system for years. My reasons include lower electric bills, reducing fossil fuel use, and personal interest. 4 years ago, I came close to buying a do-it-yourself 1.5 kW photovoltaic system, but the expense was beyond my budget. With the volume pricing negotiated by the Solarize program, I’ll be installing twice that size system for about the same cost. Dealing with reputable solar contractors monitored by the Solarize program means a lot, too. It's been great having peace of mind with the Solarize program helping to monitor quality, prices and follow-up after installation.

Now our Potomac Edison bills are down from over $100 per month to about $35. Our weatherization/insulation upgrade has been well worth doing both for comfort and energy savings. Upstairs bedrooms are cooler in the summer and the home uses less energy to condition. The federal tax credits and rebates from First Energy/Potomac Edison and the Maryland Energy Administration help a lot with the cost of upgrades and renewables, even with waiting 6 months to a year to receive the rebates or a tax refund for qualifying energy improvements."

Tom

 Solarize cb "Wanted to let you know that we signed off the final document last night for solarizing our home. You may recall that we had been investigating this for sometime when we learned of the county project. In fact, we had interviewed 5 companies and had 3 proposals in hand when we started attending county meetings. By far Astrum had the most comprehensive proposal and have demonstrated great willingness to work with us on making modifications that we wanted, showing incredible patience for all of the questions we had (having learned from previous proposals). We are looking forward to working with their installation group in the near future.To date, nothing but praise from the Bakers on this most worthy county project."

Chad
Peter with Panel

Currer install2
"I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the citizens of Frederick County who wish to go solar. Your program and support has been of great value. From the 1st workshop I attended to the online challenges; Power Saver, Green Leader and the Renewable Star, each of your programs has assisted us in reducing our energy usage and reducing our carbon footprint.

For me, 1 of the key benefits of working with the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources has been your ability to vet the many solar contractors out there and select Astrum Soar.

Working with Astrum Solar has been a real pleasure. I found our salesman, Otha Smith, was a very pleasant and knowledgeable fellow. There was no pressure sales tactics, just a good exchange of information. Our site visit by Vince Trudel was very professional and he confirmed the information we got from Otha.  When we ran into trouble with our homeowners association, Astrum provided us with a legal consolation and letters of support.  When we had a solar panel change due to chain of supply shortages I was able to speak directly to Jacob McDowell, head engineer for Astrum.  He spent almost an hour with me on the phone discussing the various panels and their various merits. I found him very knowledgeable and willing to share his knowledge. Glenn coordinated our on-site installation and the crew arrived today just as promised. Our lead installer Shawn and the head electrician Chris have answered all my questions as the installation went along.  I have just not encountered anyone with Astrum who was not well versed in their area of expertise, polite and very professional.

I can’t wait until they turn on our panels and we can start to 'see a sunny day in a whole new way.'

Lisa, this is a great program and I hope you will be able to continue to support Frederick families with improving their energy efficiency and, where appropriate, installing solar."

Peter

 Jones Install Our installation is happening today. We are very excited to do something that we have talked about many times but financially could not do. With the help of the grant and where we are in life now we felt it was the right time to go solar. We have changed so many other aspects of our lives including our eating of organic foods to recycling and saving gas by combining trips around town. We want to teach our daughters that we care for our environment and that we want it clean for them. 

 We cannot wait till our panels are up and running! 

 Thank you!

 Josh, Tina, Kaya and Aubrey 

 Chadly-Martin Install We have always been interested in green options such as solar energy but never in our wildest dream we would have thought we could afford it. With the grants received this year, we have been able to make 1 of our life dreams come true and help a little bit nature at the meantime. We are so proud and happy to be a part of this movement and encourage everyone to do the same so we can all help this Earth last a little longer.

 Salima, Mike and Julien

 Trevor H Solar Install

We are so happy to have our solar system up and running. Many of our neighbors have stopped by and asked about our new sexy addition. The system was installed as promised and Astrum has been very good answering any questions we have had. It has only been working for a couple of weeks but I can't help going to the side of my house and looking at my new meter, that shows me how much more energy I have made than used at this time of year. Thank you Solarize Frederick and EPA for the grant money and making it so easy to have solar installed. 

Trevor

Jan S Installation

 I have been thinking about the idea of solar energy for a long time, but up until now it was just too pricy. I was able to attend a seminar on solar energy that was presented as part of Charlie Cottingham’s class on sustainability at Frederick Community College. Lisa Orr talked about solar programs, and the Solarize Frederick project. I got very excited and after hearing about the grants and financial incentives to go solar, I was hooked. I went to a subsequent seminar and signed up as soon as I was able. The project went very smoothly, and stayed on schedule. I was extremely excited when my latest electric bill was practically 0. What a great program to get people started on something that helps everyone.

Jan,
Happy Solar User
 Hough Solar PV

We were 1 of the last homes to join the program. I was initially skeptical that it would make financial sense, but the analysis provided by Astrum Solar and my own research convinced me otherwise. I didn't attend any meetings primarily for lack of time, but still I felt informed. The cost to capacity ratio of our 8kW/31 panel array was much lower than what I'd been told to expect by a couple of colleagues with older systems, and the price was only slightly higher than what I was quoted for a 5kW system 6 years ago. The sales and installation process with Astrum has been quick (under 3 months from first contact to turning it on), and hassle-free. I would encourage anyone thinking about investing in solar to speak with them.

Stuart

 Flanagan Solar PV

We just want to pass along our sincere appreciation to all personnel involved in Frederick County Solarize Program. The Green Homes Challenge really opened our eyes the little things that the homeowner can do to conserve energy. The staff and workers at Astrum Solar were very professional and easy to work with. When the Solar System was up and running is when we really realized a huge energy savings. We were pleasantly surprised when our first electric bill was $14.14 and the second one was $37. Normally our electric bill exceeds $100 each month. The good news is our solar system will be generating about 80% of our household electric needs.

A big thank you goes out to Lisa Orr and the solar team in Frederick County and to Glenn Raniere and the Astrum Solar Team. Last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to the EPA staff that provided the incentive for making the program possible.

Jonathan

 Yang Solar PV

We built a new home in Urbana Frederick 3 years ago, and from the start had very much wanted a solar electric system. Our house sits on a bright site, surrounded by fields with open exposure from dawn to dusk. Every day when I watch the sunrise and sunset I always felt like something was missing. 

Thanks Solarize Frederick County program and Astrum Solar for helping me achieve my dream through their program, “See a Sunny Day in a Whole New Way”. We have now a 4.165 kW PV system, finished on August 19th
of this year. In about 50 days it has produced more than 1MWh of electricity. It has covered 100% my electricity usage with even 200 more kWh leftover. But the biggest reward from this project is hardly financial. Solar energy still makes up only 0.3% of all electric energy production. Our future relies on the growth of alternative energy and reduction of fossil fuel dependence. I’m happy to contribute to that in whatever way I can.

Mei and Jun

 Gray PV We have been extremely happy with our solar power system from Astrum. We got the panels installed in June and have seen a substantial reduction in our electric bills. We've told many neighbors and friends about this wonderful program. Shortly after our system was installed our local state Senator was campaigning in our neighborhood and I thanked her personally for the state's efforts to promote Solar alternatives.  

Gregory

 Poole Install

Poole total Install

We have been looking into the process of having solar PV installed on our 100-year-old house for over 3 years. After having closed cell foam insulation added to the walk up attic and the basement "band" (sill plate to foundation) we next replaced an antiquated end of life oil furnace and 20+ year old leaking outside air conditioner with geothermal heating and cooling.

We had decided 2013 would be the year to concentrate on adding solar as the final phase of updates. After much research over the preceding years and confirming recommendations from friends we decided to have the job done by Astrum Solar. About this same time the Solarize Frederick County effort appears and further confirms our decision about Astrum. Because of this and the great discounts being offered we joined the program immediately. 

Astrum installed 35 260w Suniva solar panels in late July.  Final electrical inspection took place on August 8 and the Town of Thurmont acquired and installed our meter on August 23. Our first utility bill only represented 3 weeks as it was near mid billing cycle but the total was only $3.37!!  We also showed a credit for 176 kWh of excess electricity produced!!  Our records show us a 3-week period during the previous 2 years would have cost $70-85. We expect the 12-month average cost of our bills will be in the $20-30 per month range. At expected rates along with tax breaks and SRECs the installation costs should be paid back in approximately 6-7 years.

We have had many visitors, walking or driving by, see the system and stop in for more information which we've been happy to share. We do hope this program will be repeated in the future since there are many more folks only now becoming aware of the benefits being offered both financially and environmentally. Many thanks to Glenn Raniere of Astrum Solar and especially to Lisa and all the folks of the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources who worked so hard to make this program the great success it has been!

 Russ and Cindy 

 Garvey Family w PV
Garvey PV

I became a Green Home’s member last year when Frederick Green Challenge encouraged me to get a home energy audit. This was a great experience. Matt from Atlas gave me a great education and showed me how I could improve my home's efficiency. We added insulation to the attic and the basement walls and our home is now tight.

Soon after this the Green Homes Challenge sent us information regarding their solar campaign. I brought my wife and daughter to a meeting where we were educated on solar power systems for the home. I didn't know that you can't lose with these systems. We either use the power or it is sold back to the power company, so anytime the sun is shining we are benefiting. Then I found out how much work the county had done to pick the best possible Solar Company. I would not have had any clue how to determine a vendor. This along would have kept me from adding solar power in my home.

The Green Homes Challenge Solarize Frederick County program had just made the process possible to someone like us. We then requested a free solar home assessment and began the process. We now have 24 slick solar panels attach to our roof and we are very pleased. The result is now producing nearly 70% of our home's electrical power and is expected to pay for itself in less than 5 years.

My family and I are very happy with our decision and we encourage all of our neighbors to follow our lead. We have had a lot of interest from our neighborhood and have not heard any negative feedback. Thank you Frederick Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, especially Lisa Orr.

Sincerely, Steve, Gina and Maggie

 Malko PV We had our solar panels installed in August. We have already seen a huge reduction in our electric bill. One of the motivating factors in having the panels installed was to help offset the amount of energy a family of 5 can use. It can be challenging with 3 young boys. However with the various projects we have done while being a part of the Green Homes challenge my boys have seen the type of work that can be done to help reduce their carbon footprint. They have witnessed the work being done and have come away with a sense of what it takes to help care for the environment in which they live. Between the monetary savings and knowing that we are helping the planet, we are very grateful for all the programs that Frederick County has offered. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Steve
 Spaans Solar PV

Our 26 panel, 6.76 kW PV system was installed by Astrum Solar on 15-16 July 2013. On the 16th, with the participation of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability, we held an open house, inviting interested passersby to obtain information on photovoltaics while the panels were being installed on the roof. Our house faces the south and the road so the work could easily be seen. We had a Green Ambassador present who was very experienced in PV installs and the circumstances involved. He even showed off his all-electric car to everyone’s great interest.

In the ensuing 4 months, our PV panels have produced a month’s worth of electricity more than our consumption—approximately 750 kWh. Our system is rated at 110% of our consumption established by our billing history. These 4 months have been very sunny and mild, so we have used our AC minimally and the PV panels have been very productive. Over a year’s period we expect that the 110% figure will be fairly accurate. Our latest bill from Potomac Edison (to 22 Oct) shows that we have banked 656 kWh for a credit of $70.22.

With the federal and state rebates we expect from our 2013 tax returns, and the cash return from Astrum for signing up enough customers to go to “Tier 5,” and the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) we rate, our system should pay for itself in 6-8 years. (The SRECs are a commodity the power companies buy from us for producing electrical power they don’t have to generate.) Our 1 concern is that the roof shingles will have to be replaced in 8-10 years and the PV panels will have to be taken off and then put back.

As part of the Green Homes Challenge, we have taken other steps to save power by having additional insulation installed in our attic and had our basement sealed. This should have a positive effect on our gas heating consumption this coming winter and winters to come. Maryland State rebated 50% on this work.

We feel that any prospective buyer of our house will realize that their electrical bills will be near zero and will be willing to pay more for our house in the sale. We hope our experience will encourage others to “go solar” and insulate their houses.

David and Jean

 Wilhelmsen PV

Here are photos of my new solar array installed on my new barn roof, taken recently on a beautiful sunny day in early autumn.  My project lead, Mr. Glen Raniere of Astrum Solar, worked very closely with the Frederick County electrical inspector, both of whom made several on-site visits while I was at work, and with Astrum Solar electricians, to get the installation exactly right. I am really looking forward to seeing "a sunny day in a whole new way" very soon.  I would like to thank EPA for funding this initiative, Solarize Frederick County for facilitating the whole complex process, and Astrum Solar for designing and installing the solar power system.

Thank you very much.
Catherine

 silver PV

Since our mid-August install , we’ve been elated by the energy savings!  We have to thank, Solarize Frederick County for making the entire greening of our family easy and motivating with their great website tools and information.  We also, must thank the EPA and Astrum Solar for making it affordable and a great environmental and financial investment

Sincerely,
Ryan, Katie, Gabe and Regan

Since the install it seems that we have had more sunny days!

 SS PV I had been thinking for some time about going solar, but not until I attended a Solarize Frederick meeting did I fully grasp all of the intricate issues surrounding such a venture.

The Solarize Frederick County staff took a complicated process and delivered it in a very easy-to-understand manner. Every question I had was answered. Every concern I raised was dealt with in a professional manner. It didn't take long and I was signing the paperwork not only for PV but also Solar Thermal.

My desire to go solar largely was tied to controlling (i.e. reducing/eliminating) some utility costs. The rising cost of propane and the ever-increasing electric bills were a concern for me and my wife. We felt going solar now is an investment in our financial future, in addition to immediately reducing our carbon imprint and teaching our young children to be environmentally aware.

The fact that the companies, Astrum and Solar Energy Services, had been vetted for quality assurance, coupled with the Solarize Frederick County grants made this a no-brainer in addition to very affordable. We enjoyed every step along the way -- from the Green Challenges, Power Saver and Renewable Star, where we put into action additional cost-saving plans -- to the installation and powering up of our very own solar panel system. Working with the Astrum Solar group was a pleasure. They had us up and running in almost no time, and have continued to follow up with us well after installation.

Although I knew we had made the right decision to go solar, but never more so than when I received that 1st $5.37 bill from my electric company! We are the envy of the neighborhood as neighbors have come to our backyard to see the system, ask questions ,and entertain heading in that direction themselves.

Not long ago, terms such as SRECs, kW, KWh, GATS, 250-watt panels, TSRF, were foreign to me. Now, I'm sharing that information with others.

We never could have done this without Solarize Frederick.


Sheldon

 Otoole PV  

Our 4.5 kW system was installed in November 2013. Our house was built in 2 stages: the south-facing front part dates from 1857 and is a log cabin covered by bricks, possibly in the 1890s; the rear half is a frame structure dating from the 1890s. So ours is probably one of the older homes in this area to receive the benefits of solar panels. Astrum Solar was a wonderful company to deal with. They kept us informed of progress and told us exactly what to expect and when. We have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone considering the installation of PV solar panels.

Bill and Cathy