"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!
“I've wanted a solar electric system for years. My reasons include lower electric bills, reducing fossil fuel use, and personal interest. Four 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 great having peace of mind with the Solarize program helping to monitor quality, prices and follow-up after installation.”
For me, one 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."
We cannot wait till our panels are up and running!
Josh, Tina, Kaya and Aubrey
Salima, Mike and Julien
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.
We were one 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 six years ago. The sales and installation process with Astrum has been quick (under three months from first contact to turning it on), and hassle-free. I would encourage anyone thinking about investing in solar to speak with them.
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 home owner 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 $37.00. Normally our electric bill exceeds $100.00 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.
We built a new home in Urbana Frederick three 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 Aug 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
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
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 four 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 four 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 one 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
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.
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.
Ryan, Katie, Gabe and Regan
PS – Since the install it seems that we have had more sunny days!