• Location:

    Philadelphia, PA

  • System Size:

    3.29 kW

  • Estimated Monthly Production:

    321 kWh

  • Projected Savings This Year:

    $678

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Carolyn and Cheryl are so green, their live-work home was named Philadelphia's first LEED Gold-Certified within the city limits, in the Fishtown neighborhood. "We try to live as green a lifestyle as possible," Carolyn says. "It was only sensible to add solar to optimize our energy conservation."

The challenge was finding a place to put their solar panels. "We couldn't put panels on the roof, because it's a living space, a green roof technically, that earns us storm water credit," says Cheryl. Both women researched homes using panels with a vertical orientation in Europe and at the Solar Decathlon. "Astrum Solar was the only company we could trust to do the work," Carolyn says. "Astrum's in-house engineers use Enphase microinverters – the only way to go with this type of install. Two other companies came out, but weren't sure how to handle the situation. They clearly didn't have the capabilities to do the job."

One block away there is another Astrum Solar home. You started a trend. They get better sunlight in the summer and we get better sunlight in the winter. I track them online too.

Panel location was not the only challenge. Cheryl and Carolyn live above a well-known bakery that could not risk disruption during the installation. "Astrum coordinated with the bakery so it could remain open the whole time," the two are pleased to say. "It was a big production," Cheryl added, "and it was the only construction I've ever done that went smoothly once it started. Everyone who came from Astrum was very professional. They were on-time and they always called in advance."

At the end of the day, their solar panels are generating about 80% of the electricity usage in the couple's home. They report paying anywhere from $0 to $42, the highest monthly bill they've seen ($110 was the record low before). "It's cool to see how much energy  we are using and then how much solar we are producing to offset that," Cheryl says. "Carolyn loves to run upstairs to look at the Enphase box to see what we have produced."

"I log in and look at it online every day," Carolyn admits. "It's like a game … how to make more money. I keep trying to reduce the kilowatts so that, in the end, we are paying nothing for everything. The investment has already paid for itself and it has been less than two years."

"One block away there is another Astrum Solar home," Carolyn says. "You started a trend. They get better sunlight in the summer and we get better sunlight in the winter. I track them online, too." They both say they like it so much, they are now planning to add solar panels to their hearing aid office — an "energy hog" they can't bear after getting accustomed to such a high home energy savings. Astrum Solar is installing the project.

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