Our New Electron Farm

• share.solarcity.com/ranchodeluxe • 

I have been aching to go solar since we bought our charming old Victorian two decades ago. We closed on our purchase on Earth Day—(what better way to celebrate the earth than owning a piece of it?)—and started right in on the process of bringing it into the 21st century.

I searched for and found a solar energy company to work with. They were excited: we have THE PERFECT roof for solar... south-facing, tons of sun, big enough etc. We were excited: we could finance the loan for the exact price of our monthly electricity bill. But it was not to happen; the roof was TOO OLD! 

This house, built in 1895, has had 5 roofs. And they are all on top of each other. The bolts that hold the panels on could not hold it securely through the thickness of the asphalt layers. 

So we sat around and waited until the roof got too old. It was a daunting process. We had some roof inspectors tell us it could cost $40,000 because of all the angles and gables, not to mention lack of access for demolition. We had others tell us the roof would be good for another 15-30 years. Meanwhile electric cars hit the market...and we could not access the dream. 

On a lark I started talking to a SolarCity  guy at a Home Depot a few years back. When I explained our sad situation, he said "let us take a look." Their program looked great...they guarantee the roof and will do maintenance on it 4-ever. We went through all the steps again, only for them to tell us the pitch of the roof was 1° steeper than they could handle. Bahhh. 

But one night Sungevity cold-called my husband and said "41°? No problem!" They also had the brilliant idea of a partial re-roof. Brilliant! We could just replace the section of the roof under the solar panels! (Why hadn't we thought of that before?) But Sungevity works as a broker for local contractors, and we lost momentum on the part where we needed to hire an engineer ourselves. (Or shall I say, our$elve$.)

Then one day this wonderful person showed up on our doorstep, talking a mile a minute and putting us at ease, and we came to realize he was the Solar City FIXER. Rob said, "Well, if they can do pitched roofs back East, we can figure out how to do them here!" Solar City used their own contractors for the partial re-roof, AND they paid for half of it! Rob saw us through every twist and turn, from the financing through the dozens of inspections to the roof removal and rebuild to the installation. The demolition was no problem at all. Their staff was strong, professional, and careful. 

We couldn't turn on the system for three months... there were issues with some old wiring and permits not being closed. But Rob and the team kept at it, working with PG&E and city inspectors until all obstacles were removed.

After 19 years, three companies, and months and months of red tape... WE FLIPPED THE SWITCH! Thank you Rob! Thank you Solar City!

Scenes from Solar-izing:

Having your roof scraped off feels kind of apocalyptic. But in a cathartic way.
They carried the old roof away a cubic yard at a time, leaving no mess.

Setting up the new NEST smart thermostat

Santa's elves bringing us some shiny new SOLAR PANELS for Christmas!

What a beautiful scene! Thank you Solar City!

We are now eager "Solar City Ambassadors!!" With this referral you'll get your first month of electricity for FREE: share.solarcity.com/ranchodeluxe.