Northshore Home

Fall 2015

Northshore Home magazine highlights the best in architectural design, new construction and renovations, interiors, and landscape design.

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Page 159 of 204

FALL 2015 157 POWER SURGE SOLAR ENERGY IS THE WAVE OF THE…NOW. By Kiley Jacques S OLAR PANELS HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE LATE 1970s, but they sure have changed. What were once clunky, inefficient monstrosities that cost a small fortune are now sleek, subsidized affairs that prom- ise a quick return on investment. For homeowners looking to save money, the market- ing and communications director of Burlington–based RevoluSun, Tim Post, says solar energy is a "natural fit." With both NStar and National Grid introducing electricity rate hikes, there's no question Massachusetts residents have been hard-hit with big bills this year. In fact, we are now facing some of the highest electricity rates in the country. The reason? Natural gas—the demand for which, in New England, is high come winter. The problem? The pipeline distribution network isn't big enough to accom- modate the increased demand. The Band-Aid solution? Power plants use more expensive fuels like coal or oil to generate electricity. The result? Astronomical rates. The better solution? Solar energy. Harnessing sunlight to supply a home's electrical needs can significantly re- duce and in some cases eliminate electric bills, according to Post, who recalls a major breakthrough in the industry four years ago. "The technology changed to the point where panels are 22 percent efficient right now, whereas they had been about four percent efficient," he says. Factors that affect cost savings include the house's orientation, shading, and roof pitch and size. RevoluSun works with leading-edge manufacturers of high-efficien- cy panels to maximize those savings. (It should be noted, too, that any unused power goes to the grid, and the homeowner's bill is credited.) Industry trends reflect concerns around aesthetics. "Very sleek, low-visual-impact panels are now avail- able," says Post. People are also getting creative with their systems. Fixed or raised ground mounts make use of land space—a good option for homeowners who have PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BASU Tim Post, marketing and communications director for RevoluSun, is an avid proponent of alternative energy. smart house

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