The Crystal and Alan Prechel Family have 29 solar panels, 4 chickens, and 2 electric cars, in addition to 3 adorable children.
Editor’s note: The Prechel home was one of six on view in Oak Park for the Illinois Solar Tour on Oct. 1. Alan Prechel’s installation was unique on the tour because his was primarily a “do it yourself” project. If you are considering solar for your home or business, whether you plan to hire a contractor or not, you will be better prepared for the task after reading Alan’s account, his steps and decisions, his hints and cautions, and his successes and failures.
Author’s note: Please remember that I researched, designed, purchased, and self-installed my system in order to keep the total costs feasible. I hired professional help when needed and went through the required channels with the utility and municipality to ensure this system is safe and well built. You should do your own research as I did, even if you are leaning towards hiring a solar contractor to do the labor. Best of luck, I hope you have many sunny days ahead!
There are many reasons Solar energy is ‘disruptive’. The term carries with it massive environmental, economic, social, and political weight. Energy produced by Solar PV systems is clean; no carbon emissions or pollution is generated for the 20+ years a typical system will operate. Additionally, the generated power earns the owner SRECS (renewable energy credits) used by businesses to offset their dirty pollution footprint. Most PV systems can be designed to reach ROI (return on investment) well within the lifetime of the equipment, and thus they create monetary profits thereafter. System owners are insulated from utility rate hikes and inflation and are less dependent on external energy sources.
I believe if Solar PV were the norm in US residential applications there would be no energy crisis, our grid and infrastructure could be modernized to promote sharing instead of commercial interests, and our political foreign-oil policies would be flipped on their heads, but that is a conversation for another time. If you are interested in going Solar, I have laid out a few steps to guide you on that path.