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Tim Sheldon

Tim Sheldon - La Grange, IL

System Details:

Photovoltaic (PV) System:
My system is 5.7KWp, with 19 300-Watt Panels. 

On a typical day I use somewhere between 7-11 kWh of power

What made you go solar?

As a long time resident in multi-unit housing in Chicago, my dreams for having my own solar array were always deferred by the demands of other owners in the building. However, when I became a single-family homeowner last year, I immediately began investigating how to make my dream of having a solar powered home a reality.

Although I have followed the development of solar energy more broadly, investigating vendors and evaluating bids seemed daunting initially. However, it really wasn't at all! Like any other home improvement project, there are many companies looking to win your business. All of the bidding was free. I was aided by the fact that a neighbor on my street also went solar and gave me great advice about his experience.

In terms of advice for others, I would definitely recommend getting multiple bids. I was able to simultaneously increase the size of my array and decrease the overall cost by getting companies to bid against one another in multiple rounds. My system is 5.7KWp, with 19 300-Watt Panels. On a typical day I use somewhere between 7-11 kWh of power- my system today generated 15.5 kWh of power! Certainly not every day is sunny and some are warmer or cooler than others, so results will vary. However, I am confident that I will be 100% energy independent.

Additionally, I would suggest studying your energy bill thoroughly to gain insight into just how big an array you will need. I found that by being more conscientious about my energy usage and making small improvements, such as installing a NEST thermostat and weatherizing my windows, I was able to increase my energy efficiency dramatically.

Based on federal tax deductions, SRECs, and net metering, I was able to get a project that will pay for itself in about 5 years! It's some of the best money I have ever spent and I love tracking how much energy I produce every day. The system itself is a great advertisement for solar as almost everyone who sees it asks about it. I am just a regular person and if I can go solar, so can you!

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