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Ben Tolsky

Ben Tolsky - Wilmette, IL

Solar and Green Efforts:
  • Photovoltaic (PV) System
  • Plan for electric vehicle in the future

System Details:

I have a 4.725 kWp solar array made up of 15 Hanwha panels with a SolarEdge inverter. The panels were installed in May of 2019. In 2020, my first full year of having solar panels, I generated just over 4000 kWh which accounted for 71% of my needs. Due to large trees in my front and back yards, the system performs the best in the spring before leaves return to the trees, but they still perform very well in the summer as well. On a sunny day in April or May, I'm capable of producing 26 kWh.

The other major change I made in efficiency is replacing my hot water heater with a tankless system, which has reduced my use of natural gas in the summer months by 25%.


What made you go solar?

I'm very interested in doing what I can to help save our environment, and want to be a positive role model for my children who will ultimately be tasked with cleaning up the mess that we are currently leaving for them. I had already done my best to reduce our energy usage and install efficient systems in my home, but of course we were still getting our power either from nuclear energy or fossil fuels.

I attended Wilmette's annual Going Green Matters fair and was interested in renewable energy sources, but didn't actually think they were affordable. I actually thought that a wind turbine might make more sense seeing how we have long winters and my house is actually pretty shaded. However, I quickly learned from the vendors there that solar was the way to go. My roof certainly wasn't the ideal candidate for solar, not only do the trees in my yard cast shadows over the roof throughout the day, but my roof's shape being a bunch of small triangles made it difficult to place too many panels togehter. However, despite all that, not only was solar possible for my home, but it was affordable and would pay for itself before I would have to pay my first college tuition bill for my kids. That of course made it a no-brainer.

Within the next week I had two of the vendors come to my house, and spoke with a handful of other ones either online or over the phone. SunBadger Solar gave me the best system at the best price so by the end of the week I had hired them to do the installation. After the long wait of getting permits, they were out the very next day to do the install, and I've been generating power ever since.


What tips do you have for others that want to go solar?

Do not delay in going solar, the sooner you do it, the sooner you start saving both the Earth and your money! There are also a lot of government incentives that are available but will disappear as time goes by.

Also, since you will be doing electrical work as part of the install, I do recommend planning for the future when doing your install. If you don't have 200 amp service going to your home, you should consider upgrading your service at the same time as you will need to do that in order to install an electric vehicle charger in your garage.



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