Happy Tuesday blog day! Today we are excited to showcase one of our newest Asheville solar projects: the Thelen Household.
Belonging to Rachel and John Thelen, this house is a quintessential Asheville gem. A stunning mish-mash of trees and herbs perfectly harbor the mellow orange home, a funky wooden fence with random porthole like openings frames the backyard area, prayer flags connect their home to their neighbors; It’s eclectic, it’s beautiful- it’s downright Asheville. Now, it’s almost completely powered by the sun!
The Thelen’s are now the proud owners of a 5.44 kW solar electric system, capable of producing 8,119 kWh of electricity a year and complete with two charging ports for their electric vehicles. All told, their carbon savings from going solar total 5.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. That’s equivalent to 642 gallons of gasoline consumed, or 1.2 passenger vehicles driven per year (calculations done thanks again to our handy friend the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator). With their two electric vehicles and their sun powered home, the Thelen’s are carbon saving machines!
Now, this project in particular brought up two different and yet equally compelling points for me:
- The “solar panels are aesthetically displeasing” argument is a bunch of hogwash
- It really is a great idea to invest in an electric vehicle
Let’s talk about why.
Common complaint: I don’t like the way solar panels look
Admittedly, this argument is subjective. Your personal taste and my personal taste may be completely different, I can’t tell you or anyone else what is and isn’t beautiful. I can, however, make the claim that solar panels are now the most attractive they have ever been. In addition to making leaps and bounds in terms of efficiency, manufacturers have really turned an eye towards their design. Panels are slimmer, they can come in sleek all-black, we even have panels that are constructed to blend in seamlessly with your shingles.
This is the future, people. We have the ability to generate usable electricity by sticking layers of silicon up on our roof- and an argument against it is that we can see it? Personally, I like the look of solar panels. Take a second to scroll up again to the picture of the Thelen household…it’s an attractive house, isn’t it? Those panels look great up there! At the very least, they’re barely noticeable.
In celebration of beautiful solar households, here’s a link to an image gallery of 10 beautiful solar residences. My personal favorites are the ones where the architects have designed the home with solar in mind, such as 3, 5, and 9. The way the panels have been worked into the overall design of the home is absolutely enchanting, and something I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in the coming decades.
Now, onto my second point.
Electric vehicles really are the way to go
Electric vehicles have been the way to go for a long time. It would be wrong of me to say otherwise. However, it is no secret that they really haven’t been the most convenient vehicle to own, without a doubt there are limitations. Charging stations are sparse depending on where you live. Here in the south it’s an uphill battle sometimes to find a station, and when you depend on that electricity to move your vehicle, the thought of being stranded is fairly intimidating. When you own a solar energy system, the issue of finding a station is generally moot.
You know what other problem it rules out? Fluctuating gas prices. No longer do you have to coordinate what route to take with the cheapest gas station- you’re charging for free at home! You’re also no longer filling up with fossil fuels and shooting out an average of 4.7 metric tons of CO2 each year. You’re running on sunshine!
One more fun detail, according to this Energy Storage News article, it is very likely that your car will continue being a green machine longer after it’s dead- through re-purposing it’s battery for home energy storage.
All told, electric vehicles rock! There’s also a great selection of cars on the market now that cover a whole range of price points. It’s probably a good time to get one, or look into getting one. In the event that you decide to, or if you already own one, here’s a handy map to the public EV charging stations in Asheville and the surrounding areas. As always, you can count on SolFarm Solar to install an EV charging station with your newly installed solar energy system. Bundle those savings! We’re here to help.