LIBERTY – As people look toward cleaner forms of energy, some homeowners are looking to solar power, even in the winter in Maine.
“I just really like the idea of producing some of our own power that’s naturally here,” said Heidi Perkins.
Perkins is powering her Liberty home with eighteen solar panels on her roof.
“It says our current power is 1.92 kilowatts,” said Perkins using an energy app on her phone.
Perkins has always been interested in solar energy, but decided to invest in it when the family added on to their home.
She didn’t want two new heat pumps racking up the electric bill. So she says last spring, ReVision Energy installed solar panels in about three days.
On Sunday, she opened up her home for tours, along with representatives from the Liberty based company.
“We have a great solar capacity here in Maine,” said Holly Noyes, ReVision Energy’s marketing and public relations manager. “We get a lot of sunlight here in Maine, we’re actually the sunniest state in New England.”
It might not be the time of year people are thinking about sun in Maine, but Perkins said the panels work well in the winter.
Before the panels were installed the company did a solar analysis, and found the way the roof is angled, the snow slides right off.
Perkins said she hasn’t really had any issues with the panels – helping her heat a home built in 1832.
“Even in those days they were thinking about how to keep the house the warmest,” said Perkins.
ReVision Energy representatives said after the upfront cost, the panels pay for themselves in about six to eight years.
For Perkins, her monthly electric bill used to be $125. From April to November, her monthly bill using the solar energy was $11.
She said the one downside is she can’t use the solar power when the power goes out.
Perkins sells the extra power the panels get to CMP (Central Maine Power). When the power goes out, the panels can’t be used to prevent power surges hurting linemen.
“I still get the peace of mind that I’m lowering the carbon footprint,” said Perkins.
ReVision Energy employees said for homeowners, the cost to install a solar array varies from about $9,000- $16,000.