Welcome to the Maine Solar House
February, 2014 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 03 March 2014 10:53

snow14We've just been through a cold/wintry February here in Maine, and I'm pleased to report that our home kept us warm and cozy - as the sign says when you enter our state from New Hampshire: "The Way Life Should Be!"

pvfeb14Our 4.2 kW array generated 326 kWhrs in February, which is an improvement over the 273 kWhrs produced in January - incremental growth as the sun rises higher and is visible an additional minute each day.

Our front room temperature has ranged from a low of 68 at night to a high in the upper 70s (one day it hit 80.2!). Letting the natural solar gain fill the house with summertime warmth helps the internal temperature coast until the next morning when, for the majority of this past month, the sun restarts the 'refueling' process all over again.

Our solar tanks were heated up to 145 degrees on one day, generally reaching the high 130s during the sunny days of the month.

So passive solar gain added to an active solar thermal/radiant floor heating system means we bask in summer-like weather throughout the Maine winter. Is it any wonder that we want the word to get out: "Go Solar and Live Better! - The Way Life Should Be!"



Last Updated on Monday, 03 March 2014 12:41
 
January, 2014 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 11:41

snowjan14Another year here at the Maine Solar House. January was a storm-filled month, but we remained comfortable thanks to the extraordinary solar passive gain and our active solar thermal panels which supply hot water, through two 500-gallons tanks in the basement, to our radiant floor.

Just walking throughout the house this morning, as another snow storm is doing its will on our land - up to 14 inches today - I realized what a gift this structure is to us and the environment. Our thanks to our architect, Steven Strong and our builder, Tim Spang. Today, the snow will slide off our roof thanks to its  45 degree angle and the glass covered panels. We've already had a 5.5 Richter scale event as it roared to the ground! Tomorrow will be a sunny day and the cycle of harvesting the sun's energy will begin again.

pvjan14In the month of January, we generated 273 kWhrs of electricity - pretty much the low point of our annual production. Each month, the sun contributes of our electrical needs without the use fossil fuels.

My Plugin Prius continues to provide transportation with very little gasoline used. It's still averaging 144 mpg annually, with a 10.2 miles electric range before switching over to  its hybrid engine. As spring approaches, the range to grow toward 14 in the summer.

Are we enjoying the winter in Maine? You bet.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 March 2014 11:24
 
October, 2013 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 01 November 2013 13:57

pvaug13PV Geneation: I skipped a month in my reporting - must have been the perfect August that lulled me into complaceny. So here is the two-month total: 760 kWhrs of electricity generated, averaging 380 per month. That puts us at a total of 3,687 kWhrs generated in the first 10 months of the year. Keeping in mind that our goal is 4,000+ kWhrs/year, only 313 kWhrs are needed to make that mark. Usually we hit 4,100.

priusnov13Plugin Prius: This was the first year that I had a summer experience with the vehicle. My overall gas mileage to date is 146 mpg! My current tank of gas shows 382 mpg! So far, I've traveled 2,112.8 miles on that tank.

fuellynov13I just filled up (Nov. 12th) and the numbers are impressive, if I do say so myself. I went 2,2628.6 miles on just one tank of gas! Since it was summertime, my range on the EV battery was strong, topping out at 14.1 miles (before the car goes over to the HV mode). I keep track of my fuel mileage on Fuelly.com and though they vary from what my Prius readout says, they are in the ballpark. Toyota told me I got 348 mpg, Fuelly figures 322 - either one is outstanding!

turkeysThanksgiving: The first 'gang' of turkeys ended up in our yard in October. While we've seen a stray bird from time to time, we were amazed when 19 showed up and strutted around the house before heading down the driveway. Living in Maine has many advantages, particularly the generally friendly wildlife that brightens our life.

Our home continues to perform well as we enter our 20th year of harvesting the Sun. As an investment, it paid for itself several years back, but as a lifestyle, it's unsurpassed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 13:47
 
December Report - 2013 Was A Very Good Year! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 21:05

I was just getting the hang of writing '2013' on my checks...yes, another year is in the history books and now it's time to assess how our solar house and plugin car performed.

pvdec13First, let's look at the electrical output from the 4.2 kW array. It ended up generating 4,190 kWhrs of electricity - a sizeable quantity from a system which is in its 19th year. There were no glitches as it continued to perform flawlessly. We've reached 4,200 kWhrs annually for most of  the past years - should I round it off to 4,200? :>)

priusdec13Second, our plugin Prius delivered outstanding mileage over the summer, registering 411 mpg at one point! The overall mileage since I bought the car in the fall of 2012 is 144 mpg. You'll note from the attached photograph that we are now in the 10-mile charge range - that's the wintertime maximum for a 3-hour charge. I use the plugin primarily for local travel. I'm just 1.6 miles from our small village and 6 from a larger town. I have no complaints about this vehicle but I look forward in another year and a half, when my lease runs out, to getting my hands on an all-electric car with at least a 75-mile range. The passive and active solar systems continue to produce comfort in the winter.

2013 was a very good year...here's to 2014!

Last Updated on Monday, 03 March 2014 12:44
 
August, 2013 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 02 September 2013 12:49

PV Report:

pvaug13Ah, a mostly sunny month. We generated 474 kWrs of electricity from our PV panels which is a new monthly record! The array, now into its 19th year, continues to work flawlessly.

Plugin Prius Report:

priusaug13As for my Plugin Prius, it celebrated its first birthday in August. My yearly average is 137 mpg and the mileage on my current tank of gas is 374! So far, my tank registers slightly more that half full, having traveled 1,258.9 miles since my last fillup! I'll likely have to add more gas before the snow flies (!)

Gardening:

tomatoes13I have to publish this picture.

We deicided to plant our tomatoes in two raised bed near our house this year. So it seemed reasonable to fill the form with fresh compost.

The result is an avalanche of cherry tomatoes and an unblemished crop of the standard-sized variety.

What a pleasant surprise - no bugs, blemishes or rot and only one tomato nibbled.

We actually paid no attention to them until it was time to harvest. It's the way life ought to be!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 21:32
 
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