Welcome to the Maine Solar House
2018 in Review PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 31 December 2018 16:01

December 31, 2018 - Another year comes to an end at the Maine Solar House. We've been a solar landmark since 1995.

pv2018decPV Output - 2018's annual PV output was 3,785 kWhrs. We have regularly hit 4,000 kWhrs or more annually except for last year when it was 3,995 kWhs. So the question is: Was this an excessively cloudy year or an output trend? Output in 2016 was 4,315 kWhrs...so at this point, I'm undecided but watchful. Next check will be at the end of June, 2019.

Solar Comfort - The house continues to work on our behalf. Passive solar gain on a sunny day in December can cause the south-facing rooms to heat up to 78 degrees. The Florida-like interior slowly dissipates its warmth during the night leaving our home's interior at around 68 degrees at sunrise. Nothing to complain about here.

Location - As I've mentioned multiple time (and will continue to repeat), our property is adjacent to a section of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has multiple parcels along the Southern Maine coast protecting valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Our section has a tidal river bisecting the land and our daily views are priceless. We have a resident red-tailed hawk family, an eagle or two annually and various great blue & white herons, egrets, Canada geese and other coastal birds. The enclosed video was shot by our drone on Christmas Day of this year. It ends with Three Lords a Leaping - grandson, grandfather and son. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are visible on the horizon.

Conclusion - Our solar home continues its unending effort to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing comfort. In fact, our comfort continues to be significantly enhanced thanks to a decision we made in the 1990s to "go solar!"

Last Updated on Monday, 31 December 2018 17:18
 
First Half of 2018 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 02 June 2018 14:26

July 1, 2018 - Ah, we are into summer weather after a cold, cloudy winter and chilly spring. It was feeling good until our early July heat wave.

pv2018JunePV Performance: Here's a look at our PV semi-annual array output. I'm always looking for at least 2,000 kWhrs of output during the first half of the year to keep us on track for a 4mWhr year. A little arithmetic gives me 1,994 kWhrs for this first half of 2018 (89092 - 86098) - close enough to our 2,000 kWhr goal. All I needed was a portion of one sunny day to put me over 2,000kWrs.

Aerial View: As an FAA-certified commercial drone pilot, I enjoy viewing our property from various angles and altitudes. This is a map of our 2.4 acres adjacent to the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge (I wish I had mapped this at high tide). I got a slice of my neighbor's property in the process. It was late winter and the snow was melting slowly.

dronedeploymsh

Click on this link, then zoom in on the highlighted area to inspect the property. It was just a 5-minute drone flight to capture the stills. They were then sent to DroneDeploy.com for stitching.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 December 2018 16:47
 
A Look Back at 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 January 2017 08:20

pv2017jan1Solar Panels: What a year this has been. The good news is that we generated 4,315 kWhrs of electricity from our roof array. That's one of the largest power outputs we've seen here. The downside to that abundance was that we were in drought conditions that didn't begin to dissipate until late fall rains. Still, as all solar operations, we take what we're given thankfully.

Gardening: We have been in the midst of a warm fall and early winter. Those conditions have kept the spinach in our cold frames alive and well. These pictures were taken on December 23rd and the plants were still happy. I checked them on January 2nd and they look the same!

spinach2016

Usually, they'll wave "goodbye" and shrivel up around mid to late November and return to growth in February when the sun provides at least 10 hours of light. Mother Nature continues to amaze even if it's the small spinach plants.

Winter: Part of our lifestyle is to enjoy the pleasures of winter. Do we love the cold? No, but our home is warm and snug and the view of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge is always changing - the tidal river, the ice, the winter animals and above all the strong sun that heats up our solar water tanks and fills the house will passive solar heat (around 78 degrees on the coldest of days)!

There is beauty in the 'day after' as witnessed by our drone flight over Kennebunkport.
 

Last Updated on Monday, 01 January 2018 10:13
 
2017 in Review PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 01 January 2018 09:46

As I write this report, the outside temperature is near zero (We've had it as low as -16 during the last week of December). Inside, our interior temperature dropped all the way down to 68.5 degrees overnight - by mid-day, it rose to about 78 degrees as the passive solar gain raised the temperature to Florida levels! In addition, the frigid weather is usually clear which means that the solar thermal panels transfer the circulating water to our two 500-gallon tanks in the basement. It is then pumped out of those tanks into our radiant floor for heat. My advice to any and all folks planning to build a home is: Build a passive solar home at least. The extra cost will more than pay for itself. Living in a home that the sun keeps in the 70s on below-freezing days is priceless :)

pv2018janThe annual amount of electricity generated by our 4.2 kWhr roof array was 3,995 kWh. That's just shy of our 4,000 kWh goal (I could round it off, but heck, let's be honest). Higher than average rain and clouds plus a three-day area power outage appear to be the culprits.

It's always fun to fly our drone around the property. Here's a look at our home during the winter. What's not to like about winter in Maine?

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 June 2018 14:36
 
Beginning of Spring, 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 01 April 2016 18:35

As spring continues its blessed way toward summer, the Maine Solar House continues to provide efficient and comfortable living. Recently, our drone took to the skies to capture the view from 100' - taking a 360-degree circuit around the structure and showing the neighboring Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge and the Atlantic beyond. Enjoy!

We owe our presence here to two great real estate agents who pointed us to this property and then to our architect, Steven Strong, who made 'solar living' possible. 

Solar Data

pv2016aprilDuring the first three months of this year, we generated 1,000 kWhrs of power from our 4,200 watt array. This is slightly less than recent years but keeps us on track for our goal of at least 4,000 kWhrs annually. 

Winter in Maine

fedexWe had one snowstorm of the 10ish" variety and then just a few 1-4" 'dustings'. Come springtime, it's always a delight to see how much damage snow plowing does to our lawn. This year we exceeded expectations as a FEDEX truck barreled down our snow-covered driveway and bogged down, unable to get out. The driver managed to spin his way onto our lawn and became a lawn ornament for a couple of hours - digging into the sod by at least 6". He was most concerned about the lobsters he had to deliver to the airport for shipment out-of-state. A small truck came by and the precious cargo was handed off to another driver while the stranded one waited for a tow truck to rescue him. Winter in Maine is always exciting. 

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 January 2017 12:15
 
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