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A Look Inside the Wilsons’ Electrified Home

People emPOWERing Princeton: A Look Inside the Wilsons' Electrified Home


Meet the Wilsons, a family committed to shrinking their carbon footprint and embracing sustainable living. Louise and Cliff’s journey began with moving into a condo in a historic district, strategically located for easy access to downtown amenities by foot or bicycle. Their commitment to shrinking their carbon footprint also led them to explore various electrification upgrades, starting with installing solar panels.

Hot Solar Summer

Shortly after settling into their new home, the Wilsons added 31 solar panels to their side of the roof, generating 60 kWh per day during sunny spells. From winter lows of 400 kWh to summer highs of 1500 kWh per month, their solar production has totaled approximately 11.6 MWh annually since its installation in November 2015. Their journey into solar energy began with seeing a neighbor’s lawn sign for Green Sun Energy. The Wilson’s experience shows the importance of finding a good solar company as their solar professional not only took care of all the aspects of installation but also provided information on Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), tax incentives, return on investment breakdowns, and more! To find the right solar company for you and to compare quotes, check out Energy Sage.
Navigating the complexities of a condo association, was relatively easy for the Wilsons as they found support from their neighbors, ensuring a smooth approval process for their solar project. As for the historic district requirements they had installed them before the historic district designation was in place. If you live in a historic district and are interested in solar, learn more about the current approval process.
Louise Wilson reflects on the tangible savings, noting that “there were 6 or 7 months out of the year when the electric bill was zero,” highlighting the financial benefits alongside their environmental impact. Their electric bill is no longer zero as they have increased their electric load with their electric vehicles (EVs) and air source heat pump (ASHP).

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Advice to Aspiring Solar Enthusiasts

Encouraging others to embrace solar, Cliff shared that having solar is like having a “money-printer on your roof.” Beyond savings on energy bills, they have benefited from income generated by SRECs.
They also recommend considering the total generating capacity allowed for installation, which may be limited by previous electricity usage. By prioritizing electrification projects and demonstrating the need for additional solar capacity, homeowners can maximize the benefits of their solar installation.

Embracing Electrification

Beyond solar, the Wilsons have embarked on a broader journey of electrification within their home. From installing an air source heat pump for superior comfort and efficiency to replacing their gas appliances with electric alternatives, their commitment to sustainability extends to every aspect of daily life.
The Wilsons installed their air source heat pump after their air conditioner died. Louise Wilson expressed her satisfaction, stating, “It is super comfortable, there is no variation in heat. It is also so much quieter than the AC unit we had before.” They also switched their gas clothes dryer to an electric one but noted that this switch comes with some sacrifices as it takes longer to dry. Natural gas has fallen to a tiny fraction of their household energy use. “There are few if any months where we pay no electric bill at all nowadays, but the solar panels offset a lot of the cost,’ notes Louise. “And I expect many households might install more panels than we could on our relatively small roof.”
Cliff was also an early EV adopter and had a car with only an 80-mile range. Today they have two electric vehicles for non-local travel, both with much longer ranges. They shared how much the charging infrastructure has improved over the years but also hope to see it grow even more.


Looking to the Future

As the Wilsons continue their environmental journey, they plan to replace their gas stove and hot water heater with electric alternatives. They have already started to transition away from their gas stove by using a portable induction cooktop and countertop electric oven. They have been able to cook most of their meals using those, even when cooking for four or five. The Wilsons are also considering additions such as battery storage to complement their solar setup.

Join the Electrification Movement

Inspired by the Wilsons journey? You too can make a difference by: