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People emPOWERing Princeton:The Larsen Family

Welcome to the Larsen Family Home!

Introducing the Larsen Family

Nina from the Larsen family first connected with Sustainable Princeton when she reached out with ideas that could encourage residents to install solar panels in Princeton. She pointed out that she sees many electric vehicles on the road but few solar panels on the rooftops in Princeton. Nina spoke about her family’s experience with and the benefits of having rooftop solar, writing, “It seems that many people are not aware that solar panels are a good financial investment, where homeowners who buy panels will recover the initial cost in ~5-6 years (based on federal tax credits, electric bill savings, and energy credits) and receive free electricity from the panels for at least 10 years thereafter. Installing solar panels also increases the value of the house.”

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Alex and Elana from Sustainable Princeton had the opportunity to visit the Larsen family home to learn more about Nina and her family’s experience with and the benefits of installing rooftop solar panels and backup batteries.

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First Things First

The Larsen family started their solar journey by looking on Next Door to see reviews and recommendations by their neighbors (EnergySage is another great resource for this). They contacted three companies before deciding to go with Exact Solar, which provided them with multiple options and a good estimate.

Nina believes that if they were able to install solar on their rooftop, then anyone can! When the Larsen family started the process of installing solar panels, they found there was electrical work that needed to be done first. Nina spoke about how their 1960s home was not grounded, which can result in sparks, shocks, and electrical fires (it’s a good thing they were interested in solar and were able to find this out!) Another upgrade they made was to replace their undersized power box so that it is now able to accommodate the solar system. Lastly, they also received a new electric meter, as a standard electric meter does not register the flow of energy in two directions.

Solar System

Once the Larsen family got through the complications of the electrical work, the solar company handled all the permits and let them know of the incentives they would be able to take advantage of. The solar installers took measurements, drew models of the rooftop with the panels, and were able to provide a more detailed estimate. The solar installers then put up the frames, installed 54 LG solar panels, and hooked up everything electrically. The final step was to hook up the solar system online so that the energy produced and consumed could be monitored.


The Larsen family saw many benefits to their new solar roof, especially financial. Nina spoke of all the ways the new system pays for itself in only 5-6 years. Their electric bill went from around $400/month to $5/month, simply because of utility fees. In the summer months when there is more sunshine they get a credit that is applied to their bill in the winter months when they may not be generating as much energy. They also received a tax credit of 26% of the cost of the solar panels. Nina also spoke about how they receive SREC credits, which are not as significant as the other benefits but still help (find out more about SRECs here). Lastly, solar panels increase the value of your home!

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Back-up Batteries

The Larsen family was initially unsure if they wanted to install batteries with their solar setup but decided to do so once they had their solar rooftop. They went with enough batteries to power what they deemed essential to their family. A battery power box, a small control panel, and four backup batteries were installed to power their furnace, refrigerator, thermostat, and a few outlets.

The Larsen family has been so happy with their decision to go solar. They have seen countless benefits to having a solar rooftop and encourage others in town to make the switch!

Ready to start your solar journey?

Contact a solar company today!

Find a solar company. Be sure to call several vendors and get multiple quotes before choosing a solar professional.

Not able to install solar?Are you not able to install solar because you are renting, or there is too much shade, or it is too expensive? Sign up for a community solar project to receive some of the benefits of solar panels, like savings on your energy bill. Check out which projects serve your area here!