Welcome to the Maine Solar House
2017 in Review PDF Print E-mail
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 Wednesday, 03 January 2018 20:36
A Look Back at 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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!


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
2015 Report from Maine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 02 January 2016 16:43

pv2015decAnd so 2015 comes to an end. What type of year has it been for power generation? We generated 4.443 MegaWatt/Hours of electricity from our 4,200 watt solar array - a record! The fall, which was abnormally warm and clear, put us over the top.

Winter has been fairly benign through January. The 'Monster' storm seen to our south headed out to sea and we were left with sunny skies and lows in the single digits at night and the mid-20s during the day for much of the month. Here's what our home looks like from our drone at 75' altitude.

A buddy and I are now in the aerial photography business - Maine HDTV. We have our FAA-required 333 exemption; I updated my 1996 pilot's license; got current in Single Engine Land by flying with a Certified Flight Instructor at our nearby municipal airport; and received my 3rd class aviation medical certificate. A somewhat time-consuming undertaking but required by FAA regulations in order to conduct commercial aerial photography in the National Airspace System. You can check out our video on Facebook.

Climate change is a real concern along the coast of Maine as the marine ecosystem is under stress. One of Maine's largest industries is fishing - primarily lobstering. According to an excellent series in the Portland Press Herald, marine organisms are retreating further eastward as the Gulf of Maine continues to warm. I recommend that you read this excellent series. While record catches are still the norm, local lobstermen testify that the tastey critters are moving into deeper water and further east along the coast - to find cooler water. Connecticut and Rhode Island have lost the majority of the lobster crop due to warmer ocean temperatures. This does not bode well for the future.

Solar living continues to offer comfort and savings. It's a blessing that our architect, Steven Strong, designed such a magnificent structure for us to enjoy, now and into the distance future.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 April 2016 18:59
Beginning of Spring, 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
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
Three Weeks Into October Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 08:55

solar-house-4kWe're sliding toward the really cold months with snow and ice storms the norm. The best thing a properly sited solar house has going for it in the fall and winter is the sun angles - shinning at a much lower angle into our south-facing home. That generates considerable passive solar heat. Our front room can approach 80 degrees even on the coldest of days, thus the need to disipate the extra warmth by opening several windows.

Year-to-date (October 21, 2015), we've generate 3,841 kWhrs of electricity which means we'll easily exceed our annual goal of 4,000 kWrs. Our solar thermal panels are now raising the daily water temperature in our basement tanks to 150 degrees - enough for showers, baths and radiant floor heat.

So as our 20th year of solar living in Maine approaches its end, setting our own energy policy two decades ago has really paid off. Regardless of the rise and fall of fossil fuel prices and national/state policies, we are snug and secure living the solar life.

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 January 2016 16:43
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