The Italian Palace is what ended up being the nickname of our home after we remodeled it a few years ago. We cut the roof off of the the original three-bedroom ranch, added a story, and finished the basement. The net result was a 13 room, 6 bedroom, and six full bathroom 5,500 square foot monster!

Sounds like a dream home right? That’s what we thought until our first gas & electric bill arrived. Our yearly energy costs have been averaging over $7,500 which comes out to around $625 a month. Even with this “investment” in energy the house is cold in the winter and hot in the summer because I keep the thermostat at levels that my family will barely tolerate (around 64 & 79 degrees).

Obviously our energy costs are way out of control and I needed to figure out a way to get things turned around. When I first started looking for a solution a few years ago Geothermal and Solar energy emerged as the technologies that could substantially lower our energy costs but at the time it wasn’t very attractive from an up-front investment and payback perspective.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a 30% federal tax credit for Solar and Geothermal systems with no cap on the total system cost. This plus additional State incentives made me take another look at the economics of going with renewable energy.

This winter I crunched the numbers and decided it was time to invest in a 14.72kw Solar System along with Geothermal for my HVAC. My analysis showed that I could eliminate my $7,500 annual spend and actually turn a profit of `$2,000 per year. This would be through a vastly more efficient HVAC system, generation of ~20K kWh per year, and income from Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

This blog will document the entire process from the selection and installation of the equipment to the post installation savings.