How one woman went solar in Vermont, in spite of COVID quarantine restrictions.
When Lada Emelianova bought her home near Middlebury, Vermont in June of 2020, she knew that going solar was going to be one of her first move-in projects.
“I had had a house for quite some time in the Adirondacks,” she says. “It was old, it was not energy efficient at all, and it was not effective to try to bring it to passive net zero.” Knowing Vermont’s green reputation, she turned her attention east and found a house that checked many of her boxes. “It brought a load of features but there are a lot of others that I’d like to add to bring it as close as possible to passive net zero. Solar was one of the first ones.”
Once she bought her new house, the next question was: What solar company to pick?
“My only concern was that I don’t know many people in Vermont,” she says. I researched it and I was told that it really makes sense to go with a smaller, local company. That’s how Green Mountain Solar popped on my screen.”
This decision that would prove to serve her well because—as with many things in 2020—Covid-19 brought new challenges.
Green Mountain Solar had transitioned to virtual site visits early in the pandemic, but installation proved to be a unique situation. Since Lada spent much of her time in New York for work, Vermont regulations required that she would have to quarantine for two weeks—something that she just wasn’t able to do. So instead, everything was virtual. If ever there was a time to require the utmost confidence in your solar team, this was it. “Installation wasn’t just smooth, it was invisible because I wasn’t there,” she says.
Going Solar in Vermont, Site Unseen
She and her solar advisor, Marcus, worked together to pick out the right location and she OK’ed it using Google Maps. And even though she wasn’t present to see the construction, it all went off without a hitch. “Everything was installed, and everything was good!”
“Marcus was very helpful, very professional,” she adds. “His explanations and reasoning made sense, especially when we got to the choice of panels and explaining the whats and hows.”
Ultimately, she selected a ground-mounted system of 24 LG 355-Watt NEON R Prime series solar panels and 24 Enphase IQ 7+ micro inverters.
Solar and Retirement
Why is Lada looking for net zero? It just makes (dollars and) sense! “I fall into the category of people who are concerned about the environment, but more about economics,” Lada explains. As she starts to consider retirement, solar is a smart investment. She can pay for her system now and then when retirement brings a more fixed income, her electricity is already paid for. And what makes more financial sense than powering your home with free sunshine?
By Julia Westbrook and Jane Stromberg