Solar and geothermal are our primary sources of power.
A 6 KW solar system provides most of our general electric (stove, lights) needs while a geothermal unit with horizontal loops 15 feet underground provides our heating and cooling.
Draco Hill is served by the Eastern Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative which allows for net metering, a system that allows us to “sell back” solar power we don’t use. In effect, our REC acts as our back-up battery. We send energy into the grid when the sun shines if our house is pretty much at rest, with few appliances if any drawing power, and we take it and use it at night or cloudy days when we run our TV or computers or refrigerator. At the end of the month, if we’ve provided more than we used, the REC pays us the wholesale rate it would pay any energy provider. If we’ve used more than we provided, then we pay the difference.
Why solar over wind?
- Solar has no moving parts, reducing the risk of maintenance costs.
- Solar, at the residential level, is more efficient and effective than wind.
In addition, our solar installer Green Light Renewables‘ Tim Kruse could get solar panels made in the U.S.A. which put icing on the cake. Federal tax credits made this possible and by the time we installed the second 3KW Iowa had passed state tax credits. Check out this database for any and all tax incentives available where you live.
Geothermal heating and cooling
We also have a 4-ton geothermal unit that provides radiant floor heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Our REC charges less per kwh for geothermal than for regular electric, an added incentive (though we didn’t know about it) for installing this system.