I worked with other residents for 18 months to persuade residents to go solar, not an easy task in a community of 40 residences where 90% of households have to vote in favor of a measure in order for it to pass. Yes, that is the “cohousing” ethic/approach — cohousing is a form of living that is deliberately extra community-based and community-focuses.
We have achieved a lot with our 19.6 kW worth of solar, divided up into a 10.3 kW system on the roof of our HOA Common House and a 9.4 kW system on the roof of some of our community garages. The latter solar system powers two electric vehicles: My 2020 Chevy Bolt and a 2017 Nissan LEAF owned by two of my neighbors.
Some bullet points ==>
The Common House System has produced approximately 3,700 kWh MORE of electricity than has been used by the Common House across the past six months. This means the 10.3 kW system has produced enough solar electricity to BOTH cover 100% of the electricity use in the Common House PLUS an EXTRA 3,700 kWh. 3,700 kWh = approximately $440 worth of EXTRA electricity production. We have been credited by Xcel Energy, our utility, for this amount to count against FUTURE electric use in the Common House. So, chances are very good that we will NEVER see another electric bill for the Common House.
3,700 extra kWh is enough electricity to drive an electric car 15,000 miles! It is also equal to about 40% of the yearly total electric use of the average American household.
For the 9.4 kW worth of solar on the garages, across the past six months, we have produced as much electricity as we have used. We will begin OVER-producing electricity this week sometime because of longer days and more sun. We will likely will continue to OVER-produce for the next three to four months, building a further cash credit with Xcel Energy that will count against future electric use (which will rise again in shorter months of the year as the solar system produces less electricity during that time span).
Our 19.6 kW worth of solar has reduced the HCCC carbon footprint by 9.5 tons across the past six months. This is the equivalent of planting 466 trees, or burning 37,000 light bulbs for a year.
We have greened the ENTIRE local grid at HCCC by adding solar to our Common House and garages. All of the extra electricity that is produced at any given time by each system flows immediately into the local grid and is used immediately by all of us in our homes here at HCCC.
Our 19.6 kW worth of solar has also cleaned the Colorado air by reducing the amount of coal and natural gas burned by Xcel Energy to produce electricity.
Our 19.6 kW worth of solar has, so far, fueled a combined 11,000 miles of driving by me, Christof Demont-Heinrich, and my neighbors in their 2017 Nissan LEAF. This has been both by way of the direct flow of solar-generated electricity into their cars’ batteries when they are plugged in during sunlight hours AND at night by way of so-called solar “offset”, which is the amassed daily EXTRA solar production that “offsets” plugging in items such as EVs at night. The garage system has produced enough electricity to offset 100% of Christof’s and the Beechers’ driving AND also enough electricity to power 100% of our parking lot lights at HCCC along with all of the smaller things that are plugged in in most of our garages [the far West garages are not powered directly by solar].
I am currently working on trying to get our HOA to approve the right for individual homeowners such as myself to install solar on the shared/community roof above their heads. This, just as my previous push to get Highline Crossing to put community owned solar on our community rooftops was, is shaping up to be a super long-haul and challenging effort, as I am already facing opposition again.
May the Force Be With Me on this and may I succeed in this push — or, I swear to God, I will scream! 😤 and/or I will build a solar awning structure in my backyard and circumvent the whole issue of placing individually owned solar panels on a community-owned/shared roof if the community rejects that possibility.