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Sneak Peek: Jamestown Solar Plan

What it takes to create a utility-bill-free lifestyle

The Jamestown Net-Zero House will get a big energy boost from the steeply sloped, south-facing garage roof, on which a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic array will soon be installed.

“We knew we needed solar in order to achieve net zero, but there wasn’t a south-facing roof we could use on the main house,” says architect and homeowner Don Powers. “I designed the garage with that south-facing roof in mind.” Although the rest of the garage roof is covered with cedar shakes, the solar plan requires asphalt roofing as the surface on which the PV array should be installed.

Designed by Vivint Solar, the plan calls for a system consisting of 18 crystalline silicon PV modules capable of 5,310 watts (slightly more than 5 kw), which is expected to offset 86 percent of the house’s energy usage. Once the PV modules are installed—which can be done in a matter of hours—there is typically a 30-day time frame before the panels can be connected to the grid and start generating energy. During that interval, local utility and municipality permissions need to be secured.

Once the system is up and running, it will help the homeowners realize their dream of living in a net-zero house.