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A Green Dream in Action

A Green Dream in Action
Roland Goulette has been planning for his renewable energy system since the 1980s. In an effort to save energy, Roland started recycling and purchased florescent light bulbs. This passion for green led him to where he is now. He owns a 24-panel PV and solar hot-water system. Roland and his family are a perfect example of hard work and planning paying off!
written by Danielle Shaughnessey
Skystream's the Limit

Roland Goulette has been planning for his renewable energy system since the 1980s. In an effort to save energy, Roland started recycling and purchased fluorescent light bulbs. This passion for green led him to where he is now. He owns a 24-panel PV and solar hot-water system. Roland and his family are a perfect example of hard work and planning paying off!

Roland, his wife, and two sons live in Berlin, NH with their many pets. They have a dog, bird, and several fish. Roland has worked at Coca-Cola as a sales person for 26 years. The Goulettes purchased their home in 1982 and worked to make their almost 70-year-old house energy-efficient. They replaced windows and siding. Roland says the family tried to go as green as possible. He even uses six 55-gallon water barrels to store rain water for flushing the toilets. They haven't used city water to flush their toilets since May.

Despite criticism from his peers, Roland was determined to make his dream of utilizing solar energy come true. "A lot of people were saying it wouldn't work in the northern regions. That is not true. It works!" Roland was right. He uses his PV system consisting of 24 Sanyo 200W panels and a 5,000-watt Sunny Boy inverter to power everything in his house. Roland says he uses 450 KW hours a month in the summer. "I produce more than that a month. I'm hoping to build up enough credit to help keep the bill down this winter with the shorter days." The system was installed and ready by May 6. By June, they had 136 extra KW hours. Roland and his electric company make use of net metering. He gets credits from the electric company for the extra electricity he produces.

Roland uses a solar hot-water drainback system to heat his home and his water. Roland's water will get up to 110 degrees on a sunny day and his home will reach 67-69 degrees through radiant floor heating. Roland uses only 200 gallons of oil a winter!


Roland says he was provided rebates and information from the AltE Store Web site for making his dream of renewable energy come true. He found the AltE site when he was researching his solar hot water system and began working with Peter Merrill in the AltE sales department. "It was the only site that had drainback tanks available," Roland says. "That's when I contacted Peter. I mentioned that I wanted to do a PV system down the road. He worked out a good deal for me." He explains that the family has done a lot to cut back on their energy usage. They make sure to turn off their computers and lights when they are not in use. Their appliances and television are Energy Star. They look for phantom loads in the home. "If you want a solar system to work better for you, you try to cut back on your KW hours. This is all stuff I learned from the AltE Web site," Roland says. He explains that many people are not aware of the rebates offered for renewable energy systems. Roland and his family saved in order to come up with the money up front, but between the government and the state of New Hampshire, they received half of it back in rebates!

Roland did the installation with the help of his family and friends. They assisted him in getting two large poles nine feet into the ground. On these, he mounted 12 panels a pole. Roland did all the wiring himself, 10 feet in the air, taking his time. An electrician did the wiring into the electrical box. The entire installation was done in a week and a half. The wiring took four days and the panels were up in a weekend. "It was a lot of fun. I finally get to watch the meter go backwards. That was the best part." Roland lives on a dead-end street off a main road and says that the system has attracted a lot of attention. "People were wondering what it was. I would explain to them about the rebates," and the benefits of renewable energy. Roland also offers a little advice for others who are thinking of venturing into RE. "It's always a good idea to do your homework before you start," he says. "Don't rush into things. I worked on this system for two years doing homework before it was finalized."



As for further RE plans, Roland would like to install a solar air heater on the wall of his home. He enjoys saving money and helping the environment in the process. He works to pass his views on to his children. "I brought up my kids to recycle and hope they'll do this in their homes in the future."

 

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