A view from the south - Our Photovoltaic Array on the equipment building
Lost Creek Adventures just went through 2.5 years of renovations and is almost entirely new except the foundation. Previously this was the site of a 1950's motel that had been degrading for many years. To give you an idea, during hard rains we had to move our computer to keep it from getting wet... Besides the building itself we went as energy efficient as possible by spraying in foam insulation and switched to energy efficient heat & lighting. With an updated roof we were finally able to take the plunge and invest in solar electric.
My home solar array
I've been off-grid at my house since 2002, so for me this step was a no-brainer. Back then solar was expensive but still way more affordable than plugging in to the power company who charged $45/month just for access to their services. That's $540/year just to be hooked up before I used any electricity! After 10 years of use it had paid for itself completely, and I spend about $100/year for upkeep, (Batteries mostly). Suffice to say, with solar electric now being cheaper and better than when I installed on my house I was sold on getting a system for our business.
The system we decided on is a 7.2kW bifacial array. This means there are light absorbing panels on both sides, so any light reflecting off of the silver roof also produces electricity. It should completely cover our use. One of the added bonuses of producing our own electricity is that any excess energy produced goes to the needs of our neighbors. How's that work? When your home or business draws electricity it comes from the closest producer. In the case of our neighbors, that's us! By becoming a producer of electric we help our town run on renewable energy rather than coal, nuclear, or biofuels such as wood chips.
Another bonus to solar is the payback. Over the life of our system we are supposed to average a 15% payback over what we would have spent on grid electric. This is above the average stock market return. I'm still not sure why more people aren't taking advantage of the #1 resources we have, the sun!