When Nathaniel and Mary Anne Hitt switched on their new solar electric system last month in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, their minds were blown.
Not only were the Hitts producing clean energy from the sun in the heart of America’s coal country, but they were the very first in their historic neighborhood to do so.
“It was AMAZING – as in, your-first-paper-mache-baking-soda-volcano amazing,” writes Mary Anne on Daily Kos. “As soon as we turned on the system, I kept running back outside to check out the new meter that measures our total solar output.”
What she found was remarkable: the 2.82-kilowatt system generated enough power to send excess solar back into the grid.
Mary Anne kept monitoring those panels, and after the first week was up, realized they had produced nearly as much energy as they consumed.
In fact, she estimates that this summer, the 12-panel system will offset 80% of the home’s total energy use, slimming monthly utility bills to a few dollars a month.
If you’re considering going solar, check costs in your own area by clicking here.
The cost savings are reason enough to invest in solar energy, but the Hitts are doing something beyond that, too. They’re setting an example for sustainability in a region dominated by toxic coal production.
Steeped in tradition, the Historic District of Shepherdstown, West Virginia is actively preserved by the community that lives there. With permission granted by the city in April, the Hitts were able to do something quite revolutionary.
As Mary Anne told the Shepherdstown Chronicle:
“The historic character of the town is one of the reasons we like living here, and so we really respect those values; we respect the desire of the people in town to preserve that. And at the same time the world does change. We didn’t have electricity 200 years ago. We didn’t have telephones 200 years ago, and obviously the town has been able to adapt to change, so we are very hopeful that the town would see this as a really positive step forward.”
And it appears they have. The Hitts’ solar panels made it on the front page of the local newspaper, and the couple even held a “solar mixer” last week, where dozens of friends and neighbors gathered to learn about solar potential.
Talk about a solar success story!
Mary Anne and Nathaniel Hitt are inspiring their town to make better sustainable choices.
If you’ve got a solar success story of your own, big or small, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.
Photos via Shepherdstown Chronicle