A recent solar tracker project for a home in the rural Midwest is demonstrating how solar can complement whole-home energy transformations, not just on the traditional electric side.
Three innovative AllEarth Solar Trackers are now powering the home of Bob and Amanda Montgomery in Sullivan, Illinois. This 16.8 kW (DC) solar project, with an expected generation of over 30,000 kWh per year, is projected to generate 100 percent of the Montgomery's annual electricity needs.
This may sound like a large residential system, and it is. In fact, the installed system is interconnected to Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative utility, making it the largest residential solar system in their territory and the region.
The project was installed by Tick Tock Energy, Inc., a solar installation company located in Effingham, Illinois. The reason for the large capacity system is after completing installation of the solar tracker project, the Montgomery's are now in the process of installing a geothermal heat pump, which will tap the earth’s energy to assist with the home’s heating and cooling. The enhanced production from the solar trackers provided the perfect pairing with the electric energy demand of geothermal heating and cooling.
And, with geothermal heating and cooling and solar power providing all of the electrical energy, the Montgomery family is both 100% renewable in their home energy use and won't be paying a utility bill--to anyone!
This is all part of the growing movement of whole home energy transformations that utilize solar to cover a home's thermal energy use. Air source heat pumps, geothermal, and other thermal technologies are becoming more effective, and cost effective, for these types of net zero initiatives by homeowners.
Speaking about the projects, President of Eric Pals of Tick Tock Energy said, "We were thrilled to install three innovative, American-made solar trackers for this project. The trackers are located next to the Montgomery’s home in a field of prairie grass putting the abundant sunshine we receive to great use. With geothermal, the Montgomery’s are transitioning to an all-electric home which they’ll be able to power with electricity generated on-site from the sun."
He noted that the family reduced its utility use with energy-efficiency, is now producing their own energy from the sun, and is now managing energy use with on-going monitoring.
Our own David Blittersdorf, who runs air source heat pumps powered by solar in his own home, added that "this is exactly the type of whole-home energy transformations we hope to see the enhanced output of our tracker used for. We love to see homes that can be net zero in their off-site energy use."