Sarah and Kiril minimized the size and cost of the PV system by
installing energy-efficient appliances and conserving energy as
much as possible. (As this May photo reveals, they’re expecting
their first child this summer.)
■ Learn what incentives are available in your location:
Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy,
■ Estimate system size and cost for a solar electric or
solar water-/space-heating system, and find a solar pro:
■ Calculate system size for your photovoltaic system: PV
■ Tour solar buildings in your neighborhood: ASES National
Solar Tour, nationalsolartour.org
■ Find an American Solar Energy Society chapter for local
incentives. Even if the utility raised our rates 5 percent annually,
because our demand is so small, it would still take many years for us
to recoup our investment costs. The way we see it, though, the price
stability and health, environmental and security benefits of solar far
exceed any utility bill payback.
Just as a solar system can increase the resale value of a home, our
system is likely to increase the resale value of our condo. We have
made several other eco-friendly improvements to our unit and hope
that we can market it as a green condo when the time comes to sell.
Creating a Solar Legacy
My husband, Kiril Lozanov, works in the wind energy industry, and
I work in the solar industry. (Our slightly different surnames follow
the Bulgarian tradition.) So it seems fitting that we would ask for a
solar system as a collective wedding present. One of our objectives in
doing so was to share with the people in our lives the clean, healthy
world we value and wish to support through our lifestyle. The wedding reception and gift registry were an ideal way to share this vision
with our closest friends and family.
We created a wedding registry through a blog site where we
described the solar system in detail. This was also a great opportunity to educate our 75 guests on an application of solar energy. The
majority of our guests were excited to contribute to this gift.
For many people, solar energy is an exciting technology that they
read about yet have little personal experience with. We enjoy showing our solar system to visitors and demonstrating that what may seem
a futuristic technology is available and easy to live with right now.
It’s important for public knowledge to increase about solar energy, and I do all that I can to assist in this. The American Solar Energy Society organizes a National Solar Tour of solar homes each year,
and I plan to have my home on the tour. (Find dates and locations
at nationalsolartour.org). I volunteer for my local ASES chapter, the
Illinois Solar Energy Association ( illinoissolar.org), as well as the nonprofit Climate Cycle. Climate Cycle organizes bike rides to raise funds
and awareness about climate change ( climatecycle.org). The first ride
will take place in Chicago in October, with the proceeds used to
install solar systems in schools.
Although I believe solar technology will mature significantly in the
decades to come, I’m excited to be able to tap into this vast energy
source now. I like coming home to see how much energy the system
generated throughout the day and knowing that I’m part of the
renewable energy solution. ●
Sarah Lozanova ( email@example.com) is a renewable energy
specialist at Solar Service Inc. in Niles, Ill. She is the editor of the award-winning Illinois Solar Energy Association newsletter, Heliographs, and
publishes a weekly article on renewable energy for Green Options Media.
She also serves on the board of Trees Across the Miles, an urban reforesta-tion organization. Lozanova earned an MBA in sustainable management
from the Presidio School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in