Financing the photovoltaic system
Total system cost before incentives
l 12 Evergreen Solar ES-180B solar panels $7,942.96
l Solectria inverter $2,129.48
l DPW Solar pole-mount racks $1,659.15
l Two 21-inch-tall, 6-inch-diameter
schedule 80 galvanized steel poles
l Labor and materials*
l Tennessee Valley Authority
cash back rebate ($500.00)
l Federal tax credit (with 30% cap) ($2,000.00)
Total after incentives $11,202.47
*The Wansings did most of the installation work themselves,
except for the electrical connections.
With a little help from friends, the Wansings installed a 2.16-kilowatt PV system in December 2007.
use when the weather cooperated. A screening
of the documentary “Kilowatt Ours,” about the
dangers of coal-generated electricity, enticed
us to join the Tennessee Valley Authority’s
(TVA’s) Green Power Switch program. Each
block of green power we purchase for $4 represents 150 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy that the utility pledges to add to its power
mix. We also started recycling. Ashland City
doesn’t have curbside pickup, so we have to
take our recycling to Nashville. We typically
fill four 18-gallon recycling bins per month.
As a result, our trash has dwindled to less than
half a bag weekly.
After a year in our new home, we broke
ground on an organic vegetable garden. We
began composting food scraps and lawn and
garden waste to create fertilizer for the garden
and flowers. The compost has been a most beneficial addition to our heavy clay soils. We set
up rain barrels to reduce the runoff from our
house and for use in watering the garden. In
2006, we moved to fertilizing only with compost or organic fertilizer. Ours is the greenest
lawn in the neighborhood, and we like knowing that the compost used to fertilize our vegetables no longer includes the chemicals we
once applied to our yard.
To eliminate some of the pollution caused
by mowing and to reduce runoff from our property during storms, we’ve planted wildflowers.
When we can’t get our vegetables from the garden, we buy organic food, and we carry reusable
cloth shopping bags everywhere we go.
unfinished basement. We salvaged some new-
looking carpet tiles from an office building that
was being renovated and installed them over
our unfinished concrete floor. To maintain
access to the plumbing and electrical systems,
we used corrugated metal in the ceiling. That
proved smart when our icemaker line sprung a
leak while we were on vacation. We were able
to pull the metal off of the basement ceiling,
wipe it off, let the subfloor dry and reinstall.
The finishing touch to the basement was clos-
ing in our stairs, which were the original framed
open risers and 2- by 12-inch (5- by 30-cm)
steps. We used Dow Wood Stalk, a compressed
wheat straw composite board produced with
glues containing no added formaldehyde. A
low-VOC polyurethane coating gave the new
stairs a golden finish.
Choosing sustainable Upgrades
When it came time to add a home office in
2006, we decided to locate it in a portion of our
In 2006, the Wansings moved to fertilizing only with compost or organic fertilizer. Theirs is the greenest
lawn in the neighborhood, and they like kno wing that the compost used to fertilize vegetables no longer
includes the chemicals they once applied to their yard.