Using an free online tool I was able to estimate and optimize the energy usage of my new home to design in components and systems that will be a long term solution in my retirement years.

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The house was modeled using the Department Of Energy’s free Building Energy Optimization Tool (BEopt) which allowed me to size the array on a new build without usage date. System also includes 20 KWh of battery backup, whole house transfer switch, and propane backup generator.

Other Benefits:

Using the BEopt tool also allowed me to make smart energy choices on the design of the energy related components of the house including appliances. This helped me to reduce the size of the array.

Maintenance Requirements:

No planned maintenance costs.

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

Built with optimized components to reduces energy requirements including thicker walls filled with cellulose insulation, larger south facing windows, minimizing north facing windows, multi-zone mini split heat and AC, heat pump water heater, heat pump dryer, Induction cooking, automated lighting,

My Motivation:

This is my retirement home and I wanted to design a solution that is net zero energy usage without extreme building methods. This will help me control my expenses now and in the future.


A solar system is not as complicated as they may seem up front, especially using an inverter such as the Sol-Ark 15K where all the components are in one fully integrated box. It will require a significant amount of research and effort but the cost saving are worth it. It did take some explanation to get my electrician to do the main power in and out of the inverter but the box is laid out in a way to make sense to them. I used Greenlancer to do the submittal documents which ended up being a great choice. The drawings gave details I needed in many steps along the way.

Experience with Installer:

I bid this out to several installers but could not justify the price without doing this myself.

Additional Notes:

Since this is a new build I had the roofers install the mounts on the roof to be sure not to void my warranty. They were not thrilled to do it but reluctantly agreed.

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