Elyce Hues Case Study

Elyce Hues lives in Silverton and is entusiastic about sustainable living. She has embarked on a journey to explore Solar and Energy Efficenency Upgrades on a personal level. This is the way you really learn; personal experience. Walk along with her as she walks the walk.

In the Silverton Ice Storm 2021, we watched three Oregon white oaks fall, right outside our window. Immediately after patching the broken water main from the first one, we had stepped back to breathe a sigh of relief, only to watch the next tree fall. The third tree went down early the next morning and uprooted every service line to the house: gas, electricity, internet, and the water main a second time. The house was unoccupiable for over a month; my two daughters and I felt like veritable climate refugees, living for that time in a single hotel room. Maybe that’s too dramatic, but we felt it. Still, I couldn’t miss the potential silver lining: did this mean I could now get solar PV (photovoltaic) panels on my roof?

I started clicking on ads for solar. I got calls from out-of-town companies who told me I didn’t qualify, based on the pre-storm satellite imagery (“I don’t even see a roof!”). I began searching locally; a Salem company came out and said I could do it, if I removed four more trees. Then I found Silverton-based Pure Energy; their simulation suggested that I could get enough sunlight without taking down any more trees. Pure Energy also taught me about the actual panel options - the different materials and technologies used, as well as differences in durability, performance, and longevity. We even went over end-of-life recycling options for the panels.

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What began as a pursuit of rooftop solar quickly becomes a forced confrontation with the aging systems of a mid-century home. Carrying this 1960’s house into the present century proves ambitious and spendy. As for the initial aim, purchasing PV panels, the story takes a surprising and exciting turn!

In pursuit of rooftop solar for a 1960’s home nestled within an oak and fir grove, this homeowner goes on a discovery ride.