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Scattered Sundays

About two weeks ago, someone from our solar installing company came out to do a “hand-off”. He walked us through maintenance, warranty info, and answered all our questions. I understood about 12% of the tech info he shared, but he was super patient with our lack of knowledge.

I had gone into this thinking that our “Super Bowl” of power generation would be from May-early October, and the tech confirmed that. But he dropped a factoid that shocked me. As much as 60-70% of our power generation for THE YEAR will take place in those four months. Bananas!

We’ve had a lot of questions about our experience here and on Instagram. I’m going to do my best here to share how it worked for us, and other things that you should consider. Solar isn’t going to be for everyone, and details vary around the country, but it could be a great fit for many people.

Welcome to my Ted Talk on “So, You’re Thinking About Getting Solar”

Here is the process that we followed. First, I emailed some local companies asking about their process/waitlist/lead time. Second, they had me email them our physical address as well as a copy of our power bill showing usage for the last 12 months.

They used Google Earth to look at our roof, surrounding treeline, etc., to estimate if we would be good candidates for solar. They then provided us with an estimate of how many panels we would need and where they’d go on the roof and the total cost including the estimated federal tax rebate.

Oh, and they also gave us an estimate of how long it would take before the system paid for itself/broke even. This was important for us to figure out if the investment was worth it.

Once we marinated on the idea for a bit, we selected a company that we liked and they came out, climbed on our roof, and took light readings. Based on that, they revised the placement of where the panels would be placed.

From what I understand, most companies will try to create a system for you that will generate 90-100% of your annual power needs. Our local power company does not buy back excess generation, so if we produce more than we need annually, it’s essentially a “gift” to the power company.

Initially, our plan was to save up for our panels so that we could pay for them in cash. But with interest rates going up, plus the supply chain being wonky, we thought that it would be more advantageous for us to start this process sooner rather than later.

The company we worked with recommended a local credit union that issues loans specifically for solar. It was a very easy process and everything was handled online. They offered loans anywhere from 1 to 15 years.

Solar is not cheap and seems out of reach for many families. I think that the industry is doing a real disservice to people by not explaining this next part to everyone. In most cases, if you were to choose a 10-15 year loan for the panels, the monthly loan payment would basically replace your monthly power payment.

Said another way, many people could essentially replace their power bill with a solar loan payment. For most people, a monthly power payment is a forever thing. If done correctly, the solar panels will pay for themselves before the loan is due. After that, (in most cases) it’s essentially free.

Our panels are estimated to pay for themselves in about 10 years and come with a 25-year warranty. The warranty includes (free) replacement if needed, drive time for the techs, troubleshooting, monitoring, and maintenance.

Our system is set up for net metering. This means that during the day, our panels are generating power and sending it to the grid. And when the sun goes down, we’re using power from the grid.

We do not have a battery system, and if the power goes out, we’re in the same boat as everyone else. Battery systems can run you $30-45k in addition to the cost of the panels. Hard pass!!

From May thru early October, our panels will be generating much more than we are using. The value of all that extra energy is “banked” in our account. When the days get shorter and we produce less, we start to draw from that surplus.

All things considered, if everything goes correctly, we will not send a dime to our power company going forward. Fingers crossed! A friend of mine got solar a few years ago and lives in a climate where they use AC a lot. Annually they still owe about $600 a year, but that’s a huge decrease from what they used to pay for power.

Our system went fully online on April 9th. We generated 866.4 kWh in April, despite it being the coldest and third grossest April on record in Seattle in the last 45 years. Unsubscribe!

2 photos showing solar output for solar panels

Financial things to consider/questions to ask:

  1. As of now, the federal tax credit for solar expires in 2024. I think it should be extended, but oddly enough, I don’t make laws.
  2. Does your state have a state tax credit? Washington no longer does. And we don’t have a state income tax so we can’t write it off.
  3. Does your local power company offer a rebate? Do they offer incentives? Will they “buy-back” excess kWh that have been generated? If they buy back the excess, you may get a check each year for what you produced over what you used.
  4. Can they design the system in a way that allows you to expand in the future if needed without major reconfiguration of the system? In our case, we can add up to five more panels without them needing to make any changes to the boxes, monitoring control panels, etc. This is important if for some reason our energy needs change, like getting an electric vehicle, more people being added to the house (hell no), or we decide to start a crypto generating farm. You know, ’cause that’s likely.

I’m fairly certain that is all I know so far about solar. But, if you have any questions or need details elaborated, please drop a note in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

a grid of photos of a little boy.
You leave your phone unattended for 30 seconds…

In the Garden This Week

This is officially the stupidest springs in the history of spring. What in the world is going on?! It’s cold (we had frost this week!!!), grey, gloomy, and so windy. Last Mother’s Day I was out walking in shorts and a tank. This Mother’s Day I was still wearing two layers on my walk.

Listen weather, I understand you’re having big feelings right now, but I have a garden that needs some sun and heat, and some solar panels that want to be generating a crap ton of excess energy to bank for winter. Take a deep breath and get your ish together.

Our lettuce is coming along nicely but SLOWLY due to the lack of heat. Even with a plastic row tunnel, it’s limping along at a snail’s pace. The other seeds I planted are just as confused as the rest of us and have barely sprouted.

I usually plant the sun worshipers (tomatoes, cukes, green beans) on Mother’s Day or when there are 7 days of nighttime temps that are 50F or above. Nope, we’re still rocking 38F-43F for the next 10 days. Rude.

Despite the cold temps, the new strawberry plants are doing well. I see some flowers on the plants, but no baby berries yet. Usually, we’re picking strawberries by late May, but I don’t see that happening this year!

Between replanting the strawberry bed and the cold temps, it’s going to be a berry sad strawberry season. No, YOU SHUT UP.

pink flowers on a ground.


If you’ve previously listened to the podcast, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill (I recommended it months ago), the series released a bonus episode this week on the writing of the deeply poignant theme song from the podcast.

They interview the lead singer of the band who wrote the song after leaving Mars Hill Church. The singer and the host discuss how this song has now tied the band to the toxicity of Mark Driscoll. It’s a fascinating discussion.

What I’m reading this week

I was able to finish Truly Madly Guilty and I really enjoyed it! Liane Moriarty is really really good at writing about marriage. One of my favorite books, What Alice Forgot, is a prime example of that and this book is as well.

I’m back at it with Never by Ken Follet. I’m sure I’ll have an update on it in 2023.


Christine left this five-star review on our Strawberry Waffles {Pin this recipe}:

I made a halved version of these waffles last week because I had a small volume of buttermilk to use up and a new box of strawberries. They were gone before they had even cooled down enough to not burn the roofs of our mouths. I made them again this week because we all wanted more. And it won’t be long before I make them again. Do they freeze well? Couldn’t tell you. Two adults and one 8 year finished off everything over the course of a long, lazy morning. 

Strawberry waffles topped with sliced strawberries and whipped cream


No Churn Peanut Butter Ice CreamHomemade no-churn Peanut Butter Ice Cream is an easy and creamy recipe that you’ll want to make over and over again. Four ingredients and just five minutes of hands-on time for an easy and delicious dessert. {Pin this recipe}

a grey bowl with peanut butter ice cream on a wooden board with a spoon.

Cucumber Mint WaterThis refreshing Cucumber Mint Water is so delicious and is made without any added sweeteners. Perfect for parties, barbecues, or for daily hydration, this healthy drink has amazing benefits and a great flavor. {Pin this recipe}

2 glasses and a pitcher full of cucumber mint water.

Banana Protein BallsThese healthy no-bake Banana Protein Balls are so tasty! These easy snacks are loaded with dates, cashews, and dried bananas. Mini chocolate chips are an optional but delicious addition. {Pin this recipe}

a blue dish with 8 banana protein balls on a wooden platter.


  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! On, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  2. Garlic Butter Rice – so easy and so comforting! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Orange Chicken – SO crispy, SO tasty, and SO easy! {Pin this recipe}
  4. Homemade Pizza Rolls – freezer-friendly too! Basically, I think everything should be frozen. {Pin this recipe}
  5. How to Freeze Spinach – I can smell spring in the air when this post starts climbing the ranks! {Pin this tutorial}


Monday:: Testing a new recipe that has been on the list for weeks but keeps getting bumped because…life.

Tuesday:: A new air fryer recipe that I need to test that also keeps getting bumped. Rude.

Wednesday:: Take out from a local small business on our way home from Jack’s cross country meet.

Thursday:: Troy is making something.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Air Fryer Taquitos, Garlic Butter Rice (I have some in the freezer), and salad.

Sunday:: TBD. Maybe a bonus movie night because I’m usually over everyone and everything by Sunday night.

What are you having this week?

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Thank you for sharing here on and Instagram about your solar power journey! Our roof is 18 years old and solar is on my mind after (or with) a new roof in the next 5 – 10 years.

  2. Most likely you will have to pay a Monthly electrical connection fee. Where I live it is $25 dollars a month. The panels are still very much worth it, especially now that electrical prices have been going up.

    • It definitely depends on the jurisdiction/utility. My BIL lives in South Carolina and their incentives are much better than ours, simply because their utility company has gotten in trouble for not having enough renewable energy options.

      Our first bill did not have a connection fee and the sample bill the solar company gave us that walked us through what the bill would look like did NOT include a connection fee. Only time will tell but it is very much dependent on where you live/who your energy company is.

  3. I am very interested in solar panels but we live in the Northeast where it is normally cloudy and dreary 85% of the time. My one question I do have for you is, did they discuss with you what would happen if you need a new roof or shingle repairs? Do they have to dismantle everything in order for the roof to be replaced? I did actually invest in a new hybrid vehicle and I love it!

    • Yes, they did and I should have included that in the post. Basically as of now, it’s about $2-3k for them to remove, store, and reinstall them if we need a new roof.

      We have about 20 years left on our roof. A friend of ours wants panels but has 6-10 years left on their roof and it just isn’t worth it until that is replaced.

      Tell me what car you got! I’m fascinated with these things.

      • I ended up getting a Hyundai TucsonHybrid- I absolutely love it! It runs on electricity when driving in stop/go traffic(city driving) and when stopped at traffic lights. On the highway it alternates between gas and electric as the battery self charges while driving. Overall I am averaging about 30 mpg on highway and 40 mpg in ‘city driving’ – The vehicle is not completely broken in yet so I am assuming those numbers will increase with time.

      • That’s fantastic!! Congrats. 🙂

        I saw a few plug-in hybrid minivans recently and I hope more and more will be coming out. Not that I want a minivan but that they fill a need for so many families.

  4. I’m gonna need to make taquitos now!  I love them so . . .  Also, thanks for sharing your experience with getting solar panels.  I think that’s so great that you’re making electricity that way!  We have had solar panels for a number of years now and starting to face some maintenance on them, but so glad we got them for the sake of our planet!