James Madison University

2017 Harrisonburg-Rockingham Solar Tour
October 21st, 2017


LOGO: ASES National Solar TourThe Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in and across North America -- for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. 

This FREE annual event shows you real-life examples of how your neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.  The tour showcases the solar technologies your neighbors are using to 1) drastically reduce monthly energy bills, 2) reduce harmful carbon emissions, and 3) enjoy rich tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values.

Sponsored by:

Welcome Event

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM 
Center for Wind Energy offices, 1401 Technology Drive, Harrisonburg

Reception & Door Prizes

3:00PM – 5:00 PM
Center for Wind Energy offices, 1401 Technology Drive, Harrisonburg

Tour Locations

Tours available from 10a-3p unless otherwise noted.

Bechtel Residence

  • 12.6 kW
  • Roof-mounted
  • Installed February 2015
  • Installed by Sigora Solar
  • Provides whole house electrical requirement
  • We also have 4 bee hives to support local bee populations.
  • We also do verni-composting, which is maintaining a worm farm to compost kitchen waste.
  • We are tracking the cost and savings of our solar system in a spreadsheet that we will be happy to share with tour guests, and we project the solar system will have paid for itself in 5 years.


Benevento Residence

  • 3 kW with ten panels
  • Mounted on a 30' x 30' grape arbor
  • Installed Fall 2016
  • It covers about 80% of our electrical needs. We heat our home with wood, primarily discarded waste wood. Our home is cooled by good insulation, and a large Black Walnut located on the south side of the house.
  • Our family built the arbor and installed the solar panels with the help of a friend.
  • Our home is 100 years old and retrofitted for energy efficiency. We have permaculture designed food production gardens, edible fence, small food forest (including pawpaws, asian persimmons, figs, passion fruit, apples, pears,and Kiwi), roof water catchment, mini greenhouse, solar food dryers, composting, and backyard chickens. We chose to be located near the downtown to be able to bike and walk to the things we need more easily.


Davis Residence

  • 6.84 kW solar system with 24 panels
  • Rooftop on our utility shed
  • Installed May 2016
  • Installed bv Independent Solar Solutions
  • It powers our house, garage and shed; our electricity bills have been just the taxes and fees we owe every month; only one time in the last year did we have any "electricity use" to pay.
  • We installed skylights and two solar tubes when we built our ranch home in 2007. Seeing how well the solar tubes did in lighting our bathrooms during the daytime encouraged us go explore more solar. We also have a large garden and raise many of our own vegetables we use through the winter: potatoes, corn, green beans, pickles, tomatoes, onions. 
  • With the solar tax credit, it was far more affordable than we ever dreamed. My husband loves checking the solar production which he does religiously every day. 
  • We did this more for future generations than for our own--hoping whoever owns our home in the future will benefit and love the solar installation. 
  • The biggest drawback is not being able to brush snow off in the winter. For that reason, perhaps a ground installation would be nice. 
  • I've blogged about our installation
    See their blog about their installation here: https://findingharmonyblog.com/2016/09/06/how-to-go-solar-our-experience/

Photo by Brian Sinclair

Hendren Residence

  • 9.34 kW system, 39 Enphase panels (microinverters)
  • Installed 2012
  • Installed by Matthew Huffman, Alt Energy
  • Unobstructed roof, but oriented to east. Approximately 12% “penalty” compared to ideal.
  • Produces about 2/3 of our energy.
  • This is a large house 43 years old, lots of glass, beautiful views but not good passive solar design at all. We run a hot tub all winter and swimming pool all summer. We cook and heat with electricity. In 2012, we did several things to improve the envelope, including a pressure door test, adding roof insulation, insulating the crawl space, and replacing selected windows and sliding glass doors, also replaced an old 7-SEER heat pump with a 23-SEER model, and installed a heat-pump water heater. Perhaps the cheapest and most important modification was judicious caulking and draft sealing throughout the house. Although the overall performance is not as good as I could expect from good passive design and a contemporary building envelope, it has made a huge difference. Learned a lot in the process, and happy to share it.


Henriksen Residence

  • 8.84 kW system (designed to be 85% of usage)
  • 31 panels rated at 285 Watts per panel (17% efficiency, monocrystalline)
  • Installation completed on Sept. 15, 2016
  • Installed by Sigora Solar
  • Payback period about 12 years
  • Eligible for SRECs and Federal Tax Credit of 30% of system cost

Hoover Residence

  • 9.8 kW,  36 275 watt panels
  • Roof top mounted on a 15 degree of true south orientation
  • Installed September 2015  by Sigora Solar
  • Installed to reduce costs of living, carbon footprint and potentially an electric car
  • The house was newly constructed in 2012 using passive solar for about 1/2 of our heating plus radiant in a stained concrete floor and a massive masonry wood fired heater.   Use of stone from excavation for terraces, several raised beds and other garden space.  A place for our retirement and yet versatile to host large groups.


Leaman Residence

  • 7.2 kW (24-300watt panels)
  • Rooftop
  • Date of installation: May 2017
  • Installer: Beck Builders
  • 100% of household energy, plus EV charging
  • Passive solar features (trombe walls), geothermal
  • Objective to be carbon-neutral (or positive) for all housing & transport


Leinbach Residence

  • 18 Q cell, 330 watt, PV panels for a total output of 5.94 kW
  • Roof mounted system
  • Installed May 2017
  • Installed by Altenergy
  • Used for residential use, heating and cooling.
  • We have a super insulated, 2 bedrooms, 1050 square foot house all on one level (except for a storage room and attic in an upstairs).  It's our retirement home
  • So far we have a surplus of power generated over power used.  HEC has delivered to us 1117 kwh and has received from us 1704 kwh.  We'll see how that balances out in the winter heating season since this is our first year.


Lind Residence

  • System capacity:  10 panels, each rated @ 3.15 kW
  • Rooftop installation
  • Installation date:  Feb. 24, 2015
  • Installed by Sigora Solar
  • Application is to provide 48% of our home’s electrical needs.  Size of roof limited us to 10 panels.
  • Our home is total electric, no gas, no oil.  Our electrical power drives our geothermal heating and cooling, lights, hot water, cooking & refrigeration, and wood shop.
  • Our system over a period of approximately 3 years has generated 12.2 MWh
  • Below are data showing month by month one year our electrical costs and the monthly average and yearly total for July to June, 2016 - 2017.
  • Our average monthly electrical cost was $33.82 for the last 12 months.


Loving Residence

  • 7.5 kW, 28 panels
  • Ground-mounted
  • Installation completed and operational Oct 1 2012
  • Installed by Sigora Solar
  • All electricity provided for all-electric home with excess capacity for future EV purchase
  • Home heating system installed 1996 is Geo-thermal; house is post and beam and is well insulated; solar system faces due south
  • Multiple reasons for going solar; doing so has greatly expanded my energy awareness and has resulted in lower energy usage; experience led me to learn about Virginia’s solar policies and laws and to advocacy for more solar in Virginia; participated in and/or led 4 solar co-ops in Central Shenandoah Valley between 2014 and 2017.


Nolde Residence

  • 4.48 kW system - 16 Q-CELLS Q-PEAK G3 280 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Modules Appropriately Sized Solar Edge Inverter and D.C. Power Optimizers
  • Roof mounted system
  • Installed January 2016
  • My system was designed to provide enough electricity to reduce my annual electric bill by approximately one third

Rissmeyer Residence

  • We have 24 panels installed on the roof of an outbuilding, and the solar--generated electricity goes to the main house
  • We began generating solar power in September, 2015, as part of the Harrisonburg--Rockingham coop, with Sigora Solar being the contractor.
  • Saved approximately 50% from my pre--solar days.
  • We use the energy strictly for routine purposes, no electric cars, etc.  We send surplus power to the grid, but will consider battery storage as that technology advances.


Sawin Residence

  • 7.29 kW,  27 panels
  • Roof-mounted system with south exposure
  • Installed March 2016
  • Installed by Independent Solar Solutions LLC
  • System used for general electric usage
  • Also on the South roof are 2 panels that create heat for domestic hot water. 
  • We own 2 Prius cars
  • Our last 3 electric bills have been negative.

Spiller Residence

  • 7.84 kW  (28 panels)
  • Roof mounted  (one facing SE, about 120 degrees and one facing SW, about 210 degrees)
  • Installed July
  • Installed by Independent Solar Solutions, www.i-solarsolutions.com 
  • Grid connected to net meter
  • First year solar electric production = 11.212 MWh vs. 12.080 recent year consumption so our array produces roughly 93% of our normal electric consumption.
  • Cost recovery may take 12 years, but when I compare first year electric bill savings to net system cost (after tax credit) my return on investment is about 7%, which is much better than a savings account.

Teel Residence

  • 4.4 kW (14 panels, 315 watts each)
  • Rooftop mounted on an outbuilding specifically designed so it faced south at a good angle for the panels.
  • Date of installation: February 16, 2015
  • Installer: Sigora Solar
  • Grid tie system, provides energy for the house and the surplus goes to the grid.  We produce substantially more electricity than we use.
  • The house is straw-bale, R48 insulation, aligned south.  We have 6, 4x10 foot solar thermal panel to heat water and use it for in floor heating and all our hot water needs.  Provides about 80% if that energy, with liquid propane back up.  We also have a Tulikivi (Finish) style fireplace that is our primary heat on very cold days.  We do not use air conditioning.  Instead we open windows at night and close them on hot days to keep the house cool.
  • If you anticipate buying an electric vehicle someday, oversize your system to accommodate the demand.


Wyse Residence

  • 4.5 kW
  • Roof mounted
  • Installed November 2012
  • Installed by Hugh Stoll and Ben WyseWe mostly ride bikes, but our car is an old Honda Civic with an ICE engine, no plugging that gas hog in.  The solar energy is consumed by my family of 5 and my business, which runs out of our basement.
  • Our home is unusual in that it is an affordable example of new construction that is energy efficient.  So many new "green" houses are out of reach financially for average people. 
  • Our house, which is about 1700 square feet (500 for shop, 1200 for residential space), cost less than $150,000.  While our 4.5KW system falls a bit short of meeting all our needs, it gets close and we have an all-electric house. 
  • Our heat is very inefficient resistance heat, which uses a ton of electricity compared to a heat pump.  Resistance heat, however, has far less embedded energy and should have a far superior service life in comparison to a heat pump.  And a radiant heat system, powered by a water heater, can be designed and installed by someone with basic skills and also maintained, if needed, by the end user.  No contractor or fancy equipment needed.

Yoder Residence

  • 7.5 kW, 24 panels, single inverter
  • Roof mount, system
  • Installed in 2015
  • Installed by Sigora Solar
  • The house is insulated concrete, very efficient, with foam attic, electric heat pump, and electric hot water
  • Built the house 5 years ago, south facing for solar
  • 90% of all energy from solar, 3 houses in a row - solar and hot water

For more information about the event, please contact Remy Pangle at panglerm@jmu.edu or 540.568.8768.