Going Solar Despite Rural Difficulties: Case Study

Sarah and David had always been interested in going solar . Sarah says: I have always been interested in renewable energy. I had the conviction to go solar over 20 years ago, but I didn’t own a home at that time and moved around a lot without the financial resources to invest in solar installation.” So, when they were finally ready to go solar, they gave Third Sun a call.

Motivation for Going Solar

Once my husband and I realized that we were “settling down” and had enough saved to invest in home improvement, we started talking seriously about installing solar panels. When we realized that the federal incentives for home renewable energy systems were likely to be reduced, we decided to go for it before the incentives changed. My hope is that incentives from the state will increase if more people purchase from locally owned solar companies, and that the state incentives will eventually compensate for lower federal incentives.

We certainly hope for the same things that Sarah does. State and local solar incentives can serve a role in making solar accessible for more people, make up for the decreasing federal incentives, support local jobs. With their installation, they’re on the right track to reducing their carbon footprint and helping the climate.

What did they learn when shopping for solar?

Something Sarah and David learned when they started shopping for solar? That it is easier now than it was 20 years ago to get a full turnkey solar installation.

We couldn’t agree more. We’ve been in the business for 20 years and have seen the industry grow and change. Solar is in a much different place than it was just 20 years ago. More solar on more roofs everywhere is something we’re excited to see. But, as more solar installation companies pop up we encourage anyone shopping for solar to research and choose a reputable and long-standing solar partner. It’s more important now than ever!

Solar Growth Over the Years:

  • According to a recent Pew Research study,just 6% of U.S. homeowners say they have already installed solar panels at home. Another 46% say they have given serious thought to adding solar panels at their home in the past year.”
  • According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of 2019, the United States has 2 million solar installations- on homes, business, industrial buildings, and utility-scale solar installations. This reflects major growth in the solar sector in the U.S., which just 3 years ago reached 1 million solar installations. Additionally, the cumulative operating solar PV capacity is about 75 times more than what was installed at the end of 2008 (SEIA).

What did they like most about their solar purchase?

“We were able to work with Third Sun Solar to develop a customized solution for solar energy at our home that is simple to use. The team of people that installed the system are fellow community members that cared about doing the job right, and helped troubleshoot challenges related to the rural location.”

What Obstacles were there Installing Solar in a Rural Location?

Sarah and David’s solar project came with a few complications due to their site location.

  • Their home is in the woods and the home is shaded by trees
  • The installation site chosen was a barn in full sun, about 750 ft away from the home
  • There is a small stream separating the home from the desired solar location

After pulling in some additional teammates like Project Management for input, it was determined that the long trenching distance and stream could be easily managed. Third Sun would be able to install the proposed solar system on the roof of the barn to power the shaded home.

Despite the shade and difficult trenching situation, Sarah and David followed through with installing solar. They’re now the proud owners of a 12 kW solar array that will offset 90% of their annual electric usage.

[av_gallery ids=’6884,6885,6886′ style=’thumbnails’ preview_size=’portfolio’ crop_big_preview_thumbnail=’avia-gallery-big-crop-thumb’ thumb_size=’portfolio’ columns=’3′ imagelink=’lightbox’ lazyload=’avia_lazyload’ av_uid=’av-319m8z’ admin_preview_bg=”]

The Best Part

Third Sun Solar worked with Sarah and David in 2019 to create a custom solar system that will generate efficient renewable energy and power their home for years to come.

Sarah Says: The best part about having solar is that it reduces reliance on fossil fuels, thereby reducing the environmental impact of energy systems, and it supports jobs in the region that promote better quality of life for our community.

We were so glad to work with Sarah and David, who are committed to environment and community. Whether your property is residential, commercial, or agricultural, we want to help you to reduce your impact on the environment. Request a free quote to go solar like Sarah and David.

Solar Battery Backup Webinar Series

Solar Batteries

Power outages are unpredictable, but the dangers of power outages aren’t. Protect your home from the next power outage. Keep your lights on, phones charged, home offices running and food cold. The best way to protect your family from grid failure is to invest in a backup power solution. 

Each of us have our own goals- from reducing the amount of money we spend each month on energy to ensuring we have power when the grid goes down- solar energy systems & backup energy systems are designed with your needs and goals in mind. Read more about different types of grid-interactive solar systems here. 

Something on the minds of many individualis how to make sure they have secure energy for their homes in the case of a grid outage. By no means do we believe that the COVID-19 Pandemic indicates that there will be widespread grid failure. But, we do believe that there are plenty of other reasons for homeowners to consider clean, renewable energy and backup power at this moment in history 

Whether to prepare for a grid failure or just to build the feeling of resiliency – self-reliance can bring peace of mind to you and your family. Are there any other appliances in your home that have a return on their investment? That can give you the security of knowing you’ll have energy when the grid goes down?

Your home is only a few smart steps away from securing the benefits that backup power and solar energy has in store. Reach out to speak with a knowledgeable consultant today.

Types of backup power:

  • Tesla Powerwall
  • Backup Generators

Tesla Powerwall and standby generators don’t require a solar energy system to generate power. Powerwall can fill from solar, but it can also fill from the grid if you do not have solar. This allows it to function like a generator, providing energy to your home when your neighborhood grid is down. Both backup options come on automatically- whether you’re home or away. All within seconds of a power outage.


Warrantied for 10 years, Tesla Powerwall is made to charge, deplete, and recharge continually to keep a critical circuit of essential systems in your home up and running, practically no matter what. This means seamless backup power. With or without solar. Powerwall detects grid outages and automatically becomes your home’s main energy source. Through the Tesla App, you can manage your battery from anywhere. Powerwall receives free over-the air updates, providing new features and improved performance over time.

Backup Generators

Third Sun Solar is a certified Kohler installer. These standby generators run on propane or natural gas, and don’t require manual refueling. A benefit of a Kohler Generator is that there is no need for extension cords, as it’s hooked in with your homes electric panel. The power it delivers is high quality and won’t harm your electronics. A standby generator can power your whole home, including the hard-wired systems like AC, heat, sump pumps, well pumps, security systems and large home appliances.

Grid Tied Solar + Solar Batteries

Grid-tied solar systems with battery backup are ideal for anyone with unreliable power or anyone with appliances that need to operate when the grid is down or anyone. A solar energy system allows you to generate electricity right on your rooftop (or in a nearby field). These systems send excess energy into the grid for credits, pull energy from the grid when the solar system isn’t producing at night, and have backup batteries that store solar power to use in times of a utility outage.

This type of system ensures you have reliable access to electricity. And if the grid is down for a long time, a battery tied to a solar energy system will recharge using the energy you generate on site. Additionally, this type of system allows you to use more of the solar energy that you produce, minimizing your reliance on your utility, making your home truly self-reliant.

Learn from our Solar Professionals: Solar Backup 101 

Backup Battery Power for Resiliency 

While early solar technology required batteries, most modern systems are battery-free, depending on the utility grid for power at night and on cloudy days. The cost and reliability of today’s Lithium-Ion batteries are quickly changing that, as more and more solar customers are choosing to include backup power in their systems. Have you always wanted to learn more about Solar energy storage or the new Tesla Powerwall? Join Third Sun President, Geoff Greenfield for a deep dive into solar batteries. Geoff has lived 100% off-grid with a variety of battery systems, and recently installed a Tesla Powerwall, his “last battery bank ever”. 

Become Self-Reliant with Solar Energy: Emergency Backup Options 

How we can strengthen our homes and businesses and become self-reliant in times of crisis?  

In this video, Consultant David Zelasko discusses battery storage and generator options to add to solar energy systems, which allows homeowners to harness the sun and power themselves even when the sun isn’t shining, or gird is down. You will learn about: Tesla Powerwall, Other Solar Batteries, Home generator options.


Off-Grid Tesla Powerwall Experience  

Off-grid systems are ideal for individuals who live remotely and don’t have access to utility power. Systems designed this way use solar panels to charge a bank of batteries. Then, the batteries power your home at night, or when the solar PV system is not meeting the load demand. This is especially common during winter. With an off-grid system, energy conservation is important. Using energy-efficient appliances, reducing your energy consumption, managing your electric loads, and relying on a backup generator are all elements of an off-grid lifestyle. 

Learn from Third Sun President and co-founder, Geoff Greenfield about his experience going “off-grid” with his Tesla Powerwall.  

Get Started

Complete the form below to begin your free solar evaluation.