Solar Case Study: A Legacy of Environmental Leadership

Bruce and Hylie Voss have been long term environmental advocates. When they moved to Athens three years ago, they had the opportunity to do a solar project on their home. They installed solar in January of 2019 and have been harnessing the sun’s solar energy ever since.

Why Solar?

Hylie’s parents, Mary Anne and Don Flournoy have been longtime Third Sun customers, supporters, and advocates. The Flournoys were in the first wave of Third Sun Solar’s customers and had solar installed on their home in 2006. For Bruce and Hylie, it seemed natural to continue that legacy. When it was time to build their home, they wanted to incorporate solar into the construction process from the ground up.

Why Now?

Three years ago, the Voss’s moved to Athens from Texas. The environmental momentum in Athens is different than Texas. Bruce says: “It was great to come into a community that was aggressively promoting science and we felt that we needed to do our part.”

Additionally, The Voss’s were excited by the sleek technology, which has improved in performance and aesthetics since Third Sun’s early installations. The panels on their home are matte black and more subtle and efficient than the original panels that Hylie’s parents had installed back in 2006.

What did they learn?

As a new build project, they found benefits in starting conversations with Third Sun in the building phase. They were able to ensure they had enough roof space and a plan for where the lines would go. They worked with Athens based Bart Kasler Construction, who was instrumental in helping them to make sure they were building with the panels in mind.

Even with the pre-planning, the solar panels weren’t put on for 6 months. Why? It was a new house so they wanted to carefully consider what their energy use would look like to determine the size of the system. The data gathered during those 6 months proved to be an accurate sample of their annual energy usage. A little over a year later, the system is producing exactly as predicted. Their Solar Consultant, Jamey Jones, has been with Third Sun for 12 years and has lots of experience sizing solar energy systems for existing homes and new build projects.

What has been the best part?

Bruce said: “Anyone who comes to our home often asks about the panels – is the system doing what you want them to do?” They are excited to share information and their journey with others.

What obstacles do others face when considering solar?

Solar is still a long-term payback and there aren’t immediate returns on the investment. If you aren’t going to be a long-term resident in one place, solar may not make as much sense for you. However, if you plan to be living for a long time in one place – both the financial and environmental payback make going solar an easy choice.

Like Third Sun, the Voss’s feel that the need to transition to a clean energy economy is vital. Any step our community members can take in that direction is important.

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