Located in Ann Arbor’s Old West Side Historic District, Matt and Kelly Grocoff’s home is America’s oldest and Michigan’s first net-zero energy home, that is, it annually produces more energy than the residents consume. Matt Grocoff, Esq. LEED, is host of Greenovation.TV, contributor to the Environment Report on public radio and is the green renovation expert for Old House Web. He is a net-zero energy consultant and one of the most respectedadvocates and authorities on green renovations for existing homes.Grocoff has a Mission Zero goal to eliminate the negative environmentalimpact of every home in America.
When the Grocoffs bought the 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 110-year-oldFolk-Victorian home, it featured drafty old windows, zero insulation and a half-century-old furnace. After remodeling the interior and replacing the windows, Grocoff had long-time Michigan installer Mechanical Energy Systems (MES) install an 8.1kW solar energy system.
As the house has only 550 sq. ft. of roof space (fortunately with aperfect roof angle for a solar array), maximizing space for the arraywas very important. Grocoff chose SunPower 225 Signature Black panelsand Enphase M210 microinverters to gain the most energy harvest from his solar system.
Grocoff has this to say about using Enphase: “Enphase provides thegreatest output with my constrained roof space and a sometimes grayMichigan climate. I use Enlighten to closely monitor and manage my solar power generation to make sure I’m getting full performance. Enlightenmonitoring also is essential for allowing anyone to view our system andprove that net zero is possible in a home of any age.”
Daren Griffith, sales manager and solar designer for MES, comments,“Even with up to six inches of snow, the microinverters can pull five to 25 watts with adequate sun. That can generate enough heat to melt thesnow – a profound difference versus a single-inverter configuration’sperformance.” Griffith also said that he’s seen 25 to 35 percent higherproduction than expected thanks to the Enphase solution, which he alsocredits for helping the solar panels reach their rated capacity of 207.1 watts even on some winter days.