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Solar Case Study – Don & Jackie Grissom

Avatar for Ben Zientara
Written by
Published on 11/04/2014
Updated 11/05/2014


Don Grissom and his wife, Jackie, wanted to be sure they’d control their own home when they moved in. Now they’re controlling their costs with solar power. Don is very happy with his solar array; he’s working to create a smaller version just for his music studio, which is a separate building. When completed, he believes it will be the first music studio to produce albums using entirely only solar power!

If you ever speak to someone who’s retired, one subject that frequently arises is cost certainty. When you are on a fixed income, knowing how much will be going out the door in terms of your bills helps promote peace of mind and makes it easier to enjoy the rest earned after years of working.

While it’s not possible to lock in every expense, Don and Jackie Grissom knew that if they installed solar power on their home in Louisiana, they’d have at least one bill under their control. Taking advantage of his severance package, Don used some of it to cover the cost of two installations, which were put up in 2009 and 2010. After paying the full amount to the installer, they were able to get about half of the expense back in Federal tax credits and other rebates.

The decision to go solar was a “no brainer” for Don–as a person with a background in electronics, he knew exactly what he was getting into when he took the solar plunge. It didn’t hurt that Jackie’s nephew had already installed solar panels, though he went a different direction, with only 12 panels and an off-grid, battery system. It did not keep things charged to Don’s satisfaction, so he wanted to make sure they had a larger, grid-tied system. Unusually lucky on their first try, the Grissoms used the first person they contacted to install their solar array. “We contacted him, felt really comfortable with him and what he was doing, so we went ahead with him.” We asked if there’d been any issues in the years since they had the installation completed and Don told me firmly, “None whatsoever.”

On a good day, Don says they get 40kW of energy off their solar panels. It’s something that he knows others would like to do, but notes that money is often a barrier. “You gotta pay up front first.” As a result, Don noticed that after 2012 there were not many people installing solar locally. “People here who really wanted it got it between 2008-2012. The solar business has gone flat.”

This isn’t the end of solar for Don, however. Thanks to owning their house in a location with no HOA or other restrictions, they’re able to add to their property. They use solar for their pool’s needs, for example, which was a later addition to the house. Now Don’s added a small music studio as well, and he plans to put together an off-grid system to power the building. “Once I get it working, I believe it will be the first-ever solar powered recording studio.”

The future of Don and Jackie’s relationship with solar power looks bright indeed!

Last modified: November 5, 2014

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