Why I Went Solar features homes and businesses that have chosen to go solar. If you would like to feature your home or business in this column please email our Community Manager.
Name: Raina Brett Russo
Occupation: Co-Founder of EcoOutfitters.net, Civil Engineer
Location of panels: Atlantic Beach, NY
What made you go solar?
Growing up in Israel, solar hot water and conservation practices was the norm because solar energy is very mainstream there. Respecting our natural resources and holding them to the highest regard has been embedded in me since childhood. As a civil engineer, I worked for the number one green contractor in the U.S. (Skanska USA Civil) and learned the importance of LEED certification and ecofriendly designs early on in my career.
As an adult and parent of two young children, I was eager to do my share to ensure that we continued to live responsibly. We have a vegetable garden, recycle, and ride our bikes as much as possible, but still I wanted to do more. Once I learned about the 30 percent federal tax credit and state and local incentives available for residential solar installations, it became a challenge to figure out how to take advantage of these opportunities and which installer to use. This challenge made me realize that going solar should be a much simpler process and so I started EcoOutfitters, a company that aspires to simplify and amplify the solar message while bridging the gap between solar installers and home and business owners across the country.
How has your life changed since you went solar?
I feel more confident in my business because I lead by example. I am a firm believer in walking the walk vs. talking the talk. I am on a mission to help put solar on every rooftop in America and am proud to be able to check my own rooftop off that list as a “mission accomplished!” Furthermore and more importantly, within my own small nucleus, my children are now quite aware of solar energy and boast to their friends about being a solar-powered family. I love not only providing my share of a cleaner, safer environment for my children to grow up in but also instilling in them the same respect and love of nature that I was given.
What’s the best part about being solar?
My husband will say the savings, which have far exceeded our expectations and projections. From my perspective, however, going solar is clearly the right thing to do for the environment, for national security, and for our health, and I am proud to incorporate as many “right” things into my family’s life as possible.
What tips do you have for others who want to go solar?
Do it… stop hesitating, take ownership of the good life, and go for it! The technology is here, the price is right, and the incentives are available. With the various financing and leasing opportunities available, and information that’s easy to come by thanks to companies like EcoOutfitters.net, you can easily find the most appropriate/fitting financial package to meet your needs.
ASES will hold its annual National Solar Tour this fall where you can show your home, host a tour or go on a tour. If you’d like to donate to support ASES in its mission to promote solar, please click here. If you’d like to learn more about putting solar on your home or to find a local solar professional, click on the Find a Solar Installer Near You on the right side of ASES.org.