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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Solar is a Family Affair

For Integrity Energy of East Bethel, Vermont

West-facing roof installation at EyeCare for You in Bethel, VT. Photos: N.R. Mallery

Evan Lawrence

Solar power is a family affair not just for Integrity Energy LLP of East Bethel, VT, but also for some of Integrity’s customers. The small solar design and installation company has completed solar energy projects for two homes, owned by a father and son, and their business, EyeCare for You, in Bethel, VT. This is an exciting three-part family affair installed by a family-owned and operated solar company.

Amos Post founded Integrity Energy in 2011. He entered the solar industry with groSolar and spent nine years there at positions that included lead installer, project manager, and service manager. Post left the company in 2011 when groSolar stopped doing residential projects.

Post met carpenter John Mattern at their church and got Mattern a job at groSolar in 2008. When Post started Integrity, he hired Mattern as a subcontractor. Mattern joined Post as co-owner in 2013. Mattern’s brother David came on part-time in 2014, doing installation and IT design. Post’s younger brother Greg also works on installations.

John Mattern, Greg Post and Amos Post, as the east roof installation was completed

Mattern and Paul Lambert built the sugarhouse at Silloway Maple Farm in 2014, and Mattern and Post designed and installed the PV system for the building. Marilyn Lambert is engaged to Mattern and helps cover the Integrity Energy office.

To date, Integrity has installed more than 1,000kW of photovoltaics on houses and small businesses in Vermont and New Hampshire, with more than 150 projects. Its portfolio includes roof, ground, and pole mounts, both on and off-grid. Integrity’s goals are a high level of workmanship, polite efficiency, and an ability to deliver good-quality installations at a reasonable price. Post has a PV installation professional certification from NABCEP, the industry’s highest recognition.

Jerry Barcelow, OD, owns EyeCare for You and practices there with his children, optometrists Dean and Rebecca Barcelow, continuing the family affair for the whole three-year project. Dean Barcelow became interested in solar power several years ago as part of his desire to become more energy-efficient. Integrity put a 14.08kW system on his roof in 2016. Combined with LED lights and cold-climate heat pumps, the PV system has saved him 32,209 pounds of carbon emissions. He also drives a hybrid vehicle.

Jerry Barcelow “went solar” in 2017 with a 5.5kW residential system. The system has reduced his household emissions by 7,300 pounds of carbon, according to Post’s calculations. The electricity for both homes is 100% solar-powered.

One of Integrity Energy’s early installations. ‘Grandpa’s Garage’ was completed in June 2011 for Gabriel Gagne in Swanton, VT. Courtesy photo

From there it was an easy decision to convert the office, the practice’s home since 1998, to solar. The building’s ridgepole runs north-south, so Integrity placed the panels on the east and west-facing roof slopes. The 27kW system was completed in October. It is projected to generate a little more than 100% of the office’s electricity needs and to offset about 41,000 pounds per year of CO2 emissions.

The EyeCare for You building was one of Integrity’s larger projects to date. The panels are Canadian Solar with Iron Ridge racking and EcoFasten attachments. For this job, Integrity chose Solar Edge inverters. The brand has an optimizer that makes the design easy and straightforward, Post said. Integrity also uses SMA inverters for ground mounts, depending on the situation.

Along with gardening, the Barcelows are beekeepers. Hives behind the office on Route 107 produce honey from nearby stands of wildflowers, which the doctors sell.

For a small company, Integrity has a wide range of experiences. Although the company can do all three major types of installations, Post said he prefers rooftops “because they’re simpler, there’s no need to excavate, and the space is already available.”

Solar energy has grown since Post started in the business. “There are definitely more people considering solar and open to the idea of solar today,” he said. “It is more accepted. Before, it was really expensive or was for super-green, tree-hugger kind of folks. Solar used to be political, but now people on both sides are open to the idea.”

This past year saw Integrity’s biggest increase in installations, Post said. Changes in state incentives haven’t hurt the company, because most of its jobs are smaller in nature. The EyeCare for You office was Integrity’s first job for a medical practice. Because Route 107 is well-traveled, “the exposure for solar on EyeCare for You is very good,” Post said.

EcoFasten attachment. Courtesy photo.

For more information about Integrity Energy, visit ienergyvt.com, call (802) 763-7023, or email info@ienergyvt.com.

For more information about EcoFasten Solar, visit ecofastensolar.com or call 877-859-3947.

Evan Lawrence is a free-lance writer in Cambridge, NY, specializing in sustainability, environmental, and health topics.

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