**** Site under construction. ****

We are a small family homestead of about 25 acres located in northern central Maryland.

Roughly 16 acres of the property is wooded and under a Forest Management Plan, another 2 acres are approved for a biodiverse pollinator meadow, and the remaining acreage is occupied by an heirloom apple orchard, and various other fruit crop plantings, fields and gardens.

The main goal, besides being our family home since 1997, is to create as biodiverse and ecologically rich an environment as possible here in Maryland's Appalachian Piedmont, attracting Nature's helpers of all sorts, while continuing to make changes to minimize our human footprint on the ecosystem.

Most of our electricity is generated by a grid-tied, ground mounted solar array, see The Solar Plan

winter farmhouse
Homestead in winter

The Big Picture

Map of the big picture
The big picture plan courtesy of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources

The Solar Plan

We use all the power generated from our 7.5kW photovoltaic panel array for HVAC, which includes high efficiency heat pumps, and household lighting and appliances. Propane is currently used for backup winter heat, hot water, and the kitchen stove. The system went live February 26, 2014. Its output averages about 10,400kWh annually.

We plan to augment that production to handle a heat pump water heater, electric rather than propane kitchen stove, and eventually a 220V charging outlet in the garage for the future EV.

Spring 2023 Update:

The first phase of the plan was accomplished in May 2023 with the addition of a Rheem hybrid (heat pump) water heater. The energy guide for this heater is below the scale previously used for this size water heater coming in at $155 annual cost in the previous range from a low of $191 to a high of $252. This doesn't even account for the savings gained by transitioning from propane to our "free" PV electricity. The IRA of 2022 was a significant aid in achieving that goal providing both a $500 rebate on the purchase price of the water heater plus a tax credit of 30% of the total cost of the project of converting to electric solutions.

water heater rating

Here are the details from the IRS : Inflation Reduction Act Credits and Deductions

Contact us by email with questions or comments. Suggestions for topics are also always welcome!