Going Energy Independent: Couple Installs Largest Home Solar Panel System in D.C.

July 14, 2010

You’ve heard the term energy independence associated with getting the nation to produce more clean, renewable energy. A family in Washington, D.C. is trying to become energy independent on their own, installing 52 solar panels at their home with Astrum Solar to generate over 13,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The solar power will provide between 75-85 percent of the home’s electricity use. The home solar panel system is the largest in the nation’s capital. The homeowners, Shelley Cohen and Mike Gala, used available federal and municipal incentives in D.C. and ended up paying about 10 percent of the $60,000 cost for the system. As it will cover most of their home’s energy needs, the couple anticipates the system will pay itself back in a couple of years. “Our family is committed to living a green urban lifestyle and to reducing our carbon footprint by making our home energy efficient, using renewable energy, and reducing consumptive behavior,” said Cohen. “Our project benefited from a partnership with the D.C. government, and we encourage others in the District to take advantage of the incentives being offered for renewable energy project development in the city.” Cohen and Gala have used their background in architecture and environmental project development to make their urban dwellings greener since they married in 2001. Steve Thomas from the TV show Renovation Nation helped the couple with their renovation, which included a concrete countertop made of recycled glass and planting trees in the backyard to add natural shade. The couple wants their home to ultimately be carbon neutral. Learn about everyday ways that you can reduce, offset your carbon footprint by visiting Also, you can learn more and check out photos from the couple’s home renovation effort here. Photo Credits: Washington City Paper and Planet Green/Renovation Nation