Seven years ago, LifeStyle Homes built a home for Pam Collver’s parents in Titusville’s Sisson Meadows. Pam and her husband, Charlie, were “impressed with the quality of construction and attention paid to even the smallest details.” So, when it came time to build their own home, the couple says “LifeStyle was their first choice.”

The LifeStyle Homes team was happy to build Pam and Charlie their dream home. The couple chose to build LifeStyle’s Monterey I in Titusville’s Sereno Pointe. And because the Collvers strongly believe in doing their part to protect the earth, they also chose to equip their new home with an 8.1 kW solar system.

Today, Charlie and Pam are enjoying their new home, and especially enjoying their highly reduced electric bills. We recently caught up with Charlie for a Q&A on his experience with LifeStyle and owning a solar-powered home. Here’s what he had to say:

LSH: When did you move into your Sereno Pointe home?
CC: We moved in almost one year ago—the end of August 2013.

LSH: Why did you choose to build the Monterey I and what do you love most about your home?
CC: We chose the Monterey because the moment we walked into the model we could envision living in it. It has an elegant feel with high ceilings, several tray ceilings, an open floor plan, and a large patio. It is a perfect size for entertaining and we wanted a home that we could use for family gatherings, as well as other events. We love everything about our home, but the best is the large kitchen open to the family room with a long breakfast bar. This tends to be the spot everyone congregates in.

LSH: What made you decide to install a solar system on your home?
CC: We have always been an environmentally aware family, trying to conserve energy and recycling whenever possible. My wife is a teacher, and over the years she has explored with her students ways to take care of our earth. It just made sense for us to embrace this opportunity to use our sunny Florida days to produce electricity to power our home.

LSH: Please describe your experience with owning a solar system.
CC: Overall we are very pleased with the performance of our system. It is easy to check our production online or with an app installed on our phones. We can tell by looking at the graphs exactly what time of day production was highest, and by looking at our arrays how much power each panel is producing. The only maintenance we have had to perform was to clean the panels after the pollen season. While there is an initial cost for the system, there is also a large federal tax credit that helps to offset that cost. We love sunny days even more now. Our favorite phrase is “It’s a solar day!”

LSH: On an average monthly basis, what are your electricity costs?
CC: Our lowest bill of $13 was March-April. We had a lot of sun that month and our home AC wasn’t working too hard because of the mild temperatures. Our highest bill so far was last December-January. We had many cloudy days and did a lot of entertaining over the holidays. Our oven was in use a lot as well as many extra lights blazing away and our bill was still only $95. So the average of our electricity costs is about $50 a month. Not bad for running the AC 24/7 and a pool pump eight hours a day.

We are very pleased. If we could change anything it would have been to put a little larger system on the house to cover the cost of running the pool pump.

LSH: What would you say to other homebuyers considering “going solar?”
CC: Go for it if you can. You will certainly enjoy the smaller electricity bills each month. The federal tax credit for going solar was really helpful. We figure it will take several years to “break even” on the initial cost, but since we plan on staying in our home for the rest of our lives, we will definitely reap the benefits financially. The biggest benefit is the knowledge that we are doing our part to help the environment by harnessing the power of the sun.

LSH: What was your experience like building with LifeStyle?
CC: There are many energy-saving features to LifeStyle homes that intrigued us. We were able to make some changes to the floor plan to suit our needs, and we were kept informed and involved through the whole building process. Our questions were always promptly addressed. The Design Center made selecting all the finishes for our home easier. It was great to have such a wide selection of materials all in one place. If we were ever to build again we would choose LifeStyle.