ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local has taken on an ambitious home improvement project. He built a massive solar structure on his property.
Stanley Harada, who is also a chief hearing officer with the City of Albuquerque, has been interested in solar energy since the 70s. It wasn’t until 2018 that he decided to make his entire house run on solar energy. “It’s quite unique. I don’t think there’s another homeowner-built structure in this town right now that is that substantial,” said Harada.
He calls it his “battleship.” It’s a massive structure of welded steel sitting on 10 concrete pillars which support 26 solar panels.
He wanted to save money on his power bill. He said his monthly bill was $300.
Most homeowners would hire a company to install a system like this. However, Harada decided to do it on his own. After a lot of research, he found the right company for materials.
It’s not a simple process, a lot of planning went into this. He and his team worked hard to make this possible.
He had to get permits and contact the city. The city inspected his property and told him he couldn’t place the solar panels on his roof. His team realized they needed to build the structure away from his home to support the panels.
They had to get their plans and drawings certified by an engineer. The engineer signed off saying their structure would be able to withstand the weight and unknown weather conditions.
He hopes to one day be off the grid. For now, he’ll wait and see if this $30,000 project will all be worth it. Harada mentioned, “I’m producing right now for the last week about 33 and a half kilowatts a day.”
His next idea is to create a charging station on his property. “I hope my system gets paid for very quickly by electric vehicle owners that charge up on their way across the country,” said Harada.
He hopes to encourage others in the state to build their own energy-independent systems too adding, “Try to come up with solutions that nobody thinks about.”
The solar panels will need maintenance about once a year due to dust and pollen buildup. Harada said he’s worked out a deal with the Public Service Company of New Mexico; since the system may produce more electricity than he uses, PNM will get all of his excess energy.