How a Hudson Valley Family Finally Went Solar–Without the Roof


How a Hudson Valley Family Finally Went Solar–Without the Roof

August 8, 2019

For years, the Frumes family didn’t go solar because they couldn’t put it on their roof. Now, they’re subscribing to a solar share right in their community, supporting a cleaner environment, and earning thousands in reliable savings. Here’s how they did it.

Tucked into the heart of the Hudson Valley in Montgomery, New York, you’ll find the Borland House Inn. Known for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and delicious, farm-to-table menu, The Borland House is a quintessential Hudson Valley BnB.

The folks behind that welcoming atmosphere are co-owners Larry and Sylvia Frumes and their daughter, manager and chef Anna Frumes. Together, the Frumes family prides itself on the care and attention it gives to guests and diners. 

Part of caring for their community means taking steps to preserve it for years to come. That’s why Larry drives an electric car, and it’s why they installed charging stations for electric vehicles in front of their property. It’s also why they started to look into solar energy for their home.

Larry knew that solar was the perfect opportunity to live his values. But when he started researching it, he ran into roadblocks. It looked like solar might not work for the Borland House Inn after all…

The Borland House Inn

The Borland House Inn in Montgomery, NY

Table of Contents

When Rooftop Solar Doesn’t Work

Like so many local BnB’s, the Borland House Inn’s charming appeal attracts local visitors looking for a warm, friendly atmosphere. It has a comfortable vibe that meshes with the surrounding landscape. 

As amazing as solar panels are, they don’t exactly fit this bill. A set of shiny blue panels on the roof stands out. And while this alone might not be a huge issue for some people, the Borland House Inn faced another challenge: it’s a historic building. Any changes to the home are subject to an approval process. 

Familiar with the process, Larry knew rooftop panels wouldn’t pass. So he looked into a more visually friendly option: solar shingles. This way, he might be able to go solar without sacrificing any of his inn’s charm. The more Larry researched, though, the more he found that the technology just wasn’t quite ready yet–or if it was, it would cost somewhere between $80,000 and $120,000. 

Yikes. Installing solar on the property would be a tough challenge. The Frumes family needed an option that would:

  • Reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future for their community
  • Earn them substantial, reliable savings each month
  • Keep the aesthetics of the Borland House Inn intact

Luckily, Larry found the solution when he met Tim from Solstice.

Solar Farms in New York: What You Need to Know

Making Solar Work Without the Roof

With all the new solar farms in the area, Larry had heard about community solar, but wasn’t totally convinced it was a smart choice for him.

Naturally, Larry was thrilled when he learned that he could participate in community solar without making any changes to his cherished property. Here was a chance to meet his goals–sustainable energy and a renewable future for the region he called home–without any of the catches he’d run into in the past.

On top of avoiding the expenses that normally come with going solar, the Frumes family is excited to be putting extra money in their pockets every month. By enrolling both of their electric meters in community solar, they’ll earn about $400 in annual electric savings. That’s 400 reliable dollars with no further action needed–no maintenance, and no ongoing fees. Like Larry said, while his main motivation was to support clean energy, he has “absolutely no objection to reducing [his] electric bills” and will be thrilled to set aside these funds for the future.

Community solar customers

Larry and Sylvia Frumes pictured with two of their five grandchildren–for whom they are providing a brighter, healthier future.

An Individual Action For a Whole Community’s Benefit

By enrolling in community solar, the Frumes family will be subscribing to a solar share that is equivalent, in terms of reducing greenhouse gases, to taking 5 cars off the road each year–or preserving about 28.7 acres of forest.*

That’s a huge contribution to a cleaner Hudson Valley! And with far less time and effort than, say, avoiding driving or planting acres of trees.

“I hope to leave a legacy for my kids and grandkids,” Larry said. “It’s really a team effort to preserve what we have, and whatever I can personally do to help, I’m all for. For me, it’s a natural continuation of that idea to get involved in a solar farm.”

We’re happy to be helping the Frumes family accomplish their goals.

Join Larry and Sylvia in a Hudson Valley Solar Farm

*Estimated based on the Borland House’s historical energy consumption using the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator

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