Homeowner Story: Sheila Silva

The key to a secure retirement

Salem, Oregon

Natural disasters happen out of the blue, like an ice storm followed by a cold wave. I’ve experienced a 10 day power outage once every 10 years or so, and it was terrible each time. No electricity basically means your entire life grounds to a halt. That’s why I installed a solar system.

Electricity is life

Sheila Silva has lived in Salem, Oregon since 2014. She learned from her experiences how difficult it is to live through a power outage and found a way to prepare for it: a solar system.

Products Installed: Q.HOME⁺ ESS HYB-G1

System Size: 9.6 kW

Installer: DPI Solar

Est. Cost Savings: $1,180/yr

Est. CO₂ Savings: 15,624lb/yr

The Challenge

Oregon is well known for it’s beautiful outdoors. The state leans progressive, expresses its passion towards environmental issues, and is also a home to those who like to live at their own pace. Sheila Silva works as an actuary in Salem, south of Portland. She had horrible experiences with natural disasters that caused power outages like the ice storm in 1998 that left her without power for 10 days. Another ice storm in February 2021 brought another 10 days without power which stopped every single device that functioned with electricity such as her septic tank, geothermal heating system and induction system. It was a nightmare.

Sheila Silva

The problems that come from not having electricity, especially in the winter, cascade into no heat and no water. And you're eating out all the time and you're paying for hotel costs and none of that will be a problem for us.

Sheila was thinking about installing solar, but she was skeptical as well. Oregan is covered with clouds more than half of the year. This was why she was doubtful whether she would completely get out of the fear of a power outage and if she would receive the right amount of power that she wanted. 

Sheila Silva's property

Project Overview

Sheila’s property is around 2 acres. The problem is that she uses a lot of electric products such as automated curtains, home security system, wifi, geothermal heating system, septic tank, and electric well. She also works from home which makes electricity even more important. Without electricity, her entire life will stop and this is why she has developed an interest in solar.  

Sheila Silva

She made a contact with DPI Solar, a local installer. DPI Solar’s employees were all licensed electricians and explained the entire installation process in a friendly and detailed manner. Most importantly, they had a framework where she could manually adjust the solar panel positioning, which was something installers didn’t offer.  

Sheila Silva's solar panels

DPI Solar analyzed her electric bill to estimate her power usage. Based on those numbers, they advised Sheila on the number of panels she would need to produce the amount of energy she needed. When they recommended Qcells panels, Sheila accepted the offer because of its outstanding performance, and long warranty period.


In addition, Sheila has chose Qcells Q.Home energy storage solution because Q.Home includes a hybrid inverter, lithium-ion battery, a monitoring platform, and a 10 year warranty. For someone like Sheila who wanted to stop her constant fear about power outages, this solution was perfect.

Sheila Silva and Qcells panel

I have a Qcells Q.HOME System and I have three batteries. DPI and I and my husband arrived at that number after having analyzed our usage. What it's holding I can see is exactly what we need if we went off the grid.

Sheila Silva's house


Sheila Silva

My understanding is with the battery storage that Qcells provides, there should be…anywhere between one to three days of power. And of course during that time, the batteries are recharging. So it can essentially be infinite as long as we're judicious about what we choose to turn on during that time. So that level of safety is really, really important to us

After Sheila installed her solar system, not only she was reducing her electricity bill, but was also receiving tax benefits. However, the biggest benefit was the fact that she no longer had to worry about power outages. Since she is very much satisfied with her system, she plans to purchase an electric car next year and install a port for home charging.

Sheila Silva

As we get older, I'm trying to reduce variable costs. A fixed cost, especially when solar is providing the power is really big for us as we get older. So that's going to be huge having that for our electric vehicle. If you're only taking short trips and you can charge up every night, it's really a no brainer to be able to do that.

Oregon has an incredibly beautiful environment. Most of the people who live here are passionate about taking care of and protecting the land and this is the same for Sheila. She believes that we as individuals should feel a strong responsibility towards nature and we should give this back to our next generation as well. This is not because Sheila is someone special, it is rather a basic courtesy that we all should follow as individuals in the 21st century.

Sheila Silva in front of solar panels