YOU MIGHT KNOW JULIAN VENDERVELDE FOR HIS WORK ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD…
BUT HE ALSO WORKS IN THE SOLAR INDUSTRY.
*A RECENT COMMERCIAL IN IOWA MADE THE CLAIM — THOSE WITH SOLAR PANELS ON THEIR HOMES DO NOT PAY THE FIXED COSTS THAT ALL OTHER ENERGY USERS PAY ON THEIR BILL EACH MONTH.
WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?
*ENERGY COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO GET LEGISLATION PASSED TO MAKE HOMES AND BUSINESSES WITH SOLAR POWER SYSTEMS PAY NEW FEES.
*HOW WELL DOES SOLAR WORK HERE IN THE MIDWEST?
Extremely well, in fact our precipitation and cold winters help keep solar arrays more efficient over long periods of time. We also have great net metering policies through most utility providers, so we don’t really need batteries in most cases.
*WHAT IS NET METERING?
It just means when a solar array produces more power than you’re using the rest is redistributed to the grid and you get credited for that power at the same rate your utility provider charges you. Makes it very easy to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, and doesn’t matter when your array produces power it just matters that it produces enough power, and that’s easy for a good installer to figure out.
*HOW DOES POWER GO BACK TO THE GRID?
Well, in peak usage times, mid-morning to late afternoon, a solar array may produce excess power. This flows back into the grid, effectively running your meter backwards, and is used at the nearest necessary source. There’s a misconception that this somehow makes non-solar user’s bills higher, but it actually helps with grid health and keeps everyone else’s costs down by allowing utilities to operate more efficiently in peak usage times.
*MOST SYSTEMS DON’T NEED BATTERIES?
That’s right. Energy storage technology is evolving very rapidly. Solar and storage are two of the fastest growing tech industries in the world, and in 5-10 years the grid may be completely obsolete, but for now most solar arrays are tied to the grid.
*SOLAR PANELS AREN’T AS EXPENSIVE AS THEY ONCE WERE?
Maybe a decade ago that was true, but the price of solar has dropped sharply in recent years. Illinois and Iowa have some of the best solar incentives in the country, covering up to 80% of the cost of an array. This has allowed local installers to develop financing plans that are capable of saving single family homes money right away with no out of pocket expense. Even farms and businesses in Illinois are typically seeing 2-3 year payback times on new arrays. There’s never been a better time to look into solar in our area.