How would you like to learn more about adding value to your home, reducing your home’s carbon footprint and, in the process, virtually eliminating electric bills? That’s what the GOing SOLAR 101: Free Educational Seminar, 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, at McHenry Public Library, 409 Front Street, McHenry, is all about.
Guest speaker Paul LaBarbera, owner of Magitek Energy Solutions in Johnsburg, is one in a very small group of UL Certified PV solar energy experts. He has installed more than 150 solar energy systems including the solar energy system on the roof of the library. That system is saving the library, and area taxpayers, substantial funds on electric utility bills.
The presentation is for those who would like to enjoy the same financial benefits on their own home or office. The presentation will help those who want to know if solar energy is a cost-effective alternative for them.
Along with the nuts and bolts of going solar, LaBarbara will also explain about state and local incentive programs.
“Based on those programs, a full return on installing solar energy is possible within five or six years,” he explained.
Attendees can bring their ComEd bill for a no-obligation estimate.
Those interested in attending should register by calling the library at 815-385-0036.
“If you come by in the day time, the library can also give you a tour of their solar energy system on their roof,” said LaBarbera.
Adding a solar energy system to your home is a great way to clip the leash that ties you inexorably to the utility company that sells you electricity. With solar panels on the roof, you’re capturing the UV rays of the sun and converting them to electricity. It’s very much as though you have your own energy plant sitting on the roof of your home or office, or even in the backyard. But there are options in how you’ll reap the financial rewards of your solar energy system.
You can have a solar energy system installed, use the electricity generated by the solar panels and take advantage of NET Metering. NET Metering is where the utility has to provide credits for energy your panels produce but that you don’t use. Then, on days or nights when your panels don’t produce enough electricity, you can take advantage of your credits to cover the cost of electricity you use from the utility’s grid.
Illinois Shines is a program that illuminates another option for financial benefits of solar
It’s called Illinois Shines and it’s an Adjustable Block Program designed to help the state reach its goal of producing 25 percent of its energy through renewable sources by the year 2025. In particular, it reduces the consumer’s costs of installing a solar energy system through payments in exchange for their Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).
As an incentive to ‘go solar,’ Illinois Shines allows a homeowner to sell their SRECs to the utility company over a 15-year period. The utility is obligated to purchase the SRECs in support of renewable energy.
An approved vendor submits your PV (photovoltaic) system to the Illinois Power Agency for inclusion in the program. The contractor installing your solar energy system is required to provide an Illinois Shines Brochure and a Standard Disclosure Form that includes information about the installation process, estimated costs and potential savings, and contact information related to the Illinois Shines program.
A homeowner can keep their SRECs or sell them to someone else. However, Illinois Shines increases the likelihood that a homeowner will save more money with their solar energy system.
December 21 was the shortest day of the year and, though useful, not the optimal day for solar energy production. As the earth spins, the axis that runs between the poles was furthest at the northern extreme on that day. This makes December 21 the longest day of the year in the Southern hemisphere. But we live in the Northern hemisphere and our shorter days of winter are accompanied by cold temperatures, snow and ice.
The good news is that, from December 21 until June 21, the days are growing longer. Longer days occur as the earth’s axis comes around so the North pole is closer to the sun. As this happens, the weather around here will grow warmer. Summer will arrive and we will have survived another Northern Illinois winter as solar panels are prepared for higher production.
Longer days offer extra helpings of sunlight to feed solar panels
Solar panels collect the UV rays of the sun all year long. But, obviously, shorter days make for fewer UV rays. In translation, the approaching spring and summer promise more of the sun’s energy for solar panels to convert into electricity. That makes this an optimal time of year to have a solar array added to a home or office so that you’ll be ready as the longer days come along.
Through the warmer months of the year, solar panels are likely to absorb more UV rays than you need. That’s not a problem since the utility companies are required to use a tool called ‘Net-Metering’ as an electric savings account for customers who have solar energy systems.
The warmer months, therefore, aren’t just good for an abundance of UV rays providing energy production for use now. The warmer months, with longer days, are also good for building up electricity generation credits for the winter months when the days are shorter.