It was a full house last Wednesday, April 24, at McHenry Public Library when Paul LaBarbera, a preeminent authority on solar energy and the CEO for Magitek Energy Solutions of Johnsburg, came to the podium to share his expertise on the viability of solar energy systems as solutions for area residents and businesses.
LaBarbera opened with a presentation about the fundamentals of solar energy and the benefits of solar energy systems. The discussion touched on topics ranging from how solar systems work, the components of a solar panel system, types and manufacturers of solar panel systems, governmental incentive programs and the process of finding a reliable installer.
His presentation was followed by a Question-and-Answer session where LaBarbera fielded questions from the audience of approximately 25 area residents and business owners.
Choosing the wrong installer can lead to problems with a new solar energy system. For instance, will the installer size and position the system optimally or will they sell additional solar panels based on what the installer stands to make on the project? Will the installer properly install the system so that it will stand the test of time and the elements, and will they install the system without creating leaks in the roof?
Attendees also had an opportunity to go on the roof of the library to take a first-hand look at the solar energy system LaBarbera installed there.
LaBarbera said that solar energy systems are great ways to reduce reliance on utility companies and can pay for themselves in electrical savings within seven years or fewer.
It was the second year in a row that LaBarbera has given the presentation at the library.
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.