Enthusiastic audience engages solar expert in ongoing Q&A
The seats were still filling as Paul LaBarbera, the owner of Magitek Energy Solutions, a solar energy systems installer, stepped to the podium and began his presentation Wednesday night at the McHenry Public Library. There was a Question-and-Answer session planned for after but the audience was having no part of waiting. Only minutes into his talk, LaBarbera was interrupted by the first of a welcome barrage of questions.
The audience was engaged, on the edge of their seats: they wanted to know about the potential for solar energy at their homes and offices and LaBarbera is one of the foremost experts in the field. Having installed more than 100 solar energy systems, he has the most difficult certification from Underwriters Laboratory – the only installer in Illinois with that certification.
Instead of a presentation, LaBarbera led an energetic discussion about solar energy and its potential. Instead of a Q&A session, when finished, LaBarbera and his assistant, Jacqueline Stern, sat down one-on-one with those in attendance, who had brought their electric bills along, to provide estimates of the cost and viability of installing one of these systems on their home or office.
LaBarbera had created a slide presentation to accompany the discussion. It was loosely followed as a map for the interactive process that took over. The slide presentation included:
- How solar systems work
- Illinois solar market trends
- Components of a solar panel system
- Types of solar panels and manufacturers
- The ins-and-outs of inverters
- Mounting systems
- Benefits of going solar
- Incentive programs
- Finding a reliable installer
- Frequently asked questions, including costs, installation time and issues, etc.
LaBarbera put numerous concerns to rest, such as issues related to proper installation of solar panel systems and the risks of roof leaks following installation of a system. While he admitted that he’s had to fix systems installed by other suppliers that caused leaks, he added that “Of all the systems I’ve done, we’ve never had a leak.”
He indicated that these systems have improved in quality over the years and will provide electricity at virtually the same level for years to come, where older systems lost their mojo over time. In the process, he said the value of solar panel systems will only increase.
“What’s the one thing I can tell you – electricity prices will go up. If you install a solar system that won’t be your concern.”