Solar Panels Energize Community

3 years 10 months 16 hours ago September 24, 2012 Sep 24, 2012 Monday, September 24 2012 Monday, September 24, 2012 8:01:00 PM CDT in News
By: Karl Roskamp

COLUMBIA - How would you like to pay next to nothing on your electricity bills? That's the case for a group of people in Columbia.

"The expectation is that the number of (solar) panels we have will cover our year's use of electricity," Terra Nova member Claire Garden.

Terra Nova is an intentional community formed in 1995. They have 38 solar panels on two houses that help pay the respective bills. The panels are customized to meet the electrical needs of the two houses. Therefore, if someone moved into the homes after them, the new owners may pay more than the self-proclaimed "frugal" spenders.

But microscopic bills aren't the only reason for having solar panels. "They don't have moving parts, they don't wear out," Garden said. "They don't make any noise, they're not doing anything that is a problem and it's great to have our power for our heat pumps."

Solar panels also mean rebates. Garden and the others in Terra Nova received $4,795 in federal and city rebates for the 28 Sanyo panels they installed in 2008 and 2011. The rebates for the ten Trina panels installed last month have not been recognized yet.

There are tax credits too.

"That's a good one....The tax credit means you whatever you owe at the end, you can take one-third of your cost directly off of that," Garden said. "It's not just reducing the amount that you owe a percentage on. It's that amount of money of your tax bill."

As technology improves, solar panels become cheaper and more efficient. Now is as good a time as ever to buy. The first ten panels Terra Nova bought cost $19,838 after rebates while the last ten cost $12,433.44 before rebates.

And as Terra Nova member Hoyt DeVane explained, the newer ones have micro-inverters that "convert DC to AC and make the energy useable." The inverters also help to maximize output, even if some of the panels are shaded.

Solar panels do have drawbacks though.

"The problem is we use more electricity in the winter than in the summer and we generate more electricity in the summer than we do in the winter," Garden said. "So we need to get pretty far ahead in the summer to carry us through the winter."

In June 2011, one of the two Terra Nova houses produced 701 kilowatts. In December, the panels only managed to produce 148 kilowatts. But right now, Terra Nova is ahead of the game.

"The city has delivered to us 4346 (kilowatts) and what they have received from us is 5210 (kilowatts,) so we are ahead," DeVane said. "In fact the last bill that we got, we've got $100 dollar credit."

For Garden, minimizing pollution and the use of fossil fuels is great, but it's all about return on investment.

"If you put (money) into reducing your electric bill, you get a far better return on investment than you do if you put it in a savings account," she said. "That was my thinking in investing my life long saving into the solar panels."

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The iconic Columbia pizza place Shakespeare's gave KOMU 8 News an inside look at its new building on... More >>
11 minutes ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 2:41:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Schnucks is having a shortage in fresh items and many shelves are empty at the store on Forum... More >>
27 minutes ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 2:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia voters will decide whether to raise the lodging tax from four percent to five percent on the... More >>
40 minutes ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 2:12:47 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Public Works Department provided more insight Monday on what will be done to clean Hinkson... More >>
53 minutes ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 1:59:00 PM CDT in News
MOBERLY - Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday Randolph County has become the 34th county to be a Certified Work Ready... More >>
1 hour ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 1:46:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a body pulled from the Mississippi River at St. Louis is a 29-year-old kayaker... More >>
2 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 11:54:00 AM CDT in News
ARNOLD, Mo. (AP) — A suburban St. Louis woman is dead after being struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 55... More >>
3 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 11:14:47 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - We all know that sunscreen is incredibly important. Especially if we are spending a lot of time outside... More >>
3 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 11:11:00 AM CDT in News
MEXICO- Dayton Durham will face a minimum of five years in prison after a jury found him guilty Monday of... More >>
4 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 10:25:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The University of Missouri-St. Louis has set a record for the number of degrees awarded. ... More >>
5 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:55:33 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A group of atheists has sued Kansas City, Missouri , officials over the planned use of... More >>
6 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:35:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- Residents of the central neighborhood area of Columbia are invited to a meeting Tuesday to discuss problems in their... More >>
6 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:05:00 AM CDT in News
CHARLESTON (AP) — Police in the southeast Missouri town of Charleston say a man found dead was killed in self-defense.... More >>
6 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 7:54:35 AM CDT in News
BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS (AP) — A husband and wife in their 70s who were allegedly shot by a 13-year-old girl last... More >>
7 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 7:41:43 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a man was killed in a Kansas City parking lot. Police... More >>
8 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:12:10 AM CDT in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials blame heat exposure in last weekend's death of a 23-year-old landscaper in... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:43:04 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Rep. Bill Lant has been hospitalized after a car crash. A Missouri State Highway... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:17:16 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - KOMU 8's Target 8 Investigative team analyzed claims made by Josh Hawley, a Republican running for state... More >>
20 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 6:25:00 PM CDT in Target 8
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 87°
3pm 89°
4pm 89°
5pm 87°
6pm 86°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
The Meredith Vieira Show
3:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
4:00p
Dr. Phil
2:30p
Rules of Engagement
3:00p
The Bill Cunningham Show
4:00p
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
NBC News Special: 2016 Democratic National Convention
7:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
7:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:00p
MADtv
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld