Solar Panels Energize Community

5 years 2 months 8 hours ago Monday, September 24 2012 Sep 24, 2012 Monday, September 24, 2012 8:01:00 PM CDT September 24, 2012 in News
By: Karl Roskamp
loading

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- Nearly 40 million used cars are sold in the United States each year. Many of them look good externally,... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 11:32:37 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A city-owned garbage truck caught fire Friday morning at Columbia's landfill. The Columbia Fire Department said these... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 10:03:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Four people went to the the hospital Friday night after a two-car crash on Brown Station Road at... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 9:56:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Small Columbia businesses on the south side of town said they were helping each other get business on... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 8:05:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Black Friday shoppers continued to fill up malls and outlets despite a late night accidental shooting Thursday outside... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 6:54:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A protest forced a large suburban St. Louis shopping mall to close for an hour on... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 5:16:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
WILLARD, Mo. (AP) — A Greene County sheriff's deputy responding to an alarm call has been involved in a crash... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 4:05:09 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
HAMEL, Ill. (AP) — A Missouri college student is the third person to die after a major crash this week... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 3:58:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fire Protection District said it battled more than usual brush fires Friday. "There's nothing... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 3:57:00 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA -Racism, sexism, homophobia and animal abuse have all had a home on Reddit, but the website is taking steps... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 1:25:26 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A jail inmate has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action after authorities... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 12:11:47 PM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man involved in a deadly shooting in May has been indicted by a federal grand jury... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 11:40:00 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man early Thursday morning for various drugs and weapons charges. CPD says officers smelled... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 11:37:00 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two tangled bucks that drowned in a Missouri lake last month have been memorialized in... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 11:05:00 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three Thanksgiving Day killings in St. Louis have brought this year's homicide total to 188, matching... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 10:58:31 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A soldier home for Thanksgiving in St. Louis is OK, but he lost his car and... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 10:44:30 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man who was arrested after sleeping in a Kansas storage unit with his two... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 10:32:21 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police are investigating after two officers fatally shot a man and wounded a 14-year-old... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, November 24 2017 Nov 24, 2017 Friday, November 24, 2017 10:13:19 AM CST November 24, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
6am 43°
7am 42°
8am 42°
9am 46°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
This Week in Mizzou Football
5:30a
On the Money
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The National Dog Show
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld