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Solar Power in Coal Country

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Dec 03, 2010 12:22 PM

By Dan Hofmann, President, RegenEn Solar LLC

(Louisville, KY) -- When I launched a solar panel installation company in Louisville, KY, last year, I got a lot of the same questions from friends and family: "solar works in Kentucky?" and "can solar compete with cheap coal?" The answer is yes and yes.

I can't blame them for being skeptics, they are not alone as many people in this city falsely believe that Louisville is too cloudy. The truth is, Louisville receives more sun per year than Germany and Germany leads the world in solar installations.

I was recently checking in on a solar customer that had a system installed a year ago and this is what he said:

"During our first year of going solar our entire electric bill was reduced to ZERO.  In fact, we actually EARNED money this year rather than owing it.  We netted almost $600 and got paid to go solar!  

"That was enough to pay for most of our gas bills this year as well.  For ALL our energy needs this year, BOTH gas and electric, we paid LG&E a grand total of $106.47.  That's less than $10 per month for heating and cooling and all our other energy needs for a 3000+ sq. ft. home!  Needless to say, we're thrilled."

Here's a link to the case study: http://www.regenensolar.com/Testimonial_and_Case_Study.html

There it is in black and white, solar not only works in Louisville but can also help offset your gas bill as well. This is done through Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and they, along with the 30% Federal Tax Credit, make solar profitable for the homeowner. I'll cover SRECs and incentives in more detail in future articles.

Editor's note: Dan Hofmann was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and launched a local solar panel installation company in March 2009.
This op-ed is republished here with the author's permission. RegenEn Solar is a KySEA member.


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Clay County, Kentucky resident Randy Wilson ran for the board of his electric cooperative on a platform of affordable energy, better energy choices, and good local jobs in 2009. Randy was the first person to oppose a sitting Jackson Energy board member since the co-op was founded in 1938. Before running for office, Randy was an active member of the Kentuckians For the Commonwealth’s Canary Leadership Network carrying a message throughout the region about the need to transition away from coal and towards clean energy.

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