At Garrett James’ workshop on Ming Road, the sun plays a much bigger role than peeping through the windows. In fact, it energizes the entire shop.
“Solar is true power,” said James, whose shop is one of the first buildings in Warren County to use solar energy. “The sun is providing it.”
James and Tommy Jones recently opened Solar Energy Pioneers, which they say is the first solar panel business in Bowling Green.
The two Bowling Green men, who each own other businesses, began discussing in 2008 renewable energy sources and the need for a local retailer. In 2009, they started the company at 8141 Nashville Road and recently installed their first solar panels on the roof of James’ shop. Three other buildings are in line for solar paneling, they said.
Solar panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity, allowing users to light their homes, cool their rooms and perform other tasks with renewable energy — a solution that’s becoming more popular as sustainability becomes trendier.
Solar energy can take the place of fossil fuels, reducing the amount of wasteful toxins that are pumped into the atmosphere. It also saves money by reducing utility bills, proponents claim.
“Solar energy is the future — it’s where we’re going,” Jones said. “Solar is not a short-term investment.”
One issue working against solar panel investment is upfront costs.
There are different types of solar panels, which produce different amounts of energy, and installation costs can start around $20,000, Jones said.
But, the homeowner or business owner reaps benefits and saves money over a period of time. Also, several programs are in place that offer consumer credit for using solar energy, he said.
For example, local residents who install solar panels or other renewable energy products can take part in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Generation Partners program.
Through the program, TVA buys the consumer’s extra solar energy output for 12 cents per kilowatt hour, and consumers receive that payment through a credit on their monthly utility bill. TVA also pays the consumer $1,000 to offset startup costs for solar or other renewable energies.
It’s a way for TVA to build its portfolio — the company is looking to increase its portion of renewable and clean energy in its portfolio by 2020. It also reduces demand on conventional power systems, said Mike Bradley, a TVA spokesman.
For more information, contact Solar Energy Pioneers at 843-0009 or visit www.solarenergypioneers.com.
(Source: The Daily News) By Jenna Mink, Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.