Reducing the cost of getting some sun

By the US Green Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Chapter

COLUMBIA 5/20/15 (Reprint)
-- Mollie Freebairn
and Show Me Solar hosted a "group buy" gathering a week ago Tuesday designed to lower the price bar for people who want to "go solar".

"The group buy project combines the purchasing power of many participants to obtain high quality solar panels and equipment at reduced cost," Freebairn explains. "This enables participants to own their solar systems, rather than leasing from a large national company."

Jeffrey Owens with Missouri Solar Applications co-hosted the event at Casablanca Mediterranean Restaurant in Columbia. "Missouri Solar Applications has been at the forefront of building the solar industry in Missouri since 2008," Freebairn says.

About 15 people attended, providing Owens their addresses ahead of time. To each attendee, Owens returned a custom plan that calculated the size, wattage, and energy generation for each home, along with a chart that showed a 10-25% savings with the group buy arrangement.

Other savings include a 30% Federal income tax credit and a $500/kilowatt rebate from Columbia Water and Light.

A division of Prost Builders based in Jefferson City, Missouri Solar Applications has installed over 100 solar systems. They provide design and installation work for solar water heating; solar electrical generation; and solar lighting. On average, Owens calculates an investment in a solar system will pay a 10-25% annual dividend, especially as utility rates continue to rise. Commercial customers can net even bigger savings -- over 60%.

Show Me Solar is a non-profit whose mission is to "educate the general public about the benefits of solar living and to advocate for the increased use of solar energy in the United States."

They produce free and low cost presentations, workshops, classes, and seminars, including a series of Spring and Fall solar tours.

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