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By BETH ZUMWALT
When Dustin and Natalie Rhodes of Pittsfield purchased their all electric home, they started looking for sustainable ways to lower their monthly electric bill.
That’s when the couple, who live east of Pittsfield, decided to look into solar panels. They found a company that was great to work with in March and moved ahead, becoming what is the first ground mount unit in the area.
“Others have some solar panels on their roofs,” Natalie Rhodes said.”We are going to be the first ground mount install for the city of Pittsfield.”
A solar company from St. Louis was to be at the Rhodes residence this week, installing the 28 panel system.
“You have to have a clear path facing south” Natalie Rhodes said.” No trees, sheds, buildings to create shade allowed.”
Rhodes expects the conversion to solar to be fairly easy.
“The company has to install a unit by the electric meter to run the energy generated and then run power lines into the house to supply it. It is a two- day process for them to get us up and running with it,” she said.
In addition to saving on their electric bill, the Rhodes will get a federal tax credit and are in a program called Illinois Shines. Both of these will be lump sum payments, but will cover about 65% of the total cost for the solar.
Rhodes said the only adaptations they had to make to their home, was the home owners association asked them to install a fence.
Meanwhile the savings will begin.
According to projections, depending on the sun, the the panels should cover the Rhodes energy use May-October and then anywhere from 40-60 percent for November-April.
“This should be around an $1,100 savings from our electric bill.,” Rhodes said.
While the 28 panels will result in a significant savings over the years, the Rhodes don’t rule out the possibility of of adding more panels to gain more energy in the winter months.
“We would like to look into a battery back up system as well,” she said. “We are just waiting until the battery can act as a generator if we were to ever lose power. Right now the battery they offer can only run if the panels are on,when its daylight.”