Using solar energy to power home & car

June 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. - Summer starts Saturday, and we’re in the hottest, sunniest time of the year.

A Maplewood man is putting all of that sunshine to good use, and getting a lot of attention for it.

“I can’t be in my front yard without someone stopping by,” said Andrew Bolin.

His Dutch Colonial is 100-years-old, but it’s much better known for its new-fangled additions.

“I wanted to have some energy independence, cut back on my energy bills,” said Bolin.

Ten solar arrays on the roof. Panels that trap the sun’s energy. At the curb, another way to use the electricity trapped on the roof.

“I knew if I was bringing an electrician out to put in solar panels, I might as well put in a car charger too,” said Bolin.

The entire project cost him $16,000, but after a rebate from Ameren and tax credits on next year’s return, his out of pocket cost is under $6,000.

“They showed me the math and I think it pays for itself in five years,” he said.

“People want it,” said Paul McKnight. His company EFS Energy, did the installation. His drone took these pictures of some of their other projects.

So how energy efficient is this? A project like Andrew’s with 10 solar panels means he’ll probably cut his electric usage by 25 percent. The average project uses 20 solar panels and customers like that can cut their electric usage by 50 percent or more.

Those Ameren rebates ran out back in December, but that’s not stopping business.

“Regardless of what happens with the rebate, moving into the future it’s here to stay,” said McKnight.

For Bolin, the future is now.

By the way, if he ever produces more energy than he uses, Ameren owes him.

“Then they pay me back money,” said Bolin. “Not as good as I pay them, but still, it’s something.”

Right now, Bolin’s panels aren’t hooked up to batteries, so they don’t store energy. He’s considering installing batteries in the future.

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