RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More and more homeowners are putting the power back in their hands by joining the solar power movement. You may think it's out of your price range, but we found a local group that's making the dream of going solar more affordable than ever.
When it comes to power, VCU Professor Jon Baker is very conservative. He drives a Chevy Volt and heats his home with wood. When his old house failed inspection for solar panels, he moved to a house that would pass.
"I always thought I'd have to come up with $20,000 to $25,000, and they gave me a bid on this one for nine." said homeowner Jon Baker. That bid came from VA SUN (Solar United Neighborhoods), a local solar cooperative. Based on the same principle as buying in bulk, co-op members purchase solar systems together to save money and share knowledge. "We think of it as a 30-year generator you put on your roof with no moving parts, a free source of fuel and very little maintenance," VA SUN employee Aaron Sutch explained.
Everyone at the meeting at the Urban Farmhouse was interested in going solar. Sigora Solar reps explained how the systems work and how it pays for itself in about nine years. This peaked the interest of Alliance Group's CEO. His almost 5,000 square foot building in the Fan has a huge roof that could
easily support solar.
"I've got a black roof that's absorbing energy. Why am I not absorbing it into use and making electricity?" said Rob Jones, who is looking to make a sound, environmental choice but doesn't have the time to manage all the details. "Selecting the contractor, secondly, managing the contractor after they come in and the follow-up and warranties... They've been successful on [sic] other parts of Virginia."
Jon's slate roof could hold the panels, but not the best choice for this project. In a few months, his car will charge using his ground mounted system in the back of his back yard. "I don't have a long bucket list. To see my electric meter running backwards is the top of the list," Baker said.
There is a 30 percent tax credit for residential or commercial solar systems, making them even more affordable than ever.
April 30th is last day to join the co-op. You can click here to sign up.
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