Selecting Solar Sustainability – The Post

Selecting Solar Sustainability – The Post

When driving through a hilly Athens neighborhood, or even down bustling East State Street, it is more common than ever to see solar panels on residential homes and city properties.

Renewable energy sources, like solar, have become easier to implement as an alternative to nonrenewable energy to power homes and businesses. People in Athens and throughout the country have become increasingly aware of their ecological footprint and what they can do to reduce it.

Multiple non-profit organizations within the city of Athens, such as Rural Action and the Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council, are working with residents and businesses interested in implementing solar energy alternatives. Athens City Council has also been potentially looking to invest in solar energy across the city and is planning a project with Third Sun Solar.

Over the past few decades, climate scientists have stressed the importance of reducing harm to the planet from climate change, and in some circumstances, solar energy can help do so.

Solar energy is a renewable energy source that can be used to power homes and businesses using panels that capture energy from the sun. Residents of Athens and local businesses are taking a chance on solar energy in hopes of reducing their overall carbon footprint and possibly saving money on their electric bills.

The city recommends a few local solar panel installers like Third Sun Solar, Appalachian Renewable Power Systems and Athens Electric to supply solar power to homes and businesses in the local area.

To have solar panels installed at a business or home, there are different permit processes based on which one the installation is for. Third Sun Solar and Ohio American Electric Power, or AEP, both offer free consultations for homeowners and businesses and send crews to install solar panels locally.

For residential homes, panels can be secured on rooftops or on the grounds of a property. Residents can submit an application to the city by mail or at the code office. There is a $50 application fee, which is then applied to the final cost of a permit.

John Schmieding, resident of Athens, said he wanted to use solar energy to reduce his carbon footprint. The panels on his roof have been installed for around 4 years, and they have lowered his electric bill with the AEP Ohio division significantly.

“In terms of cost, I think our projection was eight to nine years to basically pay (the solar panels) off from savings and then after that it’s all savings,” Schmeiding said. “But I think one of the primary reasons (for using solar) is really about climate change. The electricity we were getting before was often being generated by coal, and that was not a good thing. So the fact that we’re doing it from panels and not producing any pollutants nor any greenhouse gasses, that’s really our primary thing.”

Schmieding also added that the panels cut his energy bill down, and that the billing process is simple for AEP.

“But I think one of the primary reasons (for using solar) is really about climate change. The electricity we were getting before was often being generated by coal, and that was not a good thing. So …….

Source: http://projects.thepostathens.com/SpecialProjects/athens-county-ohio-solar-power-energy-sustainability-green-rural-action/

Solar Panel Installation