Johnson County Homeowners Go Solar

The Grow Solar Linn + Johnson Counties solar group has added solar panels to 28 properties in Johnson County. Signs were added to 64 properties in the two counties.

Homeowners in eastern Iowa have installed dozens of solar panels on their homes this year, with help from a local solar organization.

The Grow Solar Linn + Johnson Counties group this year partnered with 28 homeowners to bring solar power to properties in Johnson County. The group has installed 64 solar panels in total between the two counties.

Through this year’s group purchase with Johnson and Linn counties, the solar group added 557 kilowatts of solar power to participant properties, solar program director for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Peter Murphy said. The association has partnered with the counties to administer the program.

Since 2017, the Grow Solar Linn + Johnson County Group installed 3,321 kilowatts of solar power at 477 properties that switched to solar power as a source of electricity.

Johnson County, which started this program in 2018, has added solar panels to 249 properties within the county limits.

Murphy said the partnership with the two counties has been mutually beneficial.

“There’s this kind of myth around solar power that it’s the technology of the future, and a lot of what we do is let people know, under the circumstances, that it can happen today. hui quite easily, ”he said.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association has been making these bulk purchases since 2013, Murphy said, and has conducted 50 of the programs with counties, municipalities and local organizations across the Midwest.

association mission is to promote renewable energy through education and demonstration.

The Grow Solar program, which ended on September 30, provided owner education before installation on the operation of solar energy through free educational presentations.

Murphy said there was a need to educate the public because people attending these presentations often have misconceptions about solar power, such as panels despite inclement weather and the allegedly high price of switching to power. solar.

“[A] the misconception is that solar power is really expensive and not worth the investment, ”he said. “In general, solar will amortize. It’s really just a matter of the time horizon on your specific site.

Becky soglin, sSustainability coordinator for Johnson County said solar panels provide sustainable energy even during the winter months.

“There will be a decrease in energy production during the colder months, but where we live here in Iowa, there is a good sun profile as long as there is enough sunlight for it. that many people have an interest in adding this solar to their roofs, ”Soglin said.

The installation of the panels for the program was carried out by solar energy company Eagle Point Solar, which was competitively selected for this year’s program and was also the installers of last year’s program, a Murphy said.

Lynn Roth, Marketing Director for Eagle Point Solar, said people are not only helping to protect the environment by switching to solar power, but are also reducing the amount they spend on electricity bills.

“Most of our customers’ electricity bills are very low,” he said. “Often it’s just a connection fee to stay connected to a utility, which is often $ 15 to $ 20 per month, but in some cases we’ve seen monthly utility bills reset to zero. I actually saw utility bills crediting people’s accounts.

Roth said the signs installed on attendee properties are durable and built to last.

“These signs last for decades,” he said. “They have a 25 year warranty on them and they should last over forty years in the field.”

Murphy said the problem with producing electricity from traditional natural gas is that homeowners have no equity in the production of electricity.

“Every landowner fundamentally understands the benefit of having equity in the property they live in,” he said. “So when you buy a solar panel, you build up equity and you own your power generation. “

Soglin said working with Linn County was very important because the collaboration was the first time Johnson County had been part of a solar power buying group beyond county borders.

“At the end of the day, when you tackle the issues of climate change and sustainability, we’re going to really need regional action, and that makes us partly more resilient as a community as a whole,” she said. declared.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story indicated that the 28 solar-powered houses were in both Linn and Johnson counties. While other houses have incorporated solar power in Linn, Johnson County was the county responsible for these specific changes. This inaccuracy has been corrected and The Iowan Daily regret this error.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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