Local business owner Mike Williams recently added solar panels to his building.
Williams’ decision to implement solar panels has been motivated by both his interest in building a sustainable future and his interest in making economically sound decisions for his business at 475 Pennsylvania Ave.
“If we can harvest that passive energy of the sun, how much better will we be as an earth,” Williams said.
Williams recently joined the Ohio Sun Co-Op. According to the its website, “Co-op members purchase solar systems together to save money and share knowledge. The group uses a competitive bidding process to select a single company that will install systems on all of the participating homes. Each participant signs a contract with the installer, but everyone gets the bulk discount.”
In the case of Delaware’s co-op, the selected company is Third Sun Solar.
David Zelasko, who works as a solar consultant for Third Sun Solar, said more than 90 people in Delaware County have gotten estimates for solar panels.
Solar estimates involve several steps, according to Zelasko.
First, consultants take an electricity bill and see how much energy the building tends to use per month. Then, they take a look at the roof on Google maps to see how well solar panels will fit. In Williams’ case, he is happy to have his perfectly flat roof, which makes installing solar panels much simpler. A consultant then visits the building and measures the roof, analyzes shade and looks at the electrical configuration of the site.
A final design can then be created, which is then used to obtain appropriate permits.
According to Zelasko, “the civil payback” is the number of years it takes for savings in electricity bills to be higher than the initial cost of installing the solar panel system. In Ohio, civil payback will generally be reached in “8 to 12 years.
Zelaso contends the system will “probably last 30 years.”
In addition, there’s a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar installation, he said. This credit was recently extended to 2019.
With the assistance of the co-op, Williams said that it “seemed like a good time to step froward and grab a part of the sun to work our energy. It’s taken Williams Insurance 80 years to get to the solar age,” he said.
More information about the co-op can be found at www.ohsun.org/delaware/. According to Program Director Luke Sulfridge, the deadline to sign up for the co-op has been extended to Monday.