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Solar converters: green energy is equal to money in the bank



"I love it," he said and looked up. "It's money."

In April, Browne officially became a solar converter when he and his wife Dawn had 60 solar panels installed at their lush housing along the Blackhoof River. The couple had 48 panels attached to the east and west roofs of a bar barn, turned into a sun-lattice, and 12 panels were laid on the south-facing roof of a home they share with a boarder's dog.

It is one of the more robust housing systems in Northland, said sources, designed so that Brownes will create 100 percent of the energy they need while sending what they do not use back to the mains. Already, they have received electricity bills that show numbers in the red ̵

1; meaning that Minnesota Power owes them money for the produced power beyond what they used.

"I was tired of getting a Minnesota Power Bill every month that was more than $ 300 a month, and I thought," There must be a better way. "Sa Browne.

The station on the Carlton County roads to the Browne home contained a couple of other homes with deep blue suns. A Bloomberg report last week said nearly half of the world's electricity comes from renewable energy by 2050, as The cost of wind, solar and battery storage continues to fall.

"I had to sign a form saying I'm an energy producer," Browne said.

Browne agreed to talk to News Tribune about system charges and the incentive programs available through Minnesota Power and the Federal Government On arrival, he produced a paper that describes everything:

  • Total Cost of the System: $ 78,641

  • Minnesota Power Discount: $ 17,805

  • Federal 30 Percent Tax: $ 23,592

  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $ 37,244

Brownes system is designed for 21.6 kilowatt hours, while in clear sky and sun, the system has so far peaked at 17.6. It is suitable and we still produce 5.1 kilowatt hours of gray sky, "Browne said.

He is able to track his energy production and consumption using eGauge measurement applications on the computer and smartphone.

Retired from both Northwest Airlines and Minnesota, Browne now produces dog food in a small business out of home. His wife also runs a ceramic stove in the basement of their home, which is heated mainly by electric base plates and electric plates in basement floors.

With the new system, Browne can now walk around the house, disconnect a freezer when it goes and see exactly how much energy it uses. On a recent trip with the Naval buddies, he noticed a spike in energy use and called home to joke with Dawn: "You're running an oven aren't you?" "

The Browns used the All Energy Solar of St. Paul to construct, install, and monitor their system. Marilea Griggs is a senior project coordinator there, helping to work with the family. Early solar home dwellers had a lot of money ahead of installing their systems. systems, but it changes as energy costs increase by an average of 3% each year, as Brownes, which took out a loan of 3.49% interest in its out-of-pocket costs, resembles the addition of solar arrays to own in Instead of renting energy.

"There are many different motivations," Said Griggs. "For some people it gets them closer to getting out of the grid and becoming more energy-independent. For other people, they know it's going to be greener. People like Kevin and Dawn would invest in their home. "

The goal is for the customer's installment loan to be paid to replace what had been a monthly utility payment," said Griggs.

Minnesota Power has offered some sort of sunbathe program that goes back to 2004, but it has never been so popular as It is now that previous discount programs used to have total annual expenses of up to $ 100,000, but under the current program, called SolarSense, around 74 applicants go into more than $ 730,000 in rebates in 2019.

"We really have Increased budget a lot, "says Minnesota Power Customer Service Representative Paul Helstrom." With our rebate and federal tax credit, we (solar) bring down an area where people can make a reasonable assumption that their system will pay for itself in the next 10 "19659002] Solar energy returned to the web helps Minnesota Power on its way to a target of 45 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commissio n will consider an extension of the SolarSense program in January. Currently, there are 13 families on the waiting list. The final dollars are available at first come first served. The average discount is $ 10,000, Helstrom said. The program is paid out after a system is installed and inspected. With the construction season in bloom, Helstrom said that Northland is busy with installers who complete current projects.

For Browne, the Solar Investment Tax Credit from the US Department of Energy will go towards covering its annual federal tax liability.

"Basically, I won't pay federal taxes for years," he said.

At his kitchen table he showed various tracking screens on his laptop screen. One revealed how much energy some solar panels produced in real time. In another graph, red spikes indicated energy consumption and green marks that excess energy was produced.

"It's called web metering," Browne said. "When it's green, the meters go back and energy goes back to the grid."

The kit of the result he pointed out: "This green here is money back to me."


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