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Solar Panels Save YWCA $14K

Solar panels
Solar Bloomington-Normal works to provide reduced price solar energy to residents and businesses.

The YWCA McLean County has saved about $14,000 in the 10 months since installing its 123-kilowatt solar panel.

Larissa Armstrong coordinates the Solar Bloomington-Normal program, which offers solar at a reduced cost. She said local solar program participants would expect a payback time of 10 years, but the YWCA is different. Its panel was installed in September 2017.

“I would imagine because the energy usage at the YWCA is significantly higher than at a home and their system is quite larger, that their payback is going to be a much shorter period of time than that,” Armstrong said.

Solar Bloomington-Normal has about 15 other participants under contract, totaling nearly 150 kilowatts of solar panel space.

Armstrong said the benefits of going solar including saving money on electricity and reducing carbon emissions. Within the first year of going solar, she expects the program’s 15 participants to save a combined total of $15,000.

“The average payback time with just energy savings alone for all of those systems combined is 10 years,” Armstrong said.

The 15 participants are also expected to reduce their combined carbon footprint by 250,000 pounds, she added.

Armstrong said there are high incentives of going solar, both locally and nationally. Federal incentives include a 30 percent tax credit available until 2019. She is hopeful residential solar will become more popular as people become aware of the benefits.

Solar Bloomington-Normal’s current program runs through Sept. 30. Residents interested in going solar at their home or business can attend a free information session have their property assessed by an installer before committing to go solar.

The next information session is Sept. 5 in the Town of Normal Multipurpose room at 6 p.m. More information can be found on their website.

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