After years of falling prices for solar power panels, costs have begun rising.
Shannon Fulton, the director of Illinois business development at Straight Up Solar, said that's not because China is starting to favoring solar power over fossil fuel.
"They do definitely have a big solar push. But honestly it wasn't until this trade case was announced that prices started to go up," said Fulton.
The Federal Trade Commission could decide whether to impose a tariff on Chinese and South Korean made solar panels as soon as next month for allegedly unfair trade practices, said Fulton.
Fulton is promoting the Illinois Solar Tour on Saturday in which people interested in solar panels for their homes can go and ask homeowners who have already done that how it works for them. She said IllinoisSolarTour.org has a list of homes and addresses on the tour including some in Bloomington-Normal.
Fulton said homeowners typically get questions related to how it works and whether Illinois' long winters make a difference.
"One little known fact is that in the middle of summer and August, Illinois solar actually outperforms Miama, Florida," said Fulton.
Fulton said says people who put solar modules on their homes usually pay them off in seven or eight years with energy savings. And she said the return on investment is usually faster than advertised.
A side benefit, Fulton said, is that people who install solar cells tend to start watching their energy use and become more efficient.
"Most people go solar for that reason, that it makes financial sense," said Fulton.
There are now more than 100 solar home systems in Champaign and McLean counties.
She said there are still very strong state incentives in place. Straight Up Solar, Fulton said, is also interested in running another group buy program for solar power, similar to one last year year in the Twin Cities.
You can also listen to GLT's full interview with Fulton:
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