NAPOLI, NY – Glenn Wahl expects to make enough electricity by using the solar panels he recently installed that he may be able to sell some of that energy back.
Wahl, a retired teacher from the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District, said he installed the panels because he wanted to reduce his carbon footprint while having concerns about where electricity is produced, such as nuclear facilities he does not want to support.
“It’s so important for America to become energy-independent,” Wahl said.
In order for that to happen, he said, people need to use appropriate alternative technology such as wind or solar power. For instance, he said, he could have spent the money he used for the solar panels on something else, but, it’s an “insurance” he will always have electricity. Besides, he said, it’s just a good idea.
Wahl said that in his opinion, the mid-Eastern wars are because of oil.
“We spend the most on military … to protect our interest in foreign resources,” he said.
If other resources are found so there is not a dependency on foreign oil, Wahl said it will “help us politically, with national security and economically.” In addition, he said, using alternatives such as solar power like he does helps to create a demand for more manufacturing of alternative sources. Wahl said most environmental issues are based on energy consumption that he thinks have gotten “out of control.”
Wahl’s ex-wife, Ruth, a teacher at Allegany-Limestone, was also considering solar panels. She found a company from which to buy them, and the two purchased the panels.
Wahl said the panels are a 5.2-kilowatt system. The two are each 10 by 15 feet, and each have 3-by-5-foot panels. They were expensive, about $43,000, he said, but a $22,000 New York State Energy Research and Development grant he secured to purchase them brought the cost down, as did the $5,000 he will get off taxes, not to mention the panels paying themselves off in about 10 years due to his electric bills going from between $60 to $80 a month to about $16 a month currently, with that expected to result in him being able to sell electricity back if he chooses.
“My meter’s spinning backward,” he said, adding he is making more electricity than he is using. With electric rates expected to increase, he said the panels should pay themselves off faster, and they have a 30-year life span.
“I’m confident the sun will provide all of my electricity,” Wahl said.
Since his house is heated with wood, Wahl said he only uses fuel to run his chainsaw and van.
The Jamestown Post-Journal
By Sharon Turano