Community

Bellevue couple adds solar panels to home

by Jennifer Sierra

A couple living in Bellevue, Kentucky added solar panels to their home last year. Kevin Miles and Sue Wernke bought the home and renovated it in 2014 and love the neighborhood. They were given a Stewardship Award last year for their renovations by the city of Bellevue. Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 1.31.56 PM

Being a couple that embraces modern technology and the green movement toward conservation, they decided to add solar panels to the roof of their detached garage. So far the investment appears to be a sound financial decision. “Since August 1st, 2015, I have spent a net of $40.00 on electricity,” Kevin miles stated. Their home is 1700 square feet of living space. “I use less energy because I try. I have converted all of my lights to LED or compact fluorescent. Now my entire kitchen is lit with about 45 watts. If I got rid of my air conditioning, I would be producing about 120% of my energy.” While Kevin has no plans to get rid of his AC, he likes to point out what an energy hog air conditioning and heat systems can be. “I looked around the house and tried to identify things that sucked juice. TV’s that are plugged in use 200 watts of energy just sitting there in the standby position.”

Kevin added a new furnace in his house last winter. His new furnace is 97% efficient. “I am reducing my energy usage and producing energy with the solar panels. I’ll produce 90% of what I consume. After tax rebates it was about a $5400.00 investment. It was a DIY so that helped me a lot. If I hired someone to do the panel installation, it would have cost about $9000.00. People ask me how much does it cost? How long does it take before it pays itself off? I took a loan out for the $5400.00, my monthly energy savings almost pays for the monthly loan payment. The panels pay for themselves and then they make me $50.00 a month once the loan is paid off. If Duke Energy raises rates, it pays off the loan that much faster.”

In Kevin’s research for the project, he discovered a company that will put solar panels on your home for free and you get 15% off of your energy bill. All you have to do is agree to let this company put panels on your roof. The company is called Solar City. If you don’t have the money to invest in a solar system but you want to help the environment, this may be a good option. Just because one lives in an urban neighborhood, doesn’t mean they can’t be green.

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