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Hudson -- Whether residents are concerned about the environment or want to save money on their electric bill, solar panel power could be the answer.
The Hudson Environmental Awareness Committee hosted the first Hudson Solar Symposium April 19 at the Hudson Library and Historical Society.
A veteran of the solar industry and Environmental Awareness Committee member Jess Ennis presented "The Amazing Story of Solar Power, and a Crash Course" on solar-electric power. The slide show presentation explained how solar photovoltaic technology works, the history and development of the technology, the economic landscape of solar power and a practical how-to introduction for adopting solar power for homes and businesses, especially those in Hudson.
"We've seen such dramatic change in the solar landscape in just the last couple years, especially regarding costs," Ennis said. "A solar-electric system now costs about half of what it did just a few years ago, and the payback on a system from reduced electricity costs is the quickest it's ever been."
Co-sponsor of the Solar Symposium was Hudson City Council member Casey Weinstein, who, as a member of the Leadership Hudson Class of 2015, worked with Ennis to develop Hudson's 17.5-kilowatt solar-electric system at the Barlow Community Center, a combination rooftop and ground-mounted solar showcase that now generates about 40 percent of the center's electricity use and marks its first anniversary of operation on Earth Day in April.
"The Barlow Community Center solar project created a lot of interest in solar here," said Weinstein, "and many of Council's Hudson constituents are now expressing a keen interest in knowing how to go about adopting solar power."
Weinstein said he had just had solar panels added to his home. Two other residents shared their positive experiences with solar panels on their homes.
"Is solar power practical and cost effective and can it save the world?" Ennis asked.
His answer: Yes.
"This is an energy revolution," Ennis said. "Since humans lived in caves, they have burned things for energy. With solar power, this is a way to generate energy without burning anything. We get power directly from sunlight."
One of the great advantages of solar is there are no moving parts, nothing mechanical and nothing to break down, Ennis said. The panels have a warranty for 25 years.
By comparison, the warranty on wind power devices is about five years because of all the moving parts, he said.
The advantage of solar it it's tremendous longevity, Ennis said. In addition, a solar system is completely modular. It can be built to any size and shape.
"The size depends on how much electricity you want to produce," Ennis said.
Unlike other energy sources, solar won't run out. All the energy used by all humans on the planet in one year could be produced by the sun in 40 minutes, Ennis said.
"Sunny is money," he said. "It is an economic investment with environmental benefits."
The reasons for going solar are many, Ennis said. It decreases electricity's cost, has low maintenance, a 25 year warranty, many tax credit incentives and decrease costs for systems for both residential and businesses.
Hudson residents who purchase power from Hudson Public Power can have a maximum size of 10 kw solar power. Commercial businesses can have 200 kw solar power.
For more information, go to greenenergyoh.org or call Hudson Public Power at 330-342-1750.