By Ralph Pokorny
Nevada Daily Mail
Solar power is becoming a readily available option for homeowners and businesses in the Vernon and Bates county areas, according to Jeff Droz, owner of Roof Power Solar in Rich Hill.
Droz, who has used solar power as his sole source of electricity at his house in the Rich Hill area for the last seven years, recently has started installing solar panels in the two counties, and in the last couple of weeks has installed two arrays in the Nevada area, one at Cash's Quality Electric office and shop, 111 N. Barrett, just north of Wilson Tire, and a large system at a rural Nevada residence, the location of which is being withheld because of security concerns.
And Droz said that he is working out the details for a large commercial system at the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers plant in the Nevada Industrial Park.
"I'm pretty excited to get one out there in a high visibility location," Droz said.
While the system Droz uses at his house uses batteries to supply power at night and on cloudy days, the ones that he is installing here are tied to the electric grid. The excess power each solar installation generates is purchased by KCP&L and when it's dark or cloudy, the owner purchases electricity from KCP&L.
He said the 17,000 watt system he installed on the residence will be equivalent to purchasing about $200 of electricity per month for the 25 year life of the system.
The homeowner said that the system he is installing is about 75 percent larger than is actually required for his current electricity needs, but he hopes to install electric heat soon to replace his wood heat, and eventually get an electric car that he will charge from his solar array.
A typical installation would generate 8 to 9 kilowatts of electricity each month, which is equivalent to about $100 of purchased electricity. The equipment would take three to four days to install, he said.
Droz said the 17,000 watt system would cost about $60,000 installed. However, KCP&L currently pays customers a $2 per watt rebate up to 50,000 watts, which equals about one-half the cost of a system, whether residential, commercial or government.
Droz also said there is a 30-percent tax credit, based on the gross system cost for commercial installations, and a 30 percent tax credit for residences based on the net installation cost.
"This reduces the payback to two to five years, depending on the mounting structure," that's used, he said.
The cost of the equipment varies; for example, roof mounts are less expensive than ground mounts, he said.
Droz said that he did not know how long these tax credits and rebates will be available.
Droz said he is subcontracting with Perry Cash of Cash's Quality Electric to do all of the electrical installation and with Tom Taylor, Nevada, for structural engineering work to make sure any building can handle the extra load.
Droz said the arrays are designed to withstand 90 mph winds, which is standard for this area.