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Friday, July 24, 2009

Solar panels: Lead by doing

From a letter to the editor of the River Falls Journal by River Falls mayor Don Richards:

Congratulations to James Freeman, a progressive Main Street building owner in River Falls.

Mr. Freeman has received a grant from Wisconsin Focus on Energy to help him put solar panels on the roof of the Whole Earth Grocery. He is the first building owner in downtown River Falls to do his part to join the switch to clean, renewable energy.

He also has secured a revolving loan from the city in this effort.

The panels will produce electricity that will be purchased by WPPI:Energy and will reduce his utility bill. The payback on his investment will be approximately 5-6 years.

We need other businesses to step forward in the same manner. It is only when solar panels are manufactured in great numbers because of great demand that economies of scale will drop the cost so it is competitive with that of coal, now commonly used to produce electricity (and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas).

And just as was the case with computers and microchips, the efficiency of the panels will increase as research, spurred by demand, will develop improved versions of the panels.

Mr. Freeman, is helping the city “Lead By Example,” as we were asked to do by WPPI Energy.

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