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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Solar panels gain popularity

From an article by Molly Newman in the Marshfield News Herald:

When Doug Petznick's roof needed to be replaced last year, he invested $14,000 in the project -- about twice the average cost for a new roof. But thanks to federal and state green energy rebates, Petznick will end up paying only half of that amount for his solar electric roof.

Petznick is one of five Marshfield homeowners who have installed solar electric panels in the past year. He chose photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight into energy, both to save money in the long term and to reduce his family's carbon footprint.

He already was considering installing a metal roof when he arrived at Kulp's of Stratford and learned the company offers solar electric metal roofing, Petznick said.

John Maggitti, solar specialist at Kulp's, said the roofing and insulation company has been offering photovoltaic panels for about a year, since customers started asking about them two years ago.

Since last year, Kulp's has installed about 12 photovoltaic roofs statewide and has six more projects pending, Maggitti said.

The panels are an investment that offers an average 6.5 percent return after 15 years, Maggitti said. The systems last about 25 years, so homeowners can expect 10 years of profit on the investment.

"People are acutely aware that the cost of energy is rising, and there's no indication that the cost of energy is going to come down anytime in the future," Maggitti said.

Petznick said he saw an immediate change in his electric bill as a result of his installation, and he now pays about one-third less each month.

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