With all the state and federal incentives available, the time is right for homeowners to consider solar energy for their homes, Dan Knotter says.
The Naperville man is opening his home Saturday to show people how solar power works for him.
Knotter’s house is one of two homes, a church and a college in Naperville that will be spotlighted Saturday as part of the Illinois Solar Tour.
The free, self-guided tour hosted by Illinois Solar Energy Association gives the public an up-close look at the world’s fastest-growing source of energy and provides real-life examples of residents and business owners who decided to cut their utility bills by going solar.
The Naperville locations are just a few of the more than 100 homes and businesses across the state people can visit.
The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a full list of locations is available at www.illinoissolartour.org.
Knotter said he did a lot of research on solar energy before making the decision in July 2017 to have a 15-panel, 4.2-kW solar array installed on his south-facing roof at 903 Mortonsberry Drive.
“I am big proponent of lowering my carbon footprint,” in addition to saving money, Knotter said.
Realizing most Naperville residents are more about the bottom line, Knotter created a website — www.mysolarcalc.com – that walks users step by step through the process to determine if switching to solar energy is worth it for them.
“People don’t realize what incentives are available and how great they are,” Knotter said.
He estimates the solar energy he collects saved him $1,435 on his electric bill in the first year.
With the incentives today and in the improved technology, Knotter estimates the average homeowners could get their investment back in four years.
“I will get mine back in seven years,” he said.
Tour participants can also view the solar panels on Danny Curtis’ home at 1301 Windemere Ave.
He’s is one of those people who tapped Knotter’s knowledge before installing panels on his house. Curtis said he retired a year ago and was looking for ways to cut back on expense.
He estimates he saves between $150 and $200 a month on his energy bills. “In April my bill was $8,” Curtis said.
Besides the homes, people can check out a Naperville church and building on a college campus.
The 80 leased solar panels atop DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church at 1828 Old Naperville Road are fairly new. They were installed in June.
Church officials in a press release said the congregation is committed to encouraging the reduction of fossil fuels in energy production going as far as to use green-friendly products in every area that is available.
It’s still too early to tell how much electricity the panels will generate over the course of a year, officials said.
The lease contract on the panels runs for 15 years, after which the church can buy them for $1. The system is expected to last 30 to 35 years.
It’s been a few years since North Central College installed 1,632 solar photovoltaic panels and energy storage system on the roof of the Residence Hall/Recreation Center at 440 S. Brainard St. The array was projected to provide 22 percent of the electricity for building.
The building was an ideal choice to locate the 538.56 kW solar array because the four-story, 201,439-square-foot structure uses the most electricity of any building on campus and has the largest roof with no obstructions.
The 265-bed dormitory is wrapped around an NCAA-regulation indoor running track, multipurpose athletics courts, training room and fitness center.