Residents of Three Village are slowly becoming aware of the benefits of having a solar energy electrical system.
Data requested from LIPA by Three Village Patch show the number of solar energy installations in the community rose quickly in 2010 and 2011, and in 2012 still showed an increase over 2009. According to LIPA:
- 2009: 3 solar electrical systems installed
- 2010: 21 solar electrical systems installed
- 2011: 24 solar electrical systems installed
- 2012: 8 solar electrical systems installed
Joe Milillo, vice president of Islandia-based solar installation company Long Island Power Solutions Inc., which has performed 60 installations in 2012 alone, said from an investment standpoint, a solar electrical system is a great investment.
"Panel prices have come down over the years. There are government and LIPA incentives which will pay about two-thirds of your system’s cost," he said. "The balance could be in a finance deal. People don’t really have to take any money out of their pocket to make this thing happen."
According to Milillo, the actual installation only takes a couple of days and there isn’t much for the homeowner to actually do. "It just kind of sits up there and produces energy," he said.
However, he said, there's at least one myth people believe about solar energy electrical systems.
"They think that they’ll get power in case of a blackout," he said. "Most solar panel systems will not produce any power in a blackout unless you have a power backup system."
Solar energy systems are only one part of the growing renewable energy market. According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website, renewable energy “is derived from sources that are regenerative or for all practical purposes can not be depleted.” Some of these energy resources include wind, moving water, geothermal heat, and sunlight. Three Village even has its own energy technology research engine – the AERTC at Stony Brook University – exploring those areas. Renewable energy has many benefits, chief among them a lighter impact on our environment and reduced dependence on foreign oil.
No one knows that better than Bruce Raupp, a 37-year resident of Stony Brook, who recently had a solar electrical system installed in his home.
"I’m 100 percent trying to be self sufficient without having me line the utility companies' pockets," said Raupp, who also has a solar hot water heater and a fireplace insert to heat his house with firewood. "For the energy you save, it’s incredible. Other people with their utilities are paying through the nose. My electric bill is as low as $42 for two months."
Not only that, he said, but he'll actually get a rebate check from LIPA whenever his solar electrical system produces surplus energy.
While the solar electrical system for his home cost $44,000, he only paid $11,000 after receiving financial incentives from LIPA and the federal government.
"I would recommend solar panels highly. For the money you outlay, it is well worth it," he said. "It pays you back. You improve the value of your house, you wind up with energy, your electric bill is down, and you come out ahead."