Some are on roofs, others on pedestals in open areas. These large panels are helping their owners be thrifty on their power bills as the state strives to become more dependent on renewable energy. Not only can they be found in residential areas, but also on commercial buildings and businesses.

Community State Bank in Franklin has a 10-kilowatt system on its roof. It was installed last summer, and Vice President Chris Gordon says it has been a successful project for the facility.

With incentives from the federal and state governments, as well as use of the power it makes, Gordon says “there is a short turnaround on its payback.”

 Gordon mentions that a solar system could be a big advantage for farmers. Energy costs are often quite high due to things like grain drying activities, livestock cooling systems and various mechanical needs.

Near Modesto, the Turner family, including Blake, who farms with his father Brad, has recently taken to this idea. Just before the first of the year they had a 25-kilowatt system installed to power their farm operation. “This system was built for us and is for our use on the farm,” explains Blake Turner. “There was a tax incentive at the time, so we got some money back from the installation cost.” With the money they also received back from the federal government, the payments from their solar renewable energy credits and the use of the power they produce, Turner expects the system to have paid for itself in about four years. [click for full article]