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Solar Power SavingsThe 100 year-old house uses 200 to 1,150 watts a month. Once the solar panels start producing electricity, Becker expects to see her electric $200/ average monthly bill drop 64 percent. “Being an elected official I thought this was something that I could put the spotlight on because we can be among the most influential voices in our community,” she said. Tom Rutkowski, one of the organizers of SolaRacine, will also serve as the contact person for the contractors. The project includes informing the public on why solar is a practical and cost-effective way to generate energy for homes and businesses. They will also help spearhead area solar power projects in the greater Racine area. “This is really affordable and people just don’t know it yet because there are some forces working against it,” Rutkowski said when the project kicked off earlier this year.
Installation Takes DaysThe installation work on Becker’s home started Friday.
The Win-win-winThe SolaRacine project includes another element: Jobs. Racine youth enrolled in the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps are working with Current Electric to install the solar panels The students would have helped install Becker’s solar panels, but the pitch on the roof was too steep. They have been helping with other projects, though in other communities, Scott said. “I think they are having a lot of fun working on those projects and learning a lot,” he said. The cost for Becker to have solar panels installed was about $11,500, which included several credits. Within 10 years, the project will have paid for itself. She hopes more people in the community are inspired to do the same. “I want this to be the norm and I love that it’s a visual thing you can see happening,” she said. “If others are inspired to do it, that’s what I want.” .
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