Transitions generally unfold gradually, but for us a relatively dramatic transformation took placed recently. The wind turbine that had supplied all our electrical needs for 7 years had been irreparably damaged in a storm. Last week it was removed from it’s lofty perch and the tower dismantled. A changed landscape lies before us as we look to the west. But harvesting our own energy from free resources is too good to pass up, so the evolution of Woodpecker Hill continues.
Seven years ago when we launched the turbine, small wind generation was the most cost effective option for folks in our situation, not so today. The price of installed photo-voltaic (PV) solar is now less than 1/3 of what it was at that time while small turbine prices remain about the same. Solar is the clear choice this time. A new ground-mounted PV system that will supply all our electrical needs will soon grace our western horizon.
There’s never been a better time to harvest this free, clean energy source. With a 30% federal tax credit and up to $2,400 cash back from Focus on Energy average homeowners break even in about 5 yrs. After that, it’s free energy for years to come.
Not ready to take the solar plunge? Energy efficiencies like properly maintained / upgraded heating and cooling systems, Energy Star appliances and LED lighting are even more cost effective than adding PV. Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program provides financial incentives to up-grade.
And talk about transitions - a major one could be heading through Southwest Wisconsin. You may be helping pay for a half-billion dollar power line expansion. As proposed, 125 miles of 170 ft. tall towers (like those along Madison’s south beltline) would traverse our countryside. Alternatively, we could demonstrate that this expense is unnecessary by increasing our homegrown (PV) energy and increasing efficiencies. Household by household we can both save money and foster a cleaner environment right here where we’re forever…Earthbound.