Largest Solar Panel in Tri-Cities Set to Save Business Owner Money

Published May 18, 2011

“We’ve installed 10 solar systems within the last 12 months in the Tri-Cities,” LightWave Solar Electric Lead Installer Paul Sutton said. “Seven residential, three commercial.”

Although businesses qualify for government grants when it comes to solar energy projects, Sutton says homeowners do not. However, Sutton says there are still incentives to go solar, including a tax credit. Still, it takes more than twice as long for a homeowner to see a return on his or her investment compared to a business owner, Sutton said.

“Commercially, you can have a five-year return on investment,” Sutton said. “10-12 years to 14 years return on investment for homeowners. Installation of a residential system can cost anywhere from the mid teens to $100,000 or more depending on the size of the system.”

For Nelson, it’s not all money. It’s about doing his part to help save the environment.

“It just made so much sense to harness (solar power) and make use of it, than not have to mine any coal, not have to mine oil,” Nelson said. “This way the TVA through the Johnson City Power Board buys all of our electrical production, so it goes out into the grid and everybody gets to use it.”