Robbinsdale Mayor Touts Benefits of Solar Panels

4:13 pm | Monday, May 24, 2021

Warmer Minnesota weather marks the unofficial start of the home improvement season. Every day, Brad Couet and his crew climb onto someone else’s roof to do one of those home improvement jobs.

“Usually we can finish a house in a day, depending on the size of the house,” said Couet of CR Solar. “Typical hiker, eight-hour job and we’re out.”

But the house he’s working on isn’t your typical hiker or your ordinary roofing job.

It is the home of Mayor Bill Blonigan in Robbinsdale, who decided to make his home greener by installing solar panels.

Forty-eight to be precise.

“We will save money in the future,” said Blonigan. “The electricity tariffs will rise by 14 percent next year. We will not take part in this because we will have our electricity produced here. “

A representation of what Bill Blonigan’s roof with the solar panels looks like.

Programs help with costs

According to Blonigan, this particular line of solar panels is priced at $ 58,000, but the cost is offset by a tax credit of $ 15,000 and a solar rewards program through Xcel Energy, which is another $ 13,000 in exchange for those from the solar system provides generated energy.

The remaining $ 31,000 will ultimately be paid out by Blonigan through energy savings.

“The payback is almost instantaneous,” he said. “When I saw this program from Xcel Energy and the federal tax credit that is going to decrease a bit in the future, I thought now is the time to bet on it.”

Blonigan isn’t the only one taking the opportunity.

The CR Solar crew says their schedules are fully booked, in large part due to the benefits of Xcel Energy.

Granted, Minnesota isn’t exactly the sunniest place to be in the winter months, but Couet says it shouldn’t be a deterrent.

“A lot of people think they won’t get any energy in winter,” said Couet. “That is not the case. Even under snow, these panels produce energy, and you normally build up enough energy points in the summer so that you can benefit from them well into the winter.”

In the end, however, Blonigan says that Mother Nature will be the real beneficiary. Now he hopes his neighbors will follow suit.

“You can do it, and it doesn’t cost anything to hear a presentation from one of these companies,” said Blonigan.


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