Power in the Hands of Solar

While working at KBIA, the NPR affiliate in Columbia, Mo., on Thursday, I was assigned to do a story about a couple in Fulton, Mo., that installed solar panels on their home’s roof. Of course, I was immediately excited to do the story because of its environmental angle, but also because of something called “net metering” that was mentioned in the Fulton Sun’s article on the couple.

Net metering is basically a system in which those who use renewable energy sources in their home, like solar, will receive credit for any excess electricity generated by that source. So, after the electric company deducts the energy that Judy McKinnon and Jim Stevermer, the Fulton couple, consume they will see if they generated more energy with their solar panels. If so, the couple gets a check from the city.

This may sound like a pretty sweet deal, but the problem is solar panels are still really expensive. I haven’t yet interviewed the couple, but I can already guess that low energy bills aren’t the main reason for going solar. Some say it can take years and years to finally earn back your investment, so it’s likely this couple is very passionate about the environment.

Whatever the reason, I think it will be a great story and I can’t wait to talk to this couple to see what inspired them to make the change.