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By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: May. 16, 2013 | Modified: May. 19, 2013
Light Conversation

Representatives from EcoLogical Energy Systems of Bristol, Tenn., will be at the Watauga County Public Library Saturday to talk about the advantages of using solar energy for home use.

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Like with any new or emerging technology, there are often myths and half-truths that could impede growth and sustainability.

Renewable energies, particularly solar and wind, are no less invulnerable.

To educate the public on the advantages of solar energy, while debunking any misconceptions, EcoLogical Energy Systems of Bristol, Tenn., will host an informative seminar Saturday, May 18, at the Watauga County Public Library.

The seminar, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon, is free to the public, and refreshments will be available.

“Solar energies is still a new market, and people need to learn about it," said Nick Safay, vice president of operations and development for EES. “We will be there to tell people what solar panels are, how they work and how they are installed.”

By installing solar panels in their homes, Safay said homeowners could reap financial benefits from reduced energy consumption, as well as incentives from the state and federal governments.
Unbeknownst to many skeptics, Safay said 95 percent of residential systems are tied back into the electric grids used by the power companies.

In some cases, customers are actually reimbursed from the power companies if the systems are tied to external usage meters.

“You’re still buying electricity from the power company, even though at the same time they are buying your electricity from you, as well,” Safay said.

There are also tax incentive programs available for those wishing to invest $20,000 into a system. A 30-percent federal income tax credit, coupled with a 35-percent incentive from North Carolina, could result in a whopping return for owners, Safay said.

The panels are also safe, reliable and efficient, he said.

“A lot of people will complain and say, ‘Well, I get hail storms, or there are a lot of golf balls that land in my yard,’ but these panels are rated for extreme durability,” Safay said. “We had a huge hail storm that came through Bristol one year and had no damage to any of the panels. They are very durable, meant to last and have great warranties.”

In addition, Safay said most homeowner’s insurance premiums cover any damages, and the panels can increase home values.

“Because of the huge growth (in the industry) the cost of installation has dropped 50 percent in two years,” he said.

For more information on the seminar, call (423) 573-4361 or visit
There are also local companies that provide renewable energy services.

The following is a list of some of those organizations.

Blue Ridge Energy Works LLC focuses on the reduction of fossil fuel dependency by increasing the use of domestic renewable energies, according to the company’s website. For more information, call (828) 355-9143 or visit

The Appalachian Institute of Renewable Energy has developed a process that allows third-party investors to develop renewable energy systems and make a modest return on their investment through tax credits and other incentives, according to the company. For more information, call (828) 268-5022 or visit

Solar Energy USA of Western North Carolina offers lighting retrofit services. For more information, call (828) 301-4895.

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