Solar Energy Systems saving money with the sun

NAPPANEE — With energy costs regularly rising, people living in this inconsistent economy might consider investing now to save more in the long run. The specialists at Solar Energy Systems in Nappanee can help people do just that — whether they are trying to save energy costs in their home or business, or wanting to generate energy to power anything from feeding systems on their farm to reducing generator time on their RVs, or operating the lights on their buggies.
Inside the store, shoppers can peruse a variety of batteries and solar panels from 10- to 220-watts, or check out the 14-foot, solar-powered freezer, or get more information from owner Brian Burkholder or sales manager Dave Parcell.
Burkholder started up the business in 2006 which grew out of his home office to the present Nappanee location in 2011. Most of Solar Energy System's customer's needs involve residences, farms and businesses and the business' distribution branches into 26 states and six countries.
Acquiring solar energy is fairly simple. Solar panels convert the sun's energy into electricity and then an inverter changes the electricity allowing it to power devices plugged into electrical outlets (already installed), and any excess energy generated flows through the meter to offset the customer's electric bill. And solar energy generation isn't only on bright, 90-degree days. "On an overcast day you can generate up to 60 percent output from the solar panel and even when it's raining, you can still get 10 to 15 percent," Parcell explained.
Not only can solar and wind-powered improvements save money on a customer's overall utility bills, it can also save money through a Federal Tax Credit.
"Before 2009 the credit would max at $2,000 (toward energy-efficient improvements)," explained Parcell. "But now, for any renewable solar energy system there is a 30 percent credit with no maximum, and that includes the product and its installation."
Savings can also be found for those connected to NIPSCO's electricity.
"They have an attractive program made available that a lot of people take advantage of," Parcelll explained. "If you put a system in per their guidelines, they will pay you 30 cents per every 10 kilowatts that the system generates."
Those involved in NIPSCO's "feed-in tariff" program actually make money from the extra power they generate using solar power, but they can't use it themselves; it goes to NIPSCO for 15 years; and it has to be a system that generates no less than 5kW and no more than 5MW. Net metering is similar but NIPSCO customers using solar energy are metered and can receive credit for any electricity they are generating beyond what they are using which can then be applied to future usage of NIPSCO's energy.
Solar Energy Systems offers after-sale customer support including 24-hour emergency assistance, finance options, free estimates, at- site evaluations, and can size systems to each individual or business' solar (or wind system) needs. Insured, experienced and dependable staff also offer customers high-quality, durable products. Parcell explains why he feels his business has fastly become so poplar.
"Our solar panels are all American-made," he said. "We first meet with the client and talk with them and take a look at their electric bills to determine what their needs are. Panels need to be facing south so we see if they need a roof or ground mount with a racking system and go from there. Costs are not just clean cut. We look at every client on a case-by-case basis. It all depends on the size of the project, what all needs to be done, and what the client is trying to achieve."
Those that want to find ways to save on energy costs can contact Solar Energy Systems to use nature's cleanest power source. Solar Energy Systems is located at 1952 W. Market St., Nappanee. Learn more by calling 574-773-0546, emailing sales manager Dave Parcell at, or owner Brian Burkholder at, or visiting online.
Additionally, inside the business is sister company Amerilight, an LED light bulb business run by Antony Zimmerman from which customers can save even more money. Contact him at 574-646-2150 or email