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The owners of Rare Earth Goods have installed the largest solar installation to date in Ishpeming and the second largest in Marquette County. Sixty seven solar panels power the 30 kilowatt system, which spans the entire 96 by 63 foot surface area of the building’s roof. (Courtesy photo)

ISHPEMING Pam and Dan Perkins have been called Ishpeming new couple. owners of Rare Earth Goods at 200 E. Division St. have installed the largest solar installation to date in Ishpeming and the second largest in Marquette County with the first being the Marquette Board of Light and Power community solar garden.

Dan Perkins said the system is expected to provide two thirds of the power requirements for the entire building, which includes Rare Earth Goods and Cafe and Jean Tax Service on the main floor, as well as six upper level apartments.

And saving money on a formidable $1,400 per month electric bill is one of the primary motivating factors, Dan Perkins said.

Pam Perkins, co owner of Rare Earth Goods, stands next to the system’s electronics. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

have decreased our heating and hot water costs substantially by installing high efficiency gas furnaces and hot water heaters and a super tight insulation package, he said, the electric bill was killing us. Solar in Marquette installed the system in about three weeks. Company founder Ian Olmsted said between the estimated $900 per month savings on the building electric bill and the tax credit afforded the business, the Perkinses investment in the system should pay for itself in a short amount of time.

a business you can file for a Business Energy Investment Tax Credit which allows your business to write off 30 percent of the installed cost of the solar system, Olmsted said. addition, they were awarded a grant for the system through the USDA Rural Energy for America Program. With all those things put together they will get paid back within three and a half years. USDA REAP grants provide guaranteed loan financing and grant funding for agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems, Olmsted said.

the price of solar panels dropped last year, we are busier than ever installing solar on residences. But it really makes sense for a business with the tax credit, he said. over the course of a year, that 30,000 kilowatt hours the panels are producing, that 30,000 kilowatt hours they are not buying from their utility.

Master Electrician Jay Clancey, who handled the permit scheduling for the project, said while the system will not bank power for later use, any excess power it produces will go back into the grid for credits on the utility bill.

will produce most of the power for the building on any given day, if it a nice sunny day, Clancey said. nice German panels up there, it surprising how much they can produce even on a hazy day. said the project is the largest solar installation he has been involved with.

probably four times bigger than anything I have been involved with when it comes to solar, Clancey said. it a no brainer. When you consider the amount they will be saving on electric bills alone plus the tax credits just makes sense. Pam Perkins mind, the city she lives and works in is well worth the investment.

believe in Ishpeming, she said. is a long term investment that will pay back years from now, but we will be here for the long run as well. This is where we want to invest our money. Bowers can be reached at 906 228 2500, ext. 242.
dr martens black brogues Let the sun shine