Nursery opts for solar power to heat greenhouses, cut costs

StatesmanJournal – Salem, Oregon
May 1, 2006

SILVERTON — Tim Peters, the owner of Raintree Tropical, is going solar.

Summers Solar Systems last week began installing 132 electric solar panels, which spread to 177 feet long, that will generate power in an effort to conserve fossil fuels, energy and utility costs.

The project will generate enough power to light more than 20,000 100-watt light bulbs. It is three times the size of the 7,500-watt system installed three years ago at the state Capitol.

Peters’ nursery has been selling exotic tropical plants for years. It takes a large amount of energy to keep the temperature ideal for plants accustomed to a hot, humid environment. Peters’ vision is to cut his yearly energy use and utility costs in half.

State and federal tax credits also are given to those who benefit the environment in similar ways. Peters will receive a 30 percent federal-tax credit and a 35 percent state-tax credit. With those reimbursements, Peters’ solar system is on track to pay for itself in four years.

“I’m probably going to cut my electrical reliance by about 30 to 40 percent,” Peters said. “It’s significant. I will generate at least four months of my utility bills paid for by this system. Basically, during the summer, I won’t need power.”

— Dan Bischoff

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