Going Solar for the Future
One Fargo family wants the sun to be the future of energy in the valley.
They’re showing off their home as proof that solar power can succeed, even during a North Dakota winter.
The Bagu family installed solar panels on their home about five years ago they say for the environment, the economy, and for their family’s health.
He says he did it for her.
“If we use renewable energy,” says John Bagu, “we will have a less toxic environment for our children.”
So his five-year-old daughter Mira can grow up in a world with less pollution.
“This is the best money I’ve ever spent in my life,” he says.
Solar panels produced more energy in 2015 than John Bagu’s home used.
He opened his home, in partnership with the Citizens Climate Lobby, hoping to be an example for others
Bill Schwankl with Alternative Energy Services says about 25 homes in F-M area have gone solar in the past five years.
“About 10 years ago prices started coming down,” Schwankl explains, “and as energy prices went up it made more and more sense.”
Bagu spent about $35,000 on his set-up, with enough batteries to store half a day’s worth of energy.
But you don’t need to break the bank.
“I encourage people to start with something and add more because it’s very scalable,” Schwankl adds.
Some may say Fargo isn’t the best place for solar power because of short days during long winters.
But the Bagus say no matter what, even if it’s cloudy and overcast outside; they usually generate enough energy to power their home.
“We’re gonna get about 20 kilowatt hours today, and this is a cloudy day,” Bagu says, “and it covers my energy for the day.”
Even during the heart of winter, solar panels provide three quarters of the energy his home uses.
He saves $1,000 a year in energy costs.
He adds, “It pays for itself in like a decade or something like that.”
Bagu compares solar energy to the internet. He wants more people to sign on, so energy, like information online, can be shared back and forth.
Bagu’s solar panels mean he has electricity even during a power outage.
Plus, he points out, that the panels are hardly noticeable, and won’t be an eyesore in local neighborhoods.