By Annabelle Roser
As solar energy becomes more accessible to everyday consumers, the financial incentives of owning solar panels can be hard to pass up. The benefits of subsidizing or eliminating your energy bills through net-metering can be especially enticing to retirees or those on fixed incomes.
Recently, I met Bryan and Louise— a couple who had just installed rooftop solar panels— at a utility bill clinic in Alton, Illinois hosted by CUB and state Rep. Dan Beiser.
The future retirees saw investing in solar as a way to be more energy independent and lower their power bills in their all-electric home where their energy usage is high.
Through net-metering, the panels should cut the supply side—the actual power they use—in half as well as reduce the delivery side—what they pay to have the utility deliver the power to their home.
Overall, the panels are expected to produce about 50 percent of their total energy usage.
Along with the solar panels, they also installed LED light bulbs throughout their home which cut the energy they used for lighting by 80 percent.
Their story is a terrific example of how renewable energy and efficiency can be big money-savers for Illinois consumers.
Aside from talking about net metering and energy efficiency, I made sure attendees were not signed up with unregulated electric suppliers. Unfortunately, I found some people who were being overcharged by these third-party companies.
The good news is that Rep. Beiser is sponsoring a bill with CUB that would rein in unregulated companies that charge consumers exorbitant rates. (
Before going home, my colleagues and I grabbed lunch at Fast Eddies—a local, favorite watering hole—and stopped by to see the shoes of Alton resident Robert Wadlow who holds the title of world’s tallest man at a staggering 8’11.
Thanks to all the excitement, I hope to be back in Alton soon!