Mid-Michigan Homes Open Doors For Solar Tour

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Driving down the street, John Sarver's home looks like any other in the area, but for the last two years, one thing has set it apart.

"I have a solar electric system, a roof integrated system so it's part of the roofing, the shingles for the house," said Sarver. "It's a relatively small system."

It may be small, but it generates around 20 percent of his electricity. That's good enough for his home to be featured in the National Solar Tour, an event where people can tour innovative homes and learn how to use solar energy and make their own homes more energy efficient.

In total, three Mid-Michigan houses participated in Saturday's tour, including the homes of both Sarver and Joe Ross, who says the first step to saving energy is insulation.

"The broad concept that people need to understand when doing home energy efficiency and to do it inexpensively is to stop hot air from going up and cold air from going down so that air stays in the house," said Ross.

Then, Ross says, you can begin looking into solar panels, something John Sarver says is becoming more popular because of a decrease in price.

"Since I purchased mine a couple years ago, they've basically been reduced by 50 percent so the economics have significantly changed for folks," said Sarver.

Now, Sarver says, you can buy a solar power system for around five thousand dollars.
It is a big investment, but he says it eventually pays for itself with the money saved on electricity and other benefits.

"There's good evidence they're increasing the value of your house," said Sarver.

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