Fulton couple installs solar panels, first to use net metering

 Son Solar Systems co-owner Delwin Dowd installs a solar panel on the roof of Judy McKinnon and Jim Stevermer Thursday afternoon in Fulton. The couple is the first household in Fulton to use net metering.

Son Solar Systems co-owner Delwin Dowd installs a solar panel on the roof of Judy McKinnon and Jim Stevermer Thursday afternoon in Fulton. The couple is the first household in Fulton to use net metering. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

Judy McKinnon has been interested in solar energy ever since her days as an environmental studies major back in the early 1980s.

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Mark, left, and Joshua Dowd hand a solar panel up to Delwin Dowd on the roof of the home of Judy McKinnon and Jim Stevermer Thursday afternoon. The Dowds own Son Solar Systems of Hartsburg.

It is no surprise, then, that this longtime supporter of renewable energy and her husband, Jim Stevermer, are the first household in Fulton to take advantage of net metering.

The couple had a set of 16 solar electric panels installed on the roof of their home. The energy produced by those panels can be used either in their house or sent out to the city’s electric grid.

“Over the course of a month, their solar panels will generate a given amount of electricity,” explained Fulton’s Director of Administration, Bill Johnson. “If they generate more (electricity) than they consume, the city will give them a credit for that. If they produce less, they will buy anything above and beyond at the normal residential rate.

“The solar panels on that house could push their energy bill down very, very low.”

McKinnon said her family’s home — built by T.L. Mudd Construction of Fulton — already was designed to be passive solar and run as efficiently as possible.

“The way the house is designed it keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer so you don’t need as much supplemental energy,” she said, noting they also have a geo-thermal heating and cooling system. “I think that the resources we have available — oil, natural gas, things like that are limited ... (and) cause lots of forms of pollution.

“We have the ability to have much cleaner forms of energy to use. With the number of people living on earth we need to start using renewable sources of energy.”

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