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Energy Tech Entrepreneur Says It Pays to Go Solar

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Founder David Bolt of Sustainable Future

How did you feel the last time you opened your utility bill?  Wonder how the cost could be so high?  Many of David Bolt’s clients have seen their utility bills slashed, and some even get money back from the electric company.  Bolt says he went for years without paying for power at his family’s East Tennessee home.

Bolt, with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, founded the Tennessee company Sustainable Future in 2005 after selling a computer software business.  Sustainable Future installs solar panels and provides other energy auditing and saving services.  He says the cost of photovoltaic or solar panels is roughly half what it was back then. Installations have been at medical offices, a children’s museum , Bonnaroo Music Festival, and even modest homes.
Photovoltaic Panels at Sustainable Future Demonstration Garden

While he says tax breaks and other incentives have long brought commercial clients as much as 15 to 22 percent annual return on their investment, Bolt says more residential customers are now seeing green.  Bolt said this about investing in solar for your home, “With the current incentives though, for those people just interested in the financial investment, it’s a very good return.  They’re somewhere between 7 and 9 percent return, that’s  better than a cd is at the bank.”  Bolt says a typical solar panel installation should pay for itself in 10 years, while the product carries a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Bolt says the key to his own family achieving a net zero energy home, producing more energy than it uses, involved both solar technology and other conservation efforts.  “To get to net zero is a two part process – one is to generate renewable energy through things like solar, and the other is to reduce your loads.”  Sustainable Future offers services to help find ways to conserve energy at your home or business before you even consider adding solar panels.
(This article is not intended to provide financial or technical advice of any kind, but is for informational purposes only.  Before you make any business or household decisions, please verify potential costs and savings for yourself.)
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