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Farm Bureau office goes "Green"

Ben Wollner and Tyler Bacon (right) get ready to set a solar panel in place at the Farm Bureau building in Humboldt last week.

The Farm Bureau office in Humboldt is going “green.”
Last week, 44 solar panels were installed on the roof of the Farm Bureau building, located at the corner of Highway 169 and Wildcat Road.
The panels are expected to save about $150 to $160 off of their MidAmerican Energy electric bill each month.
Doug Bacon, who owns the building with Kent Mueller, said a 30 percent federal tax credit, 15 percent State of Iowa tax credit, plus being able to depreciate the purchase made the project attractive.
“With the tax credits and depreciation, almost 70 percent of the cost is written off in the first year,” Bacon said.
He said while the energy savings are attractive as well, he was also glad to be able to purchase the solar system from his son, Tyler. Tyler is a 2003 graduate of Humboldt High School and owns CB Wind Systems based out of Ankeny. The company specializes in wind turbine and solar installations.
Doug Bacon said they didn’t have enough land to meet city requirements for a wind turbine. Tyler said the price of solar power systems has dropped about 50 percent in the last year. Tyler said he uses American made products that are manufactured in Georgia by Suniva.
The 44 panels installed on the west roof of the Farm Bureau building will generate just over 10 kilowatts of power. Those panels were placed on 48 mounts that were installed on the roof the week before the panels arrived.
The solar energy will power the Farm Bureau building, but when the power is not needed it will provide power to other buildings in the area. MidAmerican Energy issues energy credits when that happens.
Tyler Bacon noted more solar power is produced in the summer than in the winter, but even in winter significant power is produced. He said ideally the panels would be facing south, but this building’s roof did not allow for it.
Tyler Bacon said there is no maintenance involved with the solar panels and there is a 25-year guarantee on the equipment.
“They even clean themselves and melt the snow off themselves,” Tyler Bacon said.
Doug Bacon said the building currently has gas furnaces that are original to when it was built. He said when its time to replace the furnaces, they’ll likely switch to all electric power.
“We’re looking forward to the savings and hopefully help generate some interest for Tyler’s business as well,” Doug Bacon said.