Solar power runs a Humboldt business

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HUMBOLDT, Tenn. — The sun is shining bright in West Tennessee which means one local business is saving money on their power bill. “Lets face it, that sun is for free. You don’t have to pay for that,” said Peter Howard the owner of The Crown Winery. This sun-sational star is more than meets the eye. This business runs completely on solar power. These solar panels trap the sun’s energy into the 17 kilowatt system which powers all of the utilities. “Everything in this winery, the air conditioning, fans, ovens whatever is totally on. Right now, this building at this point in time is totally running on the sun.” The sun is the backbone to this winery. All the way from the sweetness of the grapes to the 74 solar panels powering it all.” “Everything here is the function of the sun. If we don’t have any sun we don’t get any power, the grapes don’t get as sweet as they should do. So everything around this hill here is all based on sun.” Howard, the owner of the winery said he invested around $150,000 into his solar system in 2008. He said it is one expensive, yet smart decision he has made. “That is very much off set by what you’d pay for regular utilities which could be as high as $2 or $3,000 a month.” Howard said he should soon harvest a big return on his investment. “Probably from next year on or the year after that this will be essentially, whatever you get from the solar is free.” There is even enough power to go around the neighborhood and the money goes back to the winery. “If we don’t use it in here, it doesn’t go anywhere so they can take it and it goes back into the grid and they’ll take it and redistribute it locally.” This is one bright idea Howard said has been worth the risk. “The fact is we all have regrets on doing things and i have no regrets on doing this whatsoever.” The winery first projected a return on their system to take 16 years. They ended up doing it in half that time.

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