Tonawanda News

Features

August 27, 2013

Area homeowners say their solar panels pay for themselves in just a few years

Tonawanda News — First, Ken Horvath tried burning corn kernels to heat his home. Then, he tried burning cherry pits.

The cherry pits were a challenge because after hauling in several truckloads from a grower in Westfield, Horvath had to rake them out on the driveway of his Town of Lockport ranch home so each pit could dry in the sun.  

It is not easy being green. But Horvath is determined to become “fossil fuel-free.”

That’s why he was so passionate about the solar panels. He’s expecting to have his third set installed soon by Solar Liberty, an Amherst solar company that has such diverse customers as the Riviera Theatre and Niagara University.

Horvath, who had considered windmills but thought they were a bit too complicated, says his solar system “just lays up on the roof” and makes electricity.

The former engineer, who is also growing a praire preserve in his back yard, just wants to do the right thing for the planet. He gets agitated when people talk about the “payback.”  He wonders aloud why they don’t care if their new couch has a “payback.”

Horvath is doing it for the planet. He bought his 25 acres in Lockport so he could “save it for Mother Nature.”

But, with the new federal incentives and other grants available, the cost of buying solar has been reduced lately by nearly two-thirds, according to solar distributors. 

“There is a $5,000 tax credit from New York state on the system cost,” said Michael Ryszka of Astrum Solar, “and there is a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government.”  

In addition, Ryszka said, with an average installation that costs about $30,000, the state would provide a grant for nearly one-third of the cost.

With all those grants and credits, the solar panels also pay for themselves much quicker, according to Bill Wagner of Pendleton. 

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo