Local solar company rep says 'phones have not stopped ringing' in the last month

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association electrical generation from renewable energy accounted for 18% of total energy generation.

Solar Energy LLC hasn’t had such a high demand for solar installation since the business began in 2011.

Consultant Mindy Marsh-Jarrett said the solar energy industry has exploded recently.

“We were very busy last year, but I’ve got more jobs lined up in one month than I did almost a whole year last year,” Marsh-Jarrett said.

Word of rolling blackouts across Northwest Missouri peaked the interest of some in St. Joseph and made people inquire about solar installation. Frustration from the rolling blackouts due to weather conditions resulted in an overwhelming number of phone calls. Marsh-Jarrett said executives and consultants at her company sat down Monday evening to discuss a plan to meet demand.

“We got together for about three hours trying to decide how we’re going to field all these phone calls and get all these bids out to people in a timely manner,” Marsh-Jarrett said.

Though the installation of solar panels can relieve a homeowner of a utility bill and increase the value of a house up to 4.1%, according to Zillow statistics, having solar doesn’t make people immune to these types of rolling blackouts. Households still remain connected to the grid system and can experience inconveniences like a rolling blackout. However, many solar companies offer generators or battery banks in the case that electricity becomes unavailable. Generators or battery banks won’t power an entire household but will be enough to run essential components like heating systems.

“Right now, most people are doing the generators because they’re less money than the batteries,” Marsh-Jarrett said.

Coal-fired power plants accounted for 73% of Missouri’s electricity net generation in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.