There's a new power plant in downtown Ellijay. In fact, you might already be using a tiny bit of its energy. Don’t look for a new cooling tower or transmission lines, though; in fact, look no further than that pink house on North Avenue.
That’s where Brian Linkous has installed a cutting-edge solar energy system, the first of its kind in the city of Ellijay. The system has been plugged into the electrical grid so that Brian and his wife Laura get credit for any excess energy they don’t use.
The system is a modest one, so don’t start making your utility checks out to Mr. Linkous just yet. What Mr. Linkous has accomplished, though, is a step towards bringing “green” energy technology to the area - something he strongly believes in. Income tax credits introduced in 2008 – 30% Federal and 35% from Georgia – for solar energy system owners definitely sweetened the deal as well.
Mr. Linkous’ state-of-the-art system produces 1.4kW from six panels mounted on the roof of his house. The solar panels include built-in inverters, devices that transform the direct current (D/C) from the panels to the alternating current (A/C) used by household devices. The panels also include sophisticated electronics that optimize the system for whatever the current lighting conditions are. An online monitoring system allows him to see how much power is being generated at any time.
Homeowner Brian Linkous
The installed photovoltaic panels
The meter indicates power being fed into the grid with a left-pointing arrow (highlighted)
Brian sees a lucrative future market for alternative energy systems in our area. He believes it could be part of an overall push towards environmentally-conscious tourism and vacationing. As he sees it, wealthy visitors from out of town, young people in particular, could be drawn to the area as a sort of “green” destination. The natural beauty of the land and mountains is already here, he argues, so why not bill the area as a destination for the environmentally conscious?
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