Going Green: Local Businesses Using Renewable Energy

Created: 12/05/2013 7:11 PM KSTP.com
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- When it comes to energy President Obama wants the federal government to lead by example. He announced a plan Thursday for them to triple their renewable energy use by 2020.

There are many that are already using the wind and the sun for energy.

"A solar energy system is an upfront investment, so you're basically paying for 30 years of your energy," said Curt Shellum.

Shellum is the owner of Solar Connection in Rochester.  He was happy to hear that President Obama is encouraging the federal government to use more power from the sun.

"I got into it partially because I wanted to see our country go in that direction of cleaner energy, it's not going to happen overnight, but I think it's the right way to go, said Shellum.

President Obama plan would set the goal for the federal government to have 20 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources like the wind and the sun by 2020.

"That's very doable, it's just the will to do it," said Shellum.

President Obama's renewable energy push is part of a larger effort to fight climate change. Many states are already working towards the same goal.

Minnesota has a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to provide 25 percent of their total electrical generation from renewable sources like wind, hydrogen, and solar power by the year 2025.

"We have almost 30 residential customers with solar panels installed," said RPU spokesperson Tony Benson.

Benson says switching over to renewable energy sources takes time and money, but that it's in their future.

"For us we're always looking for ways to incorporate renewable energy, where it makes sense for both us and our rate payers," said Benson.

Shellum hopes the President’s effort and example, leads to more people looking into the many benefits of having solar panels installed at their own home.

"The equipment is long lasting, robust, and the price is coming down," said Shellum.

Federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent since President Obama took office in 2009.