Tue, Aug

Sustainability Professional Renae Hesselink: Go Solar, Save Money, Be Green!

Muskegon Metro Area News

About six years ago, Renae Hesselink, vice-president of sustainability for Nichols Paper & Supply Company in Norton Shores, made the decision to go solar. As a sustainability professional, she is knowledgeable about the benefits of going green, and especially the benefits to the planet. Sustainability means incorporating economic, social, and environmental goals to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Renae found a company who agreed to train local workers to do the solar installation. This was important to her, so her community would benefit as well. The cost was $15,000, minus $5,000 she received back as a federal tax incentive. She uses electricity for lights, appliances, and air conditioning. Heat for her home is provided by natural gas.)

Renae began receiving payback for her investment immediately. Annually, she generates about 70% of the electric that she uses from solar, from around April through October or sometimes even into November or December. She has no electric bill except for the add on fees everyone pays. By her estimate, she will have paid herself back by about ----. The 16 solar panels on her roof also have upped her property value, approximately 4 percent according to a recent study.


And of course, Renae appreciates that she is reducing her carbon emissions, responsible for warming the earth’s surface and creating a climate crisis. Solar energy is clean and renewable. For more information on solar energy, Visit Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and the U.S. Department of Energry's website for Energy Rfficiency and Renewable Energy.