Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The brush trailer program this year will begin Monday, April 13 and will run through October 23. The trailer can be reserved for the removal of large amounts of brush. If a homeowner is trimming his own bushes or trees, they can schedule a trailer to be dropped off to put their brush in. This... more
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The following is a message by the Elkhart County Health Department. Haga click aqui para ver el comunicado de prensa en español. Incident Command has been asked to share where testing sites are and if the person being tested would be charged for the test being processed. It is still required... more
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
City offices will be closed Friday, April 10 after 1 p.m. If you need to speak with a City staff person, please call Friday before 1 p.m. or Monday, April 13. As a reminder, City buildings remain closed to the public and some staff may not be working due to measures taken by the City to help... more
The City of Goshen is working to make it easier, faster and cheaper for residents, businesses and others to go solar through the SolSmart program, funded by the Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
"As Mayor of Goshen, I strongly support the use of solar and other forms of renewable energy in our community. To assist us in becoming more solar-friendly, I am pleased to announce the City of Goshen's participation in the SolSmart designation process." Read the entire Solar Statement here.
The City of Goshen does not endorse or represent specific products or companies but are working to make it easier for residents to find solar contractors actively working in the area. To view the Solar Energy Contractor List, click here.
Review the consumer protection resources to make sure you understand any quote or contract you are provided. These resources provide important questions to ask and describe the pros and cons of different ownership models.
Solar PV systems require approval from the City of Goshen Planning and Zoning Department and a permit from the Building Department. See the flow chart below to understand the process. If your system will be grid-tied, be sure to contact the electric utility, NIPSCO, before beginning the process with the City.
The Building Department has revised the permitting process to improve communication and distinguish between systems requiring simplified or standard review. See the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Permit Application Guidelines document to determine which information must be provided to the City for your system to receive a permit.
The zoning code was amended in 2017 to update the specific section on solar energy. See Article V. Supplemental Regulations, Section 5135. Review the applicable Zoning District Regulations, Article IV Establishment of Zoning Districts, especially if you want to install a ground-mounted solar system or build a new accessory structure for your system, such as a garage or pergola.
Review the inspection checklist to understand the requirements that a rooftop solar PV system must comply with to pass the inspection from the Building Department.
Before a solar PV system can be connected to the utility grid, you must submit an Interconnection Application and NIPSCO must approve the project. For details, visit the NIPSCO Renewable Energy Projects webpage. It is recommended that you contact NIPSCO before designing your system and prior to submitting plans to the Building Department to determine if the system meets all criteria and technical requirements to be interconnected.
Recent state policy changes affecting distributed generation, including solar, included a section on customer rights. In addition, Indiana Code previously established the right to access solar energy and permits private entities to enter into a solar easement voluntarily to protect access to sunlight for a solar energy system in the future.
Electricity consumption varies significantly between households, depending for example on the size of the home, how the home is heated, how much you use an air conditioner, whether light bulbs have been switched to LEDs, if the attic space is well-insulated, etc.
In 2015 in Indiana, the average electricity consumption was 964 kWh monthly; 11,568 kWh annually. In contrast, the average in Michigan was 649 kWh monthly. See full U.S. Energy Information Administration report here. A 9.3 kW system produces about the same amount of electricity that the average home in Indiana consumes in a year.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory tool called PVWatts Calculator is useful for estimating annual electricity production. In Goshen, the average system size is about 6.0 kW, which would produce about 7,400 kWh per year.
Review your electricity bills from the last 12-24 months to determine how much electricity (in kWh) you actually use. You may want to roughly estimate the cost of different sized systems that would generate 25%, 50%, 75%, or up to 100% of your annual kWh usage. Many people arrive at this decision by looking at how much roof or ground space is available, their budget, and the degree to which energy efficiency improvements could cost-effectively reduce total electricity consumption.
Many people look at the payback period - the time it takes to recoup the initial cost as the electricity generated by the solar system offsets the cost of purchasing electricity from the utility. Typical payback periods range between 10-15 years. Keep in mind that financial benefits continue to accumulate for the entire life of the system. Panels often have warranties of 20-25 years which guarantee the system will maintain 80% of the initial production at the end of that time frame. If the system "breaks even" at 12 years, that's at least 8-13 years of 'free' electricity.
The payback depends on the grants and tax credits that affect the initial cost and electricity rates for a given home or business. Estimating the payback period requires assumptions about how much electricity prices will rise in the future, the rate at which the excess electricity sent back to the grid is credited to the system owner, the rate at which production from the panels degrades, among other factors.
The system size, or "capacity" of a solar PV system is stated in terms of kilowatts, or KW. This is a measure of power or the instantaneous rate of energy generation, analogous to miles per hour. Kilowatts (KW) are often confused with kilowatt-hours (kWh) which are a measure of total energy consumed, analogous to total miles traveled. One kWh is produced when a system produces electricity at a rate of one kW sustained for one hour.
A 6 kW system might be composed of approximately 24-26 panels taking up about 400 - 500 sq. ft. A typical panel is about 17.5 sq feet. Individual solar panels range between 230 W to 275 W. Keep in mind that a solar installer would assist with the design and sizing of your system.
The number of solar systems in the area has increased rapidly over the last five years. The map below shows solar photovoltaic (PV) systems near Goshen as of 2018. Visit the SIREN Solar Indiana interactive map here and filter by year to see how solar has grown!
In 2018, there were over 77 solar installations in the City of Goshen. Compared to Goshen's population, there were over 135 Watts per person which is more than leading solar cities such as Denver, Colorado and Albuquerque, New Mexico. See the Shining Cities 2019. Solar supports local jobs. To view the growth in solar jobs, see the latest National Solar Jobs Census. In 2018, there were 3,114 solar jobs in Indiana. Installation jobs comprised 75% of all solar jobs.