Solar energy on the rise


Energy alternatives have always been a hot topic of discussion and the benefits of solar energy make it a tough competitor.

More people are concerned about the environment and effective alternatives to burning fossil fuels as greenhouse gas emissions increase. Families are taking steps to increase their positive impact on the environment.

Solar power is helping consumers to avoid costly energy bills and saving the environment. (Courtesy Jack Matsen)

Larry and Carol Walters have converted their Provo house into a green home. Larry Walters is a professor of public policy analysis and management at BYU and he and his wife rely solely on the solar energy they produce during sunlight hours. They have been using solar panels for roughly four years and have not had an electric bill since.

“We are polluting our atmosphere with fossil fuels,” Carol Walters said. “Not only is our air quality terrible for breathing, but it has created climate change and is producing devastation all over the earth. … It’s time for us to get serious about making the switch to clean, renewable energy sources.”

It’s not just about the carbon footprint, however. Walters and her husband calculated they will receive approximately a six percent return on their investment. In the long run, installing solar panels is predicted to save more money than reliance on coal-burning methods.

Intermountain Wind and Solar is traveling around the state of Utah to persuade citizens to invest in solar energy because of its environmental and economic benefits.

“There literally has never been a better time to buy solar,” said Jack Matsen, co-owner of Intermountain Wind and Solar. “Expenses are cut down and energy rates keep going up.”

Matsen and the company aren’t suggesting anyone make the switch to solely rely on solar. Their plan includes a long-term savings plan for all customers. It works on a one-for-one credit. When a customer’s solar panels produce more watts than they need, it puts the energy back onto the grid for the electrical company. This means little to no electricity from the grid is used and the electric bill ends up being very small or free.

Mark Richards, co-owner of Intermountain Wind and Solar, pointed out the problems with coal-burning sources of energy. “Just because we call something clean, doesn’t make it clean,” he said.

Richards said the amount of pollution fossil fuel burning creates will eventually force consumers to fully switch to alternative forms of energy, particularly because of the ever-increasing demand for energy.

“It’s not going to be a choice in the future,” Richards said. “It will be critical.”

Intermountain Wind and Solar is offering a bulk purchasing date on Feb. 28. For more information, visit

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