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Rooftop solar panels look to be a sound green investment

Rooftop solar panels are finally turning on a light bulb over some business leaders’ heads.

A big office park in my town is putting up solar panels on the roofs of two parking garages on its property. The total of 2,052 panels, which will sit on previously unused space, will generate 585 kilowatts of electricity. The office park will use the panels to offset its power needs, so it will pay less for electricity and get ROI for the investment over time. “We’re finding the payback to be appropriate,” Cummings Properties Design Manager Jim Trudeau told The Salem News.

Not only that, but the office will also reduce its demand for power and put less strain on the electrical grid.

This is a great story, but my question is, what took so long?

There are many trends in rooftop energy conservation techniques today: “Green” rooftops, with parks or gardens on them; and former President Clinton is organizing people to paint black tar roofs white as a way to reflect heat and keep buildings cooler.

The solar-power roof makes more sense. Think of all that solar energy baking away on the expanse of your local mall’s roof.

Payback on solar investments has been hard to come by, but no longer. In addition, a new study says that there is economic value derived from creating jobs in financing, installing and maintaining solar panels. CNet also reports that most of the solar panels manufactured in the U.S. are sold in Asia. This should be the other way around.

CIOs and other senior IT managers can play a part here. You are already engaged with your building facilities managers in terms of power management. Are there places on your property where solar panels would make sense?

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