Solar panels recently constructed at Double J Manufacturing and Repair north of Gackle. Photo by Melody Owen
Gackle Manufacturer Gets Two-Thirds of Needed Electricity From Solar Panels
By Melody Owen, Tri-County News
- Green Spark 1: Use Passive Solar.
- Green Spark 2: Recycle What You Can.
- Green Spark 3: Recycle Creatively.
- Green Spark 4: Consider Powering Your Business with the Sun.
- Green Spark 5: Upcycle.
- Green Spark 6: Go Geothermal.
- Green Spark 7: Find Common Ground on Net Metering.
- Green Spark 8: Get an Energy Audit.
- Green Spark 9: Recycle and Make Money for Your Community.
- Green Spark 10: Use Reusable Bags.
- Green Spark 11: Encourage New Mothers to Breastfeed.
- Green Spark 12: Make Sleeping Mats From Plastic Bags to Help the Environment and Others.
Looking to trim expenses for their growing business, Jeff Enzminger and James Owen, owners of Double J Manufacturing and Repair near Gackle, N.D.,” have turned to alternative energy to help manage expenses.
The pair originally looked into wind generators, but they soon switched their focus to solar, which has cost and maintenance advantages.
“Wind generators cost twice that of solar panels to produce the same wattage,” Enzminger explained.
Ongoing maintenance and only a five-year guarantee with wind generators also pushed them towards solar panels, which have a 20-year guarantee.
Additionally, solar panels produce electricity whenever the sun shines, even on cloudy, snow days.
“Wind generators are only productive 50 percent of the time depending on the weather,” Owen said. “In the summer with the longer days we can produce even more electricity.”
With help from Jack Hansen of Enterprise Sales in Valley City to find the best system for their needs, 100 feet of solar panels were placed at the south end of their building. Housed inside of their facility is a converter with a monitor continuously showing the wattage the panels are producing.
On a cloudy day with the panels partially covered from recent snowfall, the system was producing 2,000 watts. At max production, 11,500 watts are produced by the panels and tied into the buildings electrical system.
“We run eight welders, three plasma cutters, an iron worker, chop saw, heat and lights in the shop and are able to produce two-thirds of our electricity with the solar panels,” Owen said. The offices and break room are also tied into the system.
Becoming self-sufficient was also a reason for the business partners to look at alternative energy.
“With the electrical companies continually raising their rates, we are able to stabilize some of our expenses with solar power,” Owen said.
As the business continues to grow, they are already looking ahead to adding more panels to keep up with their electrical needs.
Enzminger encourages anyone looking into wind or solar energy to do their research: “Look for quality, not ones that are cheaply made.”
Owen added, “The cost of solar is coming down as technology improves, and the sun is always there. If you are thinking of going solar, do it!”