“Today’s solar technology has improved to the point that there’s something for everyone,” he says. “It’s a job-building, money-saving, clean energy alternative whose time has come.”

One of the installations at the Hegman house is a garage with a solar array and a battery storage system. This arrangement could be used to recharge an electric automobile, such as the Nissan Leaf, which is being built in Tennessee and will be on the market later this year. It could also be used for people with critical power needs, such as medical equipment that must operate even if the electricity goes off.

Prior to designing a system, Hegman does a site survey to determine the power generating capability throughout the year at that specific location.

“These are quite accurate, and we haven’t designed a system yet that failed to meet or exceed the projections. Thirty years of weather data for the location is factored into design projections.”

While the Hegmans are in the business of solar, Carolyn notes, “We’re also in the business of educating people about the technology. We don’t have children, but we wanted to give something back to the community and to increase awareness of solar energy in young people.

“We gave a solar array to the Northwest Rankin School, which is not only offsetting a portion of their energy but could provide learning opportunities for the students. Now, they have their own Solar Energy Day each year.”

John Wilbanks, who conducts energy audits for businesses and others interested in alternative energy systems, installed a Mississippi Solar 1.7 kWh system at his residence at Mathiston, Miss., and says it offsets about $55 per month of his electric bill. His panels are ground-mounted.