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Local Electrician Teams Up to take Homeowners Off the Grid

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May 26, 2010 by wcobserver

By Nick DeMoss

The work of one West Fork electrician could mean big energy savings for Northwest Arkansas residents in the near future, and eventually could have an impact on the nation’s demands for carbon-based fuels.

Jack Besser, of Besser Electric in West Fork, has been working alongside Stephan Pollard, Ph.D., of Trem|Wel Energy and Jimis Damet of Rocky Grove Sun Company to develop more clean energy options for Arkansas, where ideas such as wind energy have been slow to catch on.

Trying to show people the advantages of wind energy is something Besser said he has been working on since the late 1970s. At that time, however, the technology was too expensive and cumbersome to make it appealing to the general public, he said.

But all that has changed.

Today, Besser works on do-it-yourself wind generator kits. He is about to install a kit named “Blue Moon” that produces 1,000 watts of electricity. That energy would go partially to powering a hot water heater, one of the most energy-sapping appliances in the home, Besser said. The energy would be completely provided by the wind, with no need to connect to the region’s power grid. Excess energy would be sent to a battery pack with an inverter for alternate current (AC) power. Leftover energy after both of those would be sent to the  power grid, Besser said.

For Besser, affordability is one of the most important parts of providing clean energy to the region.

“Jimis sells high quality equipment to people, and that’s really good,” Besser said. “I can come in with the aspect of how to make it more affordable for people who just can’t afford that equipment.” Even with costly energy sources such as solar energy, there are ways to chip away at the cost. Buying blemished panels, for instance, can help consumers who want to be green on a budget.

Now is the best time for Arkansans and Americans in general to begin moving toward alternative energy sources Besser said. Customers who generate some or all of their own power could be entitled to state incentives, as well as lower energy costs, he said.

“Even though Arkansas hasn’t figured out how much they would pay you right now for your power, it will offset your bill,” he said.

Pollard echoed Besser’s sentiments in a recent statement on the trio’s work.Pollard is the head of Trem|Wel Energy, a Fayetteville-based renewable energy and energy-efficient development company.

“Renewable fuel sources are virtually carbon neutral, contributing little in the way of climate change-causing greenhouse gases, unlike fossil fuels,” he said. “Finally, the development of clean renewable domestic energy creates jobs and helps reduce our trade deficit. The supply of solar radiation necessary to produce electricity in Arkansas and the rest of the U.S. is virtually untapped. It has enormous potential to offset the political and resource demands of carbon-based fuels.”

The group said they plan on unveiling a project in late June that Damet described as a “diamond in the rough,” and Pollard said would have an exciting impact on renewable energy system investment in the state and region.

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