Money-saving technology on display at Portage Co. energy fair - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Money-saving technology on display at Portage Co. energy fair

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PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW) -- The latest in energy-saving technology was on display at the Midwest Renewable Association Energy Fair in Portage County.

These green gadgets not only help the earth, but they can save you money.

Solar panels and electric cars no longer belong to the world of science fiction.

"Eight to ten years ago, not even something I would've entertained," said Stanley Minnick, an employee for H&H Solar in Madison. "Even in the last five years, the prices have really come down."

"In the next two or three years, you're going to see a lot more electric vehicles, whether it be Chevy or Nissan or Ford," said Michael Moore of Wisconsin Public Service.

Exhibitors at the fair showed people ways to lower their energy bills. Crowds gathered around the solar panel displays.

"It's still a long-term investment for people but it's one that pays for itself," Minnick said.

They call solar panels one of the more stable investments someone can make.

"It's not an iPhone so no, it's not something where the minute it hits the roof it's obsolete," said Minnick.

Solar company employees say the cost of the panels are balanced out by the savings over 8-15 years.

"For the average residential system, it can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars a year," Minnick said.

Wisconsin Public Service officials say fuel savings from an electric car can be similarly significant.

"If you're driving on electric, that's about one-fifth the cost of gasoline," Moore said.

They say most people drive fewer than 20 miles a day, a distance that can be traveled on one battery charge.

Moore says a person could justify the extra cost of an all-electric vehicle.

"A lot of money that you're going to invest is not going to clear your conscience or make you feel good at the end of the day," Minnick said.

Moore also gave general fuel-conserving tips for drivers. He said traveling the speed limit and not stepping too hard on the gas pedals will use less gas.

Fair organizers say more than 15,000 people this weekend came to see the various green technologies.
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