Dawud Muhammad, solar dealer and
project manager for JMS Solar Network & Associates in Alton,
has hopes of seeing an extension of the new solar energy
rebate program, which has an April 30 deadline for
“We have completed a GTB solar project in Edwardsville,
which we have a Mr. Michael Kluthe, a recipient of the new
solar rebate program, which offers up to
$10,000,” (per building), Muhammad said.
Muhammad, who spoke at the State Capitol, says information
from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity concerning the new solar energy rebate program
reveals that new funding and expanded guidelines allow one
person, business or nonprofit to install solar in up to 10
buildings and receive up to $100,000 in rebate funds.
He is hoping to see an extension of the application
deadline. JMS Solar has a state-licensed roofing company for
solar roofing mounting systems.
Kluthe said there are three types of solar systems: the grid
tie system, battery backup and a combination of both. He
said he is not using full capability.
“I have 15 150-watt solar panels, a 3,000-watt inverter and
48-volt battery backup system,” Kluthe said. “At this point,
I am not officially on the grid.”
Muhammad said Pyramid Electric, a trained union company, did
installation and ACS Roofing and Siding Co. did solar
mounts. Kluthe has paperwork to turn in to Ameren. Muhammad
said the new Net Metering bill waives the cost on meters.
The basic necessities, the 110-volt refrigerator, 240-volt
well and 110-volt furnace, are the three items on backup
power. It is a separate circuit. Kluthe said it is for
emergencies such as power outages. There is no water without
the well, he said.
“We were without (water) in July 2006 for nine days,” he
said. “That was rough.”
Muhammad said he has met with Alton Mayor Donald Sandidge to
discuss the solar rebate program for the city. Sandidge said
the city is looking for alternative energy sources such as
solar but has no funds for solar implementation.
“When we remodeled City Hall, I recommended it (solar) to
architects and engineers,” Sandidge said. “City Hall would
be ideal for solar.”
He said the cost is small compared to something else.
Sandidge said the city would have been better off with solar
for the building. Grants are available for such projects, he
The energy bill is up for review from the Illinois House and
Senate, and Muhammad’s concern is continuing the current tax
credits, Muhammad said. Businesses, after using the state
rebate program, can write off the remaining balance of the
cost of installing a solar energy system within five years,
he said. This is the last year to do that, with Dec. 31 the
deadline, Muhammad said.
Kluthe said he had a gas-powered generator during the July
2006 weather emergency. He said he worried about the outage
being widespread and gas stations running out of gas.
“As long as the sun shines, you have power you can make,”
He said if he isn’t home during a power outage, his wife
doesn’t have to worry. There is backup even with cloud
“Our company, JMS Solar Network & Associates, hired union
electricians to receive the training and experience to
address the future growth coming within the marketplace due
to solar energy technologies applications,” Muhammad said.
Kluthe said he hopes it takes off, and he sees a lot of
potential. An electronics technician with Boeing in St.
Louis, he said he has an active system but said there are
passive systems as well.
“I’m a technical type of guy,” Kluthe said.
He said no matter how much is invested into energy
efficiency, it can only go so far with the rising cost of
energy. Muhammad said oil rose to $100 per barrel Jan. 2,
making a $30 jump over about three to four months.
“During this year (2007) we have had some major blows to our
economy due to rising energy costs,” Muhammad said.