Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A Sunny Approach Morton Solar & Wind Riding Wave of Solar Movement

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A Sunny Approach Morton Solar & Wind Riding Wave of Solar Movement

Article excerpt

Brad Morton has his eye mostly on the solar side of his business, Morton Solar & Wind LLC. He said that because China is producing high volumes of solar panels and flooding the market, U.S. manufacturers have been forced to lower their prices.

This is growing the solar industry, he said, and he wants to help keep the momentum going.

"We're excited seeing that solar panel prices have dropped dramatically in the last two years as China has impacted the market," he said. "The result is lower prices for consumers."

He said, "As coal energy prices have gone up and solar prices have come down, we're doing more and more homes. I'm hoping we can ramp up our marketing efforts this year. We want folks to know solar energy is affordable, especially for businesses."

He graduated in 1992 from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in electrical engineering technology.

When he helped found Morton Solar & Wind in 2006, the company put strong emphasis on designing and installing wind turbines.

After completing about 20 Hoosier wind projects, Morton concluded that winds in Southern Indiana are not adequate for providing wind energy on a large scale.

"Southern Indiana does not have the wind resources as Northern Indiana, which has much stronger winds," he said.

Most of Southern Indiana is situated in what is known as the Class 1 Wind Zone, the weakest category on a scale of 1 to 7 rated by meteorological towers and wind power analysis.

"If you don't have wind speeds, you're not going to have power output,"said Morton.

So, he's concentrating more on solar.

Morton estimated a single solar panel for either a home or a commercial building produces about 250 watts of energy.

He said the retail price per panel has dropped on average from $3 per watt two years ago to $1.50 per watt recently, crediting China's impact.

Morton said a typical 2.5-kilowatt system, capable of offsetting energy costs by 30 percent, costs around $10,000, including materials and installation.

The number of panels needed depends on the size of space to be covered and on how much the owner wants to spend on solar to offset his utility cost, Morton said. …

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