"We want to prove it works in winter," Padnos said. As the first big commercial installation under Michigan's new alternative energy stimulus programs, output from the Padnos project will be tracked into February, when the company plans a big dedication party.
"I think this is the beginning of a pretty robust market for solar," Ford said.
"You have to be somewhat of a patient investor, putting this product in. You're still going to use energy. Why not buy it from yourself?"
Those years to reach payback will pass quickly, said Keller, 65.
The panels came from Japan and were assembled in Tennessee, but the installers are local workers. With the growth in solar manufacturing in the Bay area, pretty soon we will be making the panels, too. Watch for things to pick up in 2010 as the market heats up. So to speak.