As climate change intensifies and alternative energy options become more economical, residents and businesses throughout Central Ohio have begun to realize the benefits of switching to solar energy. This blog series highlights the experiences of various Ecohouse Solar clients as they’ve made the switch.

Part 1

Marlin Languis is an 88 year-old resident of Columbus. He decided to make the switch to solar in the summer of 2013. His initial interest in solar energy and going against the status quo stemmed from a young age. Growing up on a rental farm in Nebraska, he was an inquisitive child, drawn to reading and asking questions. As Marlin explains, “A middle child, talking in sentences at age one, I did not fit my parents’ rural farmer outlook and was never good at farming lifestyle.” He was able to save enough money to send himself to college, gain a PhD in geology, and find a teaching career at the Ohio State University. 

His passion for learning and his drive to understand how things worked lead him to appreciate the value of “living in harmony with nature by utilizing solar energy versus pollution and exploiting coal and oil.” In addition to his work as a professor, Marlin has been a Franklin County Master Gardener for 28 years. He says, “Observing the ecology of plants, soil and climate reinforces the respect I have for how things can work together, and how the ecology of the environment can and too often is upset by the profit motive.”

With these perspectives as a driving force, Marlin reached out to the owner EcoHouse Solar, Kevin Eigel, to start the installation process. Marlin had 28 260 Watt LG solar panels installed on his roof. The panels were placed at a 15 degree tilt to maximize sunlight exposure. The total system is a size of 7.3 KW. Marlin explains that Kevin “was personally involved in the installation of the solar panels on his home and was available to answer questions”.  Not only was Kevin there as a project manager, but he also became part of a lasting friendship with Marlin as they continue to keep in touch.

After income tax deductions and Renewable Energy Credits from AEP, the net out of pocket investment was $14,000. Marlin says, “Although harnessing solar rays to generate energy for living was initially a sizable investment, it was the right way to live.” 

Marlin continues to reap the benefits of solar energy. His average electric bill before solar installation was $150 per month. Since installation, Marlin has not paid an electric bill. With the electricity savings, he only has a couple years left before reaching the break-even point. In addition, the value of his home increased by an estimated $15,000. There is also a built-in warranty with the panels for 25 years of operation. The greatest benefit for Marlin has been the reduction of his carbon footprint. Each year he is reducing his footprint by 12,000 tons. 

In summary, Marlin says, “I continue to be a positive and enthusiastic supporter of solar electricity.  Generally, I would like to see more people install solar panels and I welcome the opportunity to encourage others to switch to solar, especially lower income residents who need it most!”