Highland News Leader

Solar rays help Southern Illinois radio station reach the air waves

WGEL radio station’s tower site off Illinois 127 near Greenville, complete with a new solar energy panels.
WGEL radio station’s tower site off Illinois 127 near Greenville, complete with a new solar energy panels.

Green energy is now helping to bring "the best country in the country" to the people of Bond County and the surrounding area.

Since March, a solar panel ground array has been helping to power the transmitter site of WGEL radio in Greenville.

“The solar panels will dramatically reduce our energy bills and let us produce clean power that qualifies for solar renewable energy credit, making the array a great investment for our business” said Tom Kennedy, general manager of the radio station that has been broadcasting country music and local news and events at 101.7 FM for more than 30 years.

The panels have been generating power every day, even with its cloudy.

“That was one of the surprises to me when we started researching solar power, we found conditions don’t need to be perfect to produce energy,” said Kennedy.

WGEL hopes to recoup the cost of the solar array over the next three to four years, and the panels should continue to produce energy for 20 or more years.

“We partnered with Tick Tock Energy and Pals Electric, both with many years of experience putting together solar arrays. As a radio station, we never want to be off the air, and they were able to do all the work without any broadcast interruptions.”

WGEL will consumer most of the energy that is produced by the 20 KW system, but any over production will be sent back into the grid. Southwestern Electric is the power supplier at the radio station’s tower site off Illinois 127.

“It’s a great thing to produce clean energy, but this was a business decisions and an investment that will pay off for years to come. Tick Tock energy even set up an App called 'Sunny Portal' that allows us to monitor just how much energy is being produced. It’s another reason to smile when the sun is shining,” Kennedy said.

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