Hodges Badge is the second Washington business this month to flip the switch on a solar power system to not only save operating costs, but to make an investment in and for the future.

Company owner Rick Hodges says this is the latest step in a solar plan he has had since before the building was built.

“We’ve been trying to be a green company for a while,” Hodges explained. “We actually chose this lot because it is laid out east/west. We have a 250-watt wind turbine at our Rhode Island plant.”

The 150-watt system is nearing completion and once it goes online Hodges estimates it will save 25 to 30 percent on electrical costs, but they will not be using any battery system.

“The majority of our electrical costs are lighting and air conditioning,” he said. “Ameren gives us 50 cents per kilowatt back into the grid up to 150 kilowatts. The cost to install the systems have come down. If they keep getting cheaper to install, I’m not sure how much longer Ameren will give the incentives.”

Hodges added once the installation is complete, it must be inspected before the switch can be flipped to harness the power of the sun.

“They should be finished this week,” he said. “Ameren has to come inspect it before we can tie into their grid. That process has become a lot smoother and faster since more and more people are installing these systems.”

Last month, 390 solar panels were installed on the roof of Straatmann Toyota in Washington. That solar array is expected to generate enough power to offset 70 percent of the building’s entire electrical load.

Owner Bill Straatmann says the installation of the panels is not only about savings, but a look to the future.

Like Hodges, Straatmann said his biggest use of electricity is air conditioning. The addition of the solar panels should save between 60 and 75 percent every month on the dealership’s electric bills.

Hodges Badge, located at 6440 Enduro Drive, is the No. 1 custom manufacturer of ribbons, rosettes, medals, presentation silver, sashes and buttons in the United States. The company has been family owned and operated since 1920.

All of its products are manufactured in Washington. Hodges Badge corporate office is located in Portsmouth, R.I.