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Garden blossoms with solar panels

Modified: Sunday, Jun 15th, 2014

The electricity generated by Joan Erlanger’s $20,000 solar power system helps feed the energy needs of her neighbors, while excess produce from her tidy urban farm goes to friends and the food bank. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

LINCOLN CITY — Planted amid the herbs, vegetables and fruits of Joan Erlanger’s sprawling garden is an array of solar panels that help feed the neighborhood’s energy appetite.

Towering over the vines of a nearby bed of sweet peas, 18 U.S.-made, monocrystalline panels mounted on a rotating platform silently draw the sun’s energy year-round. Photo and infrared sensors automatically align the array along a 270-degree arc to the brightest part of the sky, rain or shine.

“It follows the sun until the sky falls below 10 candlepower, then it goes absolutely flat,” said Erlanger, whose back-to-the-earth ethos is plain for all to see at the corner of Northwest 19th and Jetty streets.

The wife of three-term city councilman Chester Noreikas doesn’t rub her environmental values in other people’s faces, though it’s hard not to notice her conservative lifestyle.

For the complete article see the 06-13-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-13-2014 paper.

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