Solar energy seems the way to go for Central Texans in this heat

Central Texans are changing energy sources and going green. Some say it saves them money and now they do not have to rely on the grid. Here are the pros and cons.

TEMPLE, Texas β€” Central Texans say they are tired of relying on the power grid, and the cost of their energy bills are through the roof.

Experts at A&M Central Texas University said going solar is worth it if you want to save money, get off the grid and go green. But they added that every solar investment is unique.

Experts mention you have to look at your personal energy consumption and the specific company you go through.

“If your house is consuming less energy, then you are getting two bills,” Dr. Vinay Gonela, a management professor at A&M Central Texas said. “The first one is to your solar and the second is a minimum payment to your electricity company.”

Dr. Gonela added that if you consume enough energy, getting solar will pay off. He said sometimes that consumption has to be upwards of 25 kilowatts.

He also said there is an added benefit where you receive a 26% tax rebate from the Federal Government if you install solar panels.

Dr. Robert Tennant, a Professor of Finance and Economics at A&M Central said now is the time to go solar.

“Energy companies are raising their prices, and once your contract is up with your company, the cost fluctuates with the market,” Dr. Tennant said. “So you don’t know what your electricity bill will be, it could go from 10 cents a kilowatt, all the way to a dollar.”

One homeowner in Temple has already seen the benefits her solar panels bring. Her monthly electricity payments are now down to zero.

“We’ve had only one bill of $30 in the last three months and this month we don’t have a bill at all,” Judith Storgaard, a homeowner in Temple said.

Stargarrd said the only monthly payment she makes is the one where she is paying off her solar panels.

Gonela said it is worth getting solar panels if the power grid ever goes out, like it did in the winter of 2021. But in order to keep your solar energy going during a power outage, you will have to buy a battery backup. Without it, you face the same outage as everyone else.

That’s what upset a homeowner down the street from Storgaard. Shelby Mercer said she and her family bought solar panels so they could rely less on the grid and save money.

Mercer said she didn’t know the battery backup was needed if a blackout happens. And the panels alone have put her family in a financial bind if they ever want to move.

“So they tell you basically if you’re gonna sell then get out from under it pay it off because it’s not going to be of value basically,” Mercer said.

But Storgaard said, for her specific case, the solar company she signed up with would came to uninstall her panels and helped her move them to another home.

“Basically, they’re just like any other appliance,” Storgaard said. “They’re like the hot tub I have, they go where I go.

Storgaard also said that she plans to live at her same home for the rest of her life, so the panels and the monthly financial investment made sense.

Experts say the best way to find out if solar panels are right for you is to evaluate your energy consumption and make sure you sign-up with the right energy company.

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