Going green can be easy. A new solar initiative is teaching Houstonians how having solar panels now can save you money later.
HOUSTON — Solar energy is changing the way some people power their homes, but the process can be overwhelming and expensive.
A new co-op initiative in Houston is helping to educate the public about the process and does the bidding for them. Participants say, so far, it is paying off.
“I’m super excited. I’ve seen friends who have gone solar and they posted stories about, like, well, you know, my bill is down this much over this month. I’ve been like, wow, maybe I should look into that. I’m just here in this house with my daughter so we don’t use a ton of electricity. But even keeping it cool for just the two of us, we’ll see it run into $253 a month. It would be nice to look at a June power bill and only see $150 on there,” Tim Cragins said.
Cragins recently decided to convert his Spring Branch home to solar power. When he first learned of the potential savings of converting to solar, Cragins was intrigued, but not sold.
“I’ve always been worried that we’ve got two big trees, a front yard, and back yard, like, I don’t know if I’m a good candidate. I don’t know who to talk to and I don’t know if the math checks out … if I get my money back,” Cragins said.
Cragins said the City of Houston’s co-op initiative with Solar United Neighbors and Sunshine Renewable Solutions made his decision easier. Experts educate co-op members who are interested in learning about solar to navigate the process and they do the bidding for them. Dori Wolfe is a coordinator.
“It’s like buying a car. You have to either put down a chunk of change or get a loan. But unlike buying a car, this investment actually pays itself off after 10 to 15 years,” Wolfe said.
Solar customers have three buying options. They can pay for it outright, lease or finance the panels.
Sunshine Renewable Solutions said it costs anywhere between $20,000 to $50,000 depending on how much sunlight your house gets, how many panels you get and how you finance it.
Wolfe said buying options have helped Houston compete with other big cities.
“We are growing the fastest as far as incorporating solar into our rooftops,” Wolfe said.
But Houston still lags behind San Antonio, Austin and El Paso in terms of residential solar per capita, according to …….