Charlie, Donna, and Matthew – Winter Garden, Florida

October 20, 2021 Florida, Homeowner stories

Going solar made me more politically active for renewable energy.

Charlie, Donna, and Matthew – Winter Garden, FL
Went solar with the West Orange Solar Co-op in 2015
System size: 10 kW, 44 solar panels

Why did you decide to go solar?

We are very supportive of all environmental efforts and especially the promotion of sustainable energy, but solar power system had to be financially beneficial before we would proceed with that investment.

Why did you decide to go solar with the co-op?

First, the co-op was key to bringing solar to our attention. We had only owned our home for a few months and solar power was not initially a priority.  Next, the co-op was key in educating us on the benefits of solar which led us to investigate solar and decide to proceed. Finally, the co-op was key to conducting a competition that allowed its members to get an affordable price.  Without this financial advantage, we would probably not have solar today.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to go solar?

Solar power can be a big investment, so homeowners considering solar should take advantage of the information provided by their co-op and other information available on the web.  The next key for me was financing.  We took out a home equity loan, and we made sure the savings from our system were roughly the same as my monthly payments so it wouldn’t be a financial burden.

Has anything surprised you about going solar?

Two things:  I enjoy checking the performance of my system online and check it a lot more than I thought and I’m more proud to show it off to others than I thought! The second thing is that it was a lot harder to figure out how much money we were saving every month.  I had to dig pretty hard to understand our Duke bill to figure it out.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Since getting solar, we are much more aware of the politics here in Florida regarding solar power.  Florida is one of the best states in the country for solar power generation, but our state does very little to encourage homeowners to make this fairly big investment.  Florida – especially West Orange County where we live – is growing rapidly and would really benefit from homeowners investing in solar power.  Anything that can be done to encourage homeowners to invest in solar will benefit us all by slowing the pace of added demand on the grid and delaying the need for new power plants.  Last year’s Amendment 1 fiasco is an unfortunate reminder that Florida’s Power Utilities will go to great lengths to further their own financial goals at the expense of what is best for the people of Florida.