Edward – San Angelo, Texas
System size: 6.44 kW
I had always believed that one of the best ways to maintain one’s own source of power would be to have solar.
Why did you decide to go solar?
I moved to my own house in Texas and found that it was often very sunny and warm here. I had always believed that one of the best ways to maintain one’s own source of power would be to have solar and wind energy as power supply. Generally, wherever I have been, when the sun was strong, the wind was a bit slow, and when the sun was obscured by the weather, most times, the wind was kicking hard. Texas has both, but solar in this location is the best ROI. Except for the following story or 2 this has been a very good move. I will note climate concerns, but I have a greater respect for saving money.
Did anything surprise you about the process of going solar?
1. I am disabled, and receive most of my current income as tax-exempt. I was not able to take advantage of the IRS benefits of this system. I am able to use the property tax credits in my county.
2. I made an error which needs to be corrected. I did not invest in battery back up. A storm last winter created a power issue. My electricity was cut off for 3 days, as was a high percentage of Texas. (we don’t see much snow around here) I am a wheelchair bound veteran. My house is laid out to accommodate most of my disabilities, and hygiene but being frozen out left me in a position where I had to leave my home to find adequate warmth, and lose some of the ADL facilities which my disabilities require.
Do you have any data about your solar system performance? What electricity savings have you seen since going solar?
My system is performing well. I was a bit surprised that spring and fall were more economical than summer was. I realized that electric heat and air conditioning were a higher draw on the system. I am trying to economically find a system to back up with battery. I am debating between installing batteries in system or using chargeable “generators” to keep power available. As I am handicapped, I will probably have to go with the permanent back up which is more expensive, but way more accessible.
What advice would you give to someone considering going solar?
Bite the bullet, set up for more energy than you think you need, and do it with the back up. Make sure that you have a reasonable energy company that will handle your overages without shorting you.
Anything else you’d like to add?
While saving the environment might be a political argument for another day, and another time, as a long term investment this has been a positive move. As a disabled Vet with my support equipment mostly electric, I have considered this a bonus, and with the right back up the system would work for me, and the next person who might find these accommodations useful.