Sun City residents generate renewable energy
As utility costs and populations soar, more Central Texans want renewable energy that translates into lower electric bills. These homeowners are installing photovoltaic systems (photo means light and voltaic means voltage), also called solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity. Retirees Gary and Donna Sandercock of Sun City believe in this technology and its benefits.
In 2008 the couple installed their first photovoltaic system in Los Gatos, California, at a cost of $16,000 after rebates. In California, a resident is either a user or a supplier of the grid. Gary and Donna were users during the winter months and net providers—their home produced more energy than it required—during the summer. The couple paid $11 per month for access to the grid, in addition to $141 for the annual cost of their power in 2009.
After relocating to Sun City in 2011, the Sandercocks wanted solar energy to account for a third of their home’s power. “Solar power is slowly coming to Georgetown,” Gary says. “As more people install these systems, the need for more infrastructure will decrease.”
They chose Tom Norrell Your Solar Solutions to install thirteen sophisticated 230-watt solar microinverters for $12,000. The system generates 500-kilowatt hours monthly and is designed to produce a maximum of 2,900-killowatts. At the time of installation, Georgetown’s rebate program was inactive. But since June, Georgetown has accepted applications for Green Links Solar Rebates for residential and small commercial properties with photovoltaic solar panels. This program offers limited funds to residents who have installed any source of distributed renewable electric generation (D-REG) on the Georgetown Utility System (GUS) electric distribution system.
Tom, an electrical contractor for twenty-two years and solar panel installer for six, explains, “Electric companies can’t keep up with our growth and society’s ever-increasing need for energy.”
When people are interested in installing a system, Tom’s company begins with a free site evaluation using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) tool In My Backyard (IMBY) that estimates a home’s roof size, condition, and angle (for optimum results, the panels should be installed on the south side of the house) to determine whether the house is a good solar panel candidate. The client’s budget, the house’s energy efficiency, and the percentage of electricity to be replaced are other factors under consideration. The entire process takes about three weeks.
While not everyone is ready or able to jump on the new photovoltaic trends right away, one thing is for sure: Central Texas has plenty of power-generating sunshine to light up the town!”
For more information, visit www.tomnorrellmasterelectrician.com.