Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive April 2011 Show 1114 Solar Homes

Solar Homes

We show you how a growing number of Oklahomans are using the sun to lower their household energy bills and are entering the solar age on their own.
Solar Homes

A solar home

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Sun City Energy

Show Dates

Show 1114: Solar Homes

Air date: April 3, 2011



Rob McClendon:  Well the solar industry currently supports roughly 46,000 jobs across the US and could grow by another 10,000 jobs this year alone.  In a world where energy consumption will only go up, solar energy has tremendous potential; yet, still meets only the tiniest fraction of man’s need for power.  Now while we may not live in a world where solar panels cover every roof and vast solar farms displace coal-fired plants, we are much further along than where we were just a few years ago.  Already a growing number of homeowners are entering the solar age on their own.  And with more on that, here's our Andy Barth.

Andy Barth:  Well Rob, I’m here in Stillwater at the home of Dana Cole where crews recently installed solar panels on their house.  Solar energy is becoming a thriving industry that is quickly becoming a household concept.

[sound of power tools]

Catching some sun rays doesn’t mean what it used to.  Solar panels are popping up on rooftops all across the country.

Chris Gary:  Every system is different, every size of system is different so it just depends on what size of system you’re putting in.

Andy:  Chris Gary is the General Manager for Sun City Solar Energy in Oklahoma City where they offer a wide range of solar energy services.

Chris:  We have solar hot water systems to help reduce natural, natural gas costs if you have a natural gas, solar hot water heater and/or electric heater.  We also have solar pool heating systems.  If anybody’s ever heated a pool with gas with a regular heater they’ll see how quick they get a return on their investment.

Andy:  And these systems aren’t just cost effective, they can hold their own in Oklahoma weather.

Chris:  We have systems that are up that went through close to softball size hail at 65 mile an hour winds and we did not lose a panel.

Andy:  And the statistics are convincing enough for homeowner Dana Cole.

Dana Cole:  I’ve already seen some results and been, been pleasantly surprised; just right after it came online.

Andy:  Now Cole’s home won’t be operated solely by solar power; it will be a partnership between the grid and the panels.

Dana:  Everything runs off the grid if there’s not enough coming from solar.  If there’s enough or more than enough coming from solar it feeds the electricity back, you know, through the meter and we get a credit for that. So everything just evens out, it’s like the grid is a great big battery for us.

Andy:  And you don’t have to worry about upkeep.

Chris:  Zero maintenance on almost all of our systems.  All of our systems that we design are designed to last 30 plus years on there.  So, it’s one of the great things about solar, once it’s up there’s nothing you really need to do with it.

Andy:  Now it’s important to note that the Cole’s didn’t switch to solar power to save money, but rather to conserve energy and to decrease dependency on fossil fuels.

Rob:  So, does making the switch to solar make economic sense?

Andy:  Well Rob, each project varies on size, but the average cost of installation is $19,000 to $21,000.  Now before you cringe, that’s before the federal government kicks in a 30% tax credit just for switching to solar energy.

Rob:  Alright, thank you so much Andy.  Now if you are waiting for the day when we can all ditch our gas guzzling cars and power our morning commute using nothing but the sun, believe it or not, that day may not be that far away.  Just head to where we have a look at a one of a kind solar-powered race; all you have to do is click on this week's value added.