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Ruth and Charlie Cole“It’s something my wife had always wanted,” Cole said.


Cole, a 30-year U.S. Army veteran, said his daughter, Mary Davila, met a couple
of guys from Sundance Renewable Solutions at the Bell County Expo Center last winter. After an in-house consultation, Cole took the leap and became the first on his block, and probably Temple, to harness sunlight and convert it into household electricity.

Sundance electrical director Stanley Bland said homeowners need to consider
a couple of factors before investing in a rooftop system.

“We fit it to the size of the roof, the size of the person’s pocketbook, fit all the components together until we find a size that fits everything,” Bland said. “It’s a mix and match.”

Like a good garden, the house needs a southern exposure to seize as much sunlight as possible. With clear skies, the Coles captured about 12 hours on Wednesday.

Bland said the Coles are reaping a higher than usual amount of energy because they already have an energy-efficient house. Typically, solar rooftop panels cut electric bills between 30 and 40 percent.

The panels have been tested and can sustain golfballs hurtling at 90 mph, Bland said.

Insurance is typically available through the homeowner’s policy.

Cole significantly lowered his installation cost by taking advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Add to that Oncor Electric Delivery’s incentive and a $21,000 system costs about $8,000.

According to the solar panels’ size, Oncor will rebate up to a maximum of $24,600 for a system. John Toone, operations director at Oncor in Temple, said the incentive money was funded by both Oncor and electricity users through a monthly surcharge. The program is the result of 2001 state legislation aimed to propel Texas into developing alternative energy production and conservation.

Oncor has allocated $16 million for the four-year program. It expects to install 1,400 systems at homes, businesses and government buildings. The solar rebates are one of 31 programs designed to help alleviate demand from the electrical grid.

“If we can promote less usage, we don’t have to build as much infrastructure to serve the people, so the cost doesn’t have to be so high,” Toone said. “It’s a win for us. It’s a win for the customers.”

More information on the Web: www.takealoadofftexas.com

Source: Temple Daily Telegram - TDNews.com

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