Solar Panels Eliminating Some North Texans’ Electricity Bills Entirely

WITH HIM IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES. >>> DESPITE THE RECENT CLOUDS AND RAIN, MORE TEXAS HOMEOWNERS ARE FINDING THE SON PAYS. MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE USING THE POWER OF THE SUN TO CREATE THEIR OWN ELECTRICITY. FOR SOME, IT CAN ELIMINATE ELECTRICITY BILLS ENTIRELY. >> Reporter: AS THE SUN SHINES ON TRACY MELISSA'S HOME, SHE KNOWS THE SOLAR PANELS ON HER ROOF ARE SOAKING UP ENERGY. >> WE ARE HAPPY TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. >> Reporter: THEY ARE ALSO HAPPY ABOUT THE MONEY THEY SAVE. >> IT'S REALLY FUN TO HAVE A NEGATIVE ENERGY BILL [ LAUGHTER ].

>> Reporter: THE PANELS INSTALLED ON THE ROOF TWO YEARS AGO ARE PAYING OFF. >> EVEN IN JANUARY OUR BILL WAS $-11. THAT'S A GREAT WAY TO START THE YEAR. >> Reporter: BUT THE UPFRONT COST CAN GET YOU. INSTALLING A FIVE KILOWATT SOLAR PANEL SYSTEM CAN RUN YOU UP TO $50,000. THE PAYBACK COULD BE CLOSER TO 12 YEARS. A 10 KILOWATT SYSTEM, LIKE THE ONE BEHIND ME, IS CLOSER TO $30,000. BUT REMEMBER, THE LARGER THE SYSTEM, THE MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO COMPLETELY OFFSET YOUR ENERGY USAGE. ACCORDING TO A GOVERNMENT REPORT , LAST YEAR TEXAS WAS THE COUNTRY'S SECOND LARGEST PRODUCER OF SOLAR ENERGY COME AFTER CALIFORNIA.

IT IS ON TRACK TO BE NUMBER ONE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. >> WE THINK OF TEXAS AS THE LAND OF OIL AND GAS, BUT TEXAS IS, BY FAR, THE NUMBER ONE ENERGY INSTALLED STATE ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. SOLAR IS CATCHING UP VERY RAPIDLY. >> Reporter: DR. SHIA, A PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING SAYS BOTH THE SUN AND WIND ARE BRINGING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN INVESTMENT TO THE STATE. THAT COULD GO A LONG WAY IN PREVENTING AN EVENT LIKE THE ONE WE EXPERIENCED THIS PAST FEBRUARY.

>> ONCE YOU PUT A SOLAR PANEL ON TOP OF YOUR HOUSE YOU ARE SORT OF COMBINING SOURCES. THE PANEL ITSELF, AS WELL AS THE GREAT. THINK ABOUT THE GRID, IT'S A BIG EFFORT. THE SUN IS SHINING AND PRODUCING LOTS OF ELECTRICITY, THEN THE MAJORITY OF THE ELECTRICITY HOUSEHOLD WILL BE COMING FROM THE SOLAR PANEL. >> Reporter: THE PANELS REDUCE THE STRESS ON THE GRID. IN CASE OF A BLACKOUT, YOUR HOUSE WILL BE POWERED IF YOU HAVE BATTERY STORY I STORAGE. >> THAT WILL BE OUR NEXT PURCHASE, A BATTERY. >> Reporter: THE RIGHT BATTERY BACKUP TO KEEP THE POWER ON WILL DOUBLE THE PRICE OF THE SOLAR PANEL SYSTEM. TRACY AND MARK STARTED THEIR OWN SOLAR INSTALLATION COMPANY LAST YEAR, AFTER THEIR POSITIVE INSTALL EXPERIENCE. THEY ARE STRONG ADVOCATES FOR SOLAR ENERGY, BUT BOTH AGREE IT IS NOT SOMETHING TO GO INTO LIGHTLY. >> YOU GOT TO GET THE PERMIT FROM THE CITY, PERMISSION TO OPERATE FROM THE UTILITY, THE INSPECTIONS AND THEN YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR HLA APPROVAL.

IT CAN TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS. >> Reporter: EVEN THEN, AS WE LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE, MANY BELIEVE SOLAR IS A PRETTY BRIGHT IDEA. >> HE CAN ALSO GET A 26% FEDERAL INCOME TAX CREDIT AND SOME OTHER LOCAL CREDITS FOR INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS. YOU WILL NEED TO CHECK WITH YOUR ELECTRICITY PROVIDER TO SEE IF THEY BUY BACK ENERGY YOU .

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