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Fayetteville man greens his holiday light display

Posted December 24, 2009

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— As concerns over energy use grow, more people are looking for ways to have a “green” Christmas.

Seasonal display gets greener Seasonal display gets greener

Ray Samples, who uses solar panels to power his Fayetteville home, has made his holiday light display eco-friendly too.

"You can see it for a long distance,” Samples said. "The colors are real vivid."

Outside his house, at 803 W. Mountain Drive, sits a 30-foot tree of lights with 400 bright-shining bulbs.

The lights are connected to solar panels with the energy being stored in a box. The box holds enough energy to power the lights for three cloudy days.

The display also uses LED lights. Per string they use about 2.4 watts of energy. Old-fashioned, incandescent bulbs use about 100 watts per string.

"I just like electronics. That is what I like to do,” Samples said of his inspiration to build the energy-efficient display.

The set up for a holiday solar display, like Samples, can cost as much as $500. It could take years before the energy savings pays for the setup equipment.

But Samples said despite the initial costs, solar is the future.

"Oil is getting more expensive. The sun is free,” he said.

Recently, Samples began selling some of his excess solar energy from his home to the area power company. He said it could earn him as much as $600 a year.

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