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House & Home

Will going solar at your home save you some green?

Posted March 12, 2019 11:33 p.m. EDT
Updated March 13, 2019 5:31 p.m. EDT

— There are a lot of reasons homeowners decide to go green and let the sun power their homes.

One big reason could be the financial impact, which has helped convince people like Al Keller that transitioning to solar power has been beneficial.

He says his utility bills tell the story.

Before he installed solar panels at his home, he paid $250 a month, he says. Now, he points to a bill of about $36.

"Easy," he says.

Each one of his 33 panels produces 260 watts of power.

"What they're doing now is 290-300 watts," he said. "And it's doing a great job."

The systems take three to four days to install but the savings can last a lifetime.

There are times when the solar power system shuts down, including during any outage when the electrical provider will lose power during a storm.

"It's a safety thing," said Graham Alexander, a spokesman for Southern Energy Management. "It's protection of the lineman. If you have this power generation source on your home and you have a Duke Energy lineman working on the lines and if it's not installed correctly per code, that energy could in essence go through your home and back out to the grid."

Solar power is gaining in popularity for a number of reason, and saving money on utility bills tops the list.

But systems are getting more efficient and more affordable.

"And average system today is going to (cost) around $18,000 to $20,000, depending on the usage of the home," Alexander said.

Some companies, like Duke Energy, offer a $6,000 rebate to customers who go solar are also eligible for a 30 percent tax credit being offered by the federal government to encourage homeowners to go green..

Industry observers say the solar industry is also bringing jobs and economic development opportunities.

Some of the highest levels of investment are in rural counties, with Catawba, Robeson, and Wayne leading in utility-scale solar investments.