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Experts and homeowners agree that solar panels are worth it

Experts and homeowners agree that solar panels are worth it
Experts and homeowners agree that solar panels are worth it 02:11

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As North Texans face skyrocketing electricity bills, more and more are considering switching to solar energy.

"Call volume is about double," said Craig Thrush with Kosmos Solar, a solar installation company.

Homeowners are being hit with high power bills, while dealing with extremely high summer temperatures, and they're looking for ways to save money.

Concerns about the reliability of the state's power grid is also driving the increase in interest.

"That's one of the biggest things that people are asking right now is how do I lower my bill?" Thrush said. "How do I stop paying these ridiculous increases? How do I make sure that I'm not going to lose power during these heat waves when it's just dangerous?"

Homeowner Julia Loughridge installed solar panels on her North Richland Hills home a few years ago.

"As it continues to just be a crazy, super-hot summer this year, I'm thankful because I can run my air conditioning and I don't worry about it at all," she said. "That's the beauty of it. My bill, the most it's been for the past couple months with all this heat, is about 20 bucks. Can't really argue with that."

The solar panels on her roof generate enough energy to cover almost all of her everyday usage. Even with financing the cost of installation, Loughridge says it's been well worth it.

"It still came in on a monthly basis lower than our average monthly utility bill, so it was kind of a no-brainer," said Loughridge.

Installing solar panels on your house is an investment, but energy experts say it's probably worth it if you want to lower your monthly bills, go green, or reduce your reliance on the state's power grid.

"I predict in the future, it will be a good financial decision for you to make as electricity gets progressively more expensive," said Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M.

You do need to weigh your personal financial situation and overall energy consumption. Your home also may not be ideal for solar energy, depending on which way it faces or whether you're under an HOA restrictions.

Solar panels alone won't keep your lights on if the state's power grid every fails again, like it did in the 2021 winter storm. You have to install a battery back-up system as well, at an added cost, if you want to have power during an outage.

"Right now, now there's a tax break," Dessler said. "You get a 26% tax credit, which means the government will pay for about a quarter of your installation. That's going to go down at the end of this year to 22% and then it's going to go to zero in 2024."

That's why Dessler says now is the time to go solar if you're seriously considering making the switch.

For many families, the proof is in the paper bill they get each month.

"As soon as they switch to solar, what their next bill - they call it a 'power credit statement' because it's not even a bill anymore," Thrush said. "It's a negative number."

Thrush recommends doing your research before getting solar panels installed on your home or business. Find a local installer that comes recommended and can come up with the best system for you.

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