Free Tours of Texas Solar Homes This Past Weekend

Rooftop solar reduces the need to tap expensive power plants during spikes in demand, keeping prices down for all electricity customers and strengthening grid viability. Photo: USAF

by Eric Galatas

AUSTIN, Texas – This pat weekend, homeowners in Texas and all 50 states were opening their homes to friends, neighbors or anyone curious about adding solar energy to power homes.

Texas ranks sixth nationally for total installed solar capacity, but most solar arrays are at utility scale, not on individual rooftops.

Hanna Mitchell is Texas program director of Solar United Neighbors, the group behind the tour. She says so far, more than 850 solar houses across the nation have signed on.

“We’re really excited to see about 75 homes participating in Texas,” she states. “This is a chance to see solar energy on a home in action in your state and in your town.”

Texans were able to check out their neighbors’ solar panels, the inverter and electric box, which is what captures and transmits the power from the sun and converts it into electricity.

Mitchell says solar is one of the fastest growing segments of the clean energy industry, in part because costs have dropped far enough to make solar less expensive than older technologies.

Homeowners also shared their electric bills, before and after installing solar, showing how much money they were saving.

According to Mitchell, installing rooftop solar benefits all electricity customers, especially during high spikes in demand.

“In fact, having more distributed generation adds to grid viability and prevents the need to bring on more expensive power plants, which is what causes those price spikes that we can see, especially in summer months,” she points out.

This is the second year Solar United Neighbors has partnered with the American Solar Energy Society in a national solar tour.

Mitchell says the goal is to help people learn more about how solar energy works, so they can make informed decisions about their energy choices.

For more information, visit nationalsolartour.org.

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