Stillwater residents are already taking advantage of the new net metering plan and going solar
The Waits Family of Stillwater will be ending 2021 with some important changes in their household: they’re making the switch to solar power with a home system installation from Solar Power of Oklahoma (SPO) and also adding two new electric vehicles. The timing was right because of a new initiative from the City of Stillwater prompting many to consider the shift, too.
Savings for homeowners
“I wanted to have solar panels on our home for a long time to minimize our carbon footprint, and initially, just to cover the cost of charging our cars,” said homeowner Kristine Waits. “Solar power had to make sense from a financial standpoint and with the City of Stillwater’s new Distributive Generation policy, it absolutely does. In fact, given what we’re anticipating being able to save on our future electric bills plus the potential for environmental impact, it’s more like ‘Why wouldn’t you do solar?’”
A solar tax credit extended through 2022 also makes the investment more attractive, with the ability for homeowners to deduct up to 26% of the cost of common installation expenses like labor, equipment and sales tax. It is a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction available to both cash customers and those who use financing options. See seven reasons you should take a second look at saving with solar here.
Alternative energy: More municipalities are listening to consumers
Stillwater’s citizen task force led to a policy enabling lower costs, net metering, and joining the Ready for 100 campaign. Norman also joined.
Stillwater solar power customers pay $0.030-$0.040/kWh, while traditional utility customers pay $0.107/kWh.
“The new policy helped push us over the edge,” said Kristine of the decision-making process. “The tipping point was we were able to get very localized information relevant to Stillwater. The process was enlightening and empowering. I learned so much, including that for the power you might still use from the grid, Stillwater’s supplier, GRDA’s [Grand River Dam Authority], carbon footprint is already so small, as they have increased sourcing from water, wind and solar and no longer use coal.”
Along with other Stillwater residents, Kristine participated on the Renewable Energy Task Force throughout 2020 and into 2021. The group will present a final document to the City Council with additional suggestions for responsible use of electricity in the first quarter of 2022.
Addressing questions about conservation and consumer usage concerns.
“Solar power can seem like a daunting choice because you can get so lost in the numbers and acronyms but it’s actually really simple: use less and use smart,” said Kristine. “It’s not as hard and scary as it has to be when you have experts to guide you. We found that with Solar Power of Oklahoma. They made it really simple to understand.”
Kristine considers solar power a step in the right direction for conservation.
“In order for there to be forward motion on environmental concerns, homeowners have to be willing to take those steps. It’s all happening so quickly with car manufacturers now and is definitely the way of the future,” she explained. “Solar Power of Oklahoma is one of the few in our area offering car chargers, so that’s really important if you’re taking that step to own electric vehicles.”
Find out more about how solar power is helping meet the increased demand for home-based electric vehicle chargers.
Cutting the cost of electricity
Kristine planned to cover car charging, but policy change revealed savings from powering their home with solar panels. Kristine considers their household a high-use example.
“Apologetically, we are really high-use on electricity, with three kids and all our appliances,” she said. “No one turns off lights here, honestly, and we only anticipate our use going up with the addition of the cars, so we needed a way to cut costs. I think we’ve found it with SPO.”
Finding out how the panels work helped reassure Kristine they would not quickly be outmoded as technology continues to progress. Instead, updates are carried out online through an app without hardware updates.
Local change, global impact
Seek local expertise for accurate updates on solar power in your area, advises Kristine over online sources.
“If people have even the slightest interest, ask if it’ll work for you,” said Kristine. “It’s that beneficial. Having a helpful expert to answer questions and analyze roof data makes a big difference. It is wonderfully helpful.”
Find out more about the City of Stillwater’s Distributive Generation policy here.