Niagara Gazette

Features

August 28, 2013

Area homeowners say their solar panels pay for themselves in just a few years

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

Wagner, who also uses geothermal heating and an “on demand” hot water system, contracted with Solar Liberty to install his panels two months ago. His electric bill dropped from $150 last winter to $18 this past month. “That was just a service charge to keep the account open because we actually had a negative balance on the account. They actually owed us 32 kilowatts,” he said.

“Everything I’m doing is going to save us money,” he said of himself, his wife and two children.  

Saving money was also on the mind of William Conrad, a retired Tonawanda man who installed solar panels several months ago instead of investing the cost in the bank.

“The cash outlay was about $24,000,” said Conrad, who monitors his system online. “If I put $24,000 in the bank last year, what would I be getting this year? You’d probably get a dollar or two but that’s about it.” 

And while some customers report zero or negative electric bills, Conrad’s electric bill has decreased from about $260 to $50. It would be even cheaper if this summer had been sunnier, he noted. 

Conrad said he invested in the panels for his Green Acres ranch home to keep his bills low throughout his retirement years. 

“It’s from an economical standpoint rather than a green standpoint, but green is great too,” he said. “And if more industries got on board, that would really be a good thing.”

Dr. Teresa Ruth has been so impressed by the solar panels installed in her home that she hopes to have them installed at her business, the Animal Kingdom Veterinary Hospital on Grand Island. 

She had looked into getting the panels for her home years ago, but found that with all the federal and state incentives now available, the systems cost about two-thirds less. 

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