For most people, their first interaction with solar energy is the tiny panel at the top of a school calculator. It’s hard to imagine a student who didn’t hold their thumb over the panel just long enough to watch the device’s digits disappear from the screen, only to remove their finger and watch the number cruncher come back to life.
But in 2020, it seems most people haven’t moved beyond that impression, despite decades of advancement since the technology was introduced. Western deserts are not dotted with solar farms, where energy companies soak up rays and diversify energy sources for residents.
Despite that, there is a fog of skepticism surrounding the technology. As we recently reported, some Freeport residents have been given a chance to lower their energy bills. Many people talk about the upfront cost as a barrier, and others point to a cloudy day stopping them from nuking a burrito in the microwave.
And yet such suspicions are not rooted in reality.
Solar panels are starting to appear on more and more homes, where some residents enjoy lowered energy bills or, sometimes, money back from energy companies. Even on cloudy days the devices work.
Some skeptics still point to the upfront cost, saying residents who invest in the technology won’t break even until 15 years later.
But 15 years down the line, people who haven’t invested in the solar option will also be paying their electric bill in full, all without the added benefit of solar. That’s like renting a car instead of buying one because it will take 15 years to pay off.
“I didn’t have to pay anything upfront, not a single penny. The first pay was the bill for the unit, and it’s always the same, I know how much it’s gonna be,” Freeport resident Rosa Lujan said. “I didn’t even notice the change, I couldn’t tell. It just switched over without me noticing.”
Multiple solar power generating facilities have expressed interest in moving to the county in recent years, and commissioners approved two tax breaks for Cypress Creek Renewables LLC in 2018, a company planning to construct two solar facilities in the county. The projects, according to the agreement, would bring 150 construction jobs and six permanent jobs.
Solar isn’t a hobby business anymore.
Residents need to take a second look at the energy source, even if they don’t plan to rely on it. Times have changed, and so should some opinions.