Houston recently gained its first solar powered home, and now, the city can boast that 100 percent of energy it produces is renewable.
The owner of the solar powered home, Barbara Byrd, attended the annual Sustainable Living Festival in West Plains where she learned about the event’s co-sponsor, Craig Wiles, and his company Preferred Energy. Byrd had previously been interested in pursuing a “green” lifestyle, and decided to have Wiles bring solar power to her home on Dewey Street.
“I’ve had interest in environmental actions like this before, but I didn’t realize there was anyone around here who did this,” said Byrd. “I may not live long enough to recoup the entire cost of doing this, but at least I’ll be getting electricity from someplace other than coal-fired plants. I try to live as sustainable as I can, and this seemed like a good thing.”
Wiles had said that ballpark cost to outfit an average sized home with 100 percent solar power is somewhere in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, and that it takes about 15 to 20 years to completely repay investment costs.
Byrd’s 18-panel system showed immediate benefits when it began running this past weekend – the home’s electric meter was spinning backwards and excess electricity generated by the system was being sent to out Houston’s power grid.
Interestingly enough, Byrd is now the sole producer of Houston’s energy, and it’s entirely sustainable. “Because the city of Houston produces no electricity, and Barbara’s system is the only one in town feeding back on the grid, 100 percent of the energy that Houston produces is from solar energy,” Wiles said. “That’s pretty cool.”
Wiles founded Preferred Energy in 1998, primarily due to fears surrounding the Y2K fiasco. He has lived off the grid since 1997 and owns a farm powered by 100 percent solar electricity.
Wiles noted that the price of investing in solar power is lowering to where it has become competitive with coal plants, and that there are solar farms cropping up all over the nation.
“I think it’s time more people stopped renting their power and start owning it,” said Wiles. “Solar is the best way to make that happen – we really believe it’s no longer an alternative source, but actually the preferred energy.”