NewsHillsborough County


Advocates say solar co-ops help navigate energy independence process

Residents said solar panels provides savings
Solar Panels
Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 05:34:34-04

TAMPA, Fla — Solar advocates celebrated energy independence after Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill that would get rid of incentives.

“Those are five panels. The rest of the panels are on the back," Janet Stanko, a solar panel advocate said.

Nineteen solar panels collecting energy and money for Stanko. She installed her solar panel system in 2021 for $16,000. With a tax credit, her final total came out to $12,000.

“We used to pay about $200 in our old house for electricity. Now I pay $20.82 for basic connection and charges with taxes and fees."

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Stanko said if there's any extra energy through the solar panel, her electric meter runs backward and gives her credit. That credit comes through what's called net metering. She said it will help pay the bill when she uses more energy than her panels generate.

“As far as the net metering and all that, it has saved me money because I'm just paying the costs for, you know, there's a base rate I think $25 in fees and things like that. So, my electric bill went from like $400 a month to anywhere between $27 and $100 a month depending on what time of year it is," Janet Lorton, another solar advocate, said.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp told ABC Action News that switching to solar gives everyone more bang for their buck.

“It's creating energy independence and clean air. It's all a win, win, win, win, win, creating jobs and switching to new sources of energy," Kemp said.

Kemp said there’s a pent-up desire for energy independence in the Sunshine State and joining what’s called a solar co-op can help people navigate through the solar panel process, together.

“Long term benefit from their analysis and everything I've seen is, you pay off the first seven years or so, you're paying off what you would be paying to the electric company to whatever that is, and instead you're putting it into your own power company that's on your rooftop. After that your energy's free. It's actually far less than the cost of paying your electric bills over 25 years," Kemp explained.