Alternative energies available before the coming winter

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — With about two months before winter officially begins in Texas, it is the first since the February freeze.

Now there are alternative energies and communities are powering up their homes to try and avoid another possible winter storm power failure.

Two alternative options to traditional electricity are solar and wind.

Harlingen resident, Chris Hamby told ValleyCentral he made the switch to alternative energy in 2009 once he saw his electric bill continuing to increase every four to five months.

Hamby initially made the transition from traditional electricity to wind energy through a windmill. He owned a windmill for about a year and then switched to solar panels. Since then, he has owned three homes with solar panels.

Hamby said he has saved roughly $320 on electricity every month. Aside from a lower electric bill, he said there is a federal incentive of 26% credit with the government dollar-for-dollar rebate that he couldn’t pass up on either.

American Made Solar and Wind CEO, Alejandro ‘Alex’ Peña said he has installed at least 500 solar panels across the RGV since he first started with this company 16 years ago.

Due to new development in solar technology, it is now both practical and feasible to send “generous quantities” of water to remote areas, according to Southwest Texas Solar.

“San Antonio, Laredo, all of those places don’t have water,” said Peña. “60% of the energy we use in Texas is just to pump water. We don’t have the infrastructure to do that, so what we’re doing is putting solar panels up to help the government pump that water to San Antonio.”

How it works is a typical water well installation will have the electricity through the solar panel travel to the pump, and then into the city’s reservoir.

Solar panels do have a multi-year warranty and will cost thousands to install. For example, American Made Solar and Wind has a 25-year warranty and Peña said it will cost at least $7,000 to install.

If you happen to move, Peña can uninstall the solar panels and transfer them to your next house.

Although American Made Solar and Wind does instill wind turbines, Peña added that he doesn’t recommend them for residential homes because more land is needed on the property.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, at least one acre is needed to install a wind turbine.

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