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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 8 years ago

Spanish Main homes install solar power

by: Dora Walters Senior Editor

For years, John Clay has been interested in the environment and what can be done to save it.

He and his wife, Mary Dailey, drive a hybrid car and recycle whenever possible.

Recently, the Spanish Main couple decided to investigate installing a solar system, which would provide the electricity required to maintain their residence.

First, Clay checked to make sure it would not violate any regulations in the complex. It did not — the Florida Solar Rights Law would override any association rules if there had been any.

Cost and construction came next.

The cost was estimated at $35,000, but Clay quickly learned with the current emphasis on the environment, incentives such as tax credits were available.

A maximum of $20,000 is available from the state based on the watts in the selected system. This benefit is scheduled to expire in June, but the Legislature may consider extending it.

A 4% income-tax credit is also allowed.

Although the figures are still estimates, Clay says the final cost will likely be approximately $10,000.
“Our electricity bill averages about $100 a month,” he says. “Based on the figures available, I estimate our investment in photovoltaic, the system providing electricity, will be returned in eight years.”

Jim and Virginia Lopez, also Spanish Main residents, have also installed a photovoltaic system.

“We have always been concerned with conserving oil and gas, and this system is one way we can help,” Jim Lopez said.

The solar panels have been installed on the flat-roof surfaces of each of the homes. Each system has approximately 20 panels and are unobtrusive. The town of Longboat Key building inspectors have approved both installations.

Photovoltaic systems work in conjunction with existing electric companies (in this instance, Florida Power and Light).

“If at anytime the photovoltaic system isn’t generating sufficient power to adequately run the household, power from FPL kicks in,” Lopez said. “I expect (our FPL bill) will be less than 90% of our usual bill.”

The required FPL meters were installed last week, and both households are eager to see how the system works.

Contact Dora Walters at [email protected].

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