Demystifying Solar Savings and Preparing for Winter

Paul C. Watson, the Chief Strategy Officer at NATiVE Solar, joined Studio 512 Co-Host Stephanie Gilbert to talk about demystifying solar savings, preparing for the winter, and your utility. The original article and interview can be found on the Studio 512 website.

Watson discussed NATiVE Solar’s consultative approach to alternative energy (solar, storage, energy efficiency) and presented ways for homeowners to pre-qualify their homes, as well as explained how to understand potential savings for a home energy system.

As a homeowner or even a small business, what should I be looking for to pre-qualify my home for alternative energy savings?

Watson said to start with your electricity bill and focus on the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Divide your total power bill (minus any taxes) by your total power consumption in kWh — all bills are different. If you’re in the range of 12-15 cents per kWh, your payback period could be 5-7 years, but numbers are subject to change.

We’ve heard about utility rate increases, and most of us remember what happened this year during the winter storm, but what should homeowners expect in terms of utility rates? Do you see increases?

“Yes, we’ve seen PEC increase rates, and expect rates to continue to increase as utilities attempt to cover losses from this February. And then you have uncertainty. Regardless of your position on climate change, our weather patterns are changing. I’m from Texas and have seen this first hand. So, we don’t know, but many of the challenges from the winter storm have not been solved. At the same time, many utilities are building in solar generation on their own. Our advice, prepare and know your options.”

solar savings

What is NATiVE’s role in all this?

“Well, NATiVE is a full-service solar company that was founded through net-zero home building almost two decades ago. Most offer sales or installation, and very few offer service. NATiVE offers a full-stack: sales, installation, and service. We also believe sales is not actually sales, but an educational platform. We are working on a project in Del Valle to showcase this, so stay tuned as we create more green career pathways and promote solar jobs in Austin, Texas, and beyond.”