More Floridians going solar since Hurricane Ian

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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The Solar United Neighbors co-op has over 50 new members who recently went solar following Hurricane Ian, hoping to deter a power outage in the event of another big storm.

Jack Vesey has two solar panel systems at his home in Coconut Creek.

“The benefits are a $30 a month electric bill," Vesey said. "I mean nobody has that.”

He told WFLX going solar has saved him over $300 a month and it comes in handy in the event of a power outage.

“I remember, I believe it was Wilma, which hit us and we lost power for two weeks," said Vesey. "Pretty uncomfortable finding yourself in a no AC environment like that.”

WFLX also spoke with solar panel owner Ricky Carraway in Port St. Lucie on Friday.

“Every time I see them, it tells me that I’ve been had,” he said.

Carraway said he took out a $40,000 loan for his solar system and between the loan payments and a spike in his insurance, he said he’s spending more money each month.

“Somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$70 more bucks a month,” said Carraway. “So if you don’t look at the whole process, if you’re ignorant about it, you just won’t know.”

While going solar isn’t for everyone, representatives from Solar United Neighbors told WPTV more people have been joining their community, specifically the co-op in Palm Beach County, since Hurricane Ian.

“One of the things that solar does is resiliency in storms, especially when you have solar paired with battery storage," said Laura Tellez of Solar United Neighbors. "And so, I think being at the end tail of hurricane season, I think we’re reminded that solar can provide that for us.”

That makes it worth the money for Vesey, but he agrees with Carraway that anyone interested in going solar should do their research before hiring an installer, because that can make all the difference.

“I’ve seen panels on the north facings of homes and that’s just not very useful and that’s just because of bad companies out there doing business,” Vesey said.

“I think people should be well aware, become educated,” Carraway said.

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