Solar use among homeowners is on the rise - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

More people turning to solar to save on utility bills

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According to a new report on solar use in the Country, North Carolina had the second largest increase in solar capacity last year. According to a new report on solar use in the Country, North Carolina had the second largest increase in solar capacity last year.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - More people in North Carolina turned to solar energy in 2013, making it a record year.

According to a new report on solar use in the Country, North Carolina had the second largest increase in solar capacity last year.

The Tar Heel state is now behind California, overtaking both Arizona and New Jersey.   

Much of the increase is attributed to companies like Strata Solar that have 100 North Carolina solar farms in operation right now. Also industrial installations of solar have increased, including the 200 one panels recently placed on the roof of this bio-tech firm in Brunswick County. 

Even more homeowners are expected to enter the solar market, in an effort to offset heating and cooling bills from the power companies. 

When Lee Martin, a certified public accountant, looked at what his utility bill was each month, he investigated installing a solar system. With the initial investment, he discovered what tax credit he would be receiving, and how it would take to recoup his capital outlay. He also found the figures added up quickly and solar was the way to go. 

"The numbers looked like, after taxes and everything, it looked like about $8,000 for the entire system, and it probably saving about $200 a month," explained Marin. "So, you figure in three or three and a half years, it has paid for itself, and I am kind of making money on the back end."

John Donoghue, of Cape Fear Solar Systems, says there is a wide range of solar panels available to homeowners that will provide power output. A key part for homeowners to consider when looking at a solar installation is exactly where the solar panels will give you the maximum amount of sunlight.   

"Look for a roof surface on your house that is facing from southeast to southwest that is not on the front of the house, which will give us an un-shaded surface for us to install these panels on," said Donoghue. "These are going to turn out to be investments that are going to offer returns of better you would get from an associated level of risk."

Donoghue says many home contractors are now considering the use of solar in the pre-construction phase of new home plans, a sign that more people are recognizing how the sun can help cut down on their utility bills each month.

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