The future is bright for solar energy in Lubbock

The future is bright for solar energy in Lubbock

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

As part of his economic policies 'America First', President Trump is happy to levy import taxes on items he said can be made in the United States. One of those, a tariff on solar cells which could deliver another set back bow for green energy in West Texas. 

Chris Harrington with TriSmart Solar said only a few homes in Lubbock use solar energy, but the push to get LP&L into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas could change that. He said he is confident solar panels are the future.

"Solars are a great solution for us in the sense of the sun comes out," Harrington said. "The panels last a long time. We actually give a 25-year warrantee on the solar panels themselves. When you look at that, panels are, as far as length of time on a rooftop, you're looking at 40 years." 

With President Trump's tariff going into effect just this month, Harrington does not think it will be a sizable set back.

"We were actually looking at a higher percentage," Harrington said. "Originally we were looking at a 35 percent tariff. in this time its actually less expensive than what you pay for your electricity in most cases. that being said I think we are going to weather the storm. at the end of the day companies are resilient, it's just going to cause us to keep tighter margins."

Although there is a lot of optimism for panels in Lubbock, LP&L spokesmen Matt Rose said to be cautious when thinking about investing. 

"We always warn customers that are looking into solar panels, that they really need to take a look at what the cost of the investment of the solar panel is and put that up against what they are paying for electricity on a monthly basis because you want to make sure you know what the pay back for that investment is," Rose said.

As LP&L is working to merge with Ercot, It will provide more leeway for customers to install panels. 

"In terms of a system like ours, a city like ours, I believe those panels are going to get more and more efficient," Rose said. "So in turn I think the prices of these panels will go down even further and it will make more and more economic sense for individual customers to make that investment."

The tariff decreases by 5 percent each year until 2021. Harrington expects to see more solar panels in West Texas by then.

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