Savvy Shopper: The lowdown on alternative energy sources –

by | May 1, 2022 | Energy

With statewide electricity outages last year and higher utility prices going forward, many have taken an interest in powering their home using solar and wind technology. Even before all the turmoil, I have always been intrigued by alternative energy and have had high hopes for it over the long run. For a variety of reasons, I am less-than-optimistic in the near-term. Along with cost, there are many factors that make economical home-grown power challenging in Lubbock.While I never say never regarding economically feasible solar (or wind), this article covers a few issues you might consider when exploring alternatives:• Utility rates: In 2002, Texas deregulated electric utilities and ushered in an era of rapidly rising complexity and prices. Fortunately, Lubbock was exempted from this scheme and enjoys relatively low rates compared to other areas. Although less expensive electricity is an unqualified benefit, it ironically diminishes renewable energy’s prospects. Where solar panels might be economically feasible if prices are running at 20 cents per kilowatt hour, a substantially lower rate can represent a death sentence for this option.• Incentives: States like California have been very aggressive in promoting green energy. When you consider that their incentives include tax breaks and subsidies provided by both the state government and utilities, home-based energy can pay off. In Lubbock, we don’t have these inducements. While federal tax credits are still available, they are being phased out and are not enough to render solar or wind economical. Although a lack of incentives is disappointing, I will still take a lower electricity rate over subsidies. • Buy back: As green energy varies with the availabil …

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