Solar Panels ‘responsible thing ‘ to do

Keener Oil solar panels ‘responsible thing’ to do

Courtesy / Keener Oil & Gas Co.

Solar panels atop the Keener Oil & Gas Co. building could sometimes produce enough electricity for sale to AEP-PSO.

By JASON WOMACK Tulsa World Staff Writer
3/18/2008

Putting a row of solar panels along the south side of his office building was a way of demonstrating that alternative energy is important and practical, oilman Dewey Bartlett Jr. says.

Bartlett, president of Keener Oil & Gas Co., had the panels installed last week after years of contemplating how he could best use energy sources other than fossil fuels.

“It’s a responsible thing for us in the energy industry to do,” he said. “We’re not just focused on oil and natural gas.”

The installation marks a first for American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma. Keener Oil & Gas, 1648 S. Boston Ave., is the utility’s only commercial customer in Tulsa to tie into its grid on a two-way basis.

“This is the first commercial customer set up to send power back to us,” said AEP-PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford.

On days when Bartlett’s building does not use all the power collected by the panels, the energy actually will be transferred into the utility’s system. The building’s meter will run backwards, and Keener Oil’s electricity bill will be credited. But on most days, the solar panels will supplement the power that Keener purchases from AEP-PSO.

Bartlett expects to shave up to 30 percent off the company’s electricity bills, which run $800 to $1,200 per month.

And the utility couldn’t be happier.

Whiteford said AEP-PSO encourages energy efficiency among its customers and is in the process of developing a demand-side management program, which will include incentives for customers who take steps to conserve electricity.

Bartlett anticipates that Keener Oil will eventually be able to recoup its investment of about $40,000 to install the solar panels and related equipment atop the building. The total expense will also be reduced through tax benefits that he says will total about $17,000.

“If we get paid back in five years, I’ll be happy,” Bartlett said.

Sun City Solar Energy LLC installed the panels. Pamela Speraw, general manager of the Tulsa-based company, said more and more people are becoming interested in using solar energy to power their homes and businesses.

The outfit has installed solar panels for a number of Tulsa clients and, over the last year, has opened offices in Oklahoma City and Springdale, Ark.

Speraw said that many of Sun City’s customers are concerned about U.S. reliance on foreign sources of energy.

“They’re interested in Americans becoming more energy independent,” she said.

Sun City Solar has also garnered interest from those in the traditional energy industry.

“People in the energy industry know we are not finding new reserves” as rapidly as before, she said.

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