Sunshine Pushing Solar Energy

Sep 24, 2008 06:22 PM

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

SAPULPA, OK — Oklahoma has oil, but it has even more sunshine and that’s helping drive interest in solar energy. That’s helping one man go green.

On Wednesday, The News On 6 met with a retired petroleum geologist who has turned a corner on energy consumption. He sold his big truck and got a hybrid and has what is possibly the largest home solar energy system in the state.

Pat Graham is hooked on solar power.

“I cut my electric use by about 50%,” said Graham.

He covered his roof with 39 solar panels, which on a sunny day, generates 8,000 watts of power per hour. Graham believes it’s a good investment.

“You can spend some money and put some things on your roof and you’ve not only added value to your house but you’ve also added to your cash flow by cutting your utility cost,” said Graham.

Sun City Solar installed the system, which generates far more power than most people need.

“It all depends on your usage and it’s simple math, we come out and figure that out, some people need only 10 panels instead of 39,” said Seth Christ of Sun City Solar.

The system on Graham’s home has photo panels that make electricity and a thermal system that heats water for the pool. The regular pool pump runs water up to the roof, where it’s heated 10 degrees. That eliminates the gas water heater Graham was using.

“I’m pretty sure I’m saving about $1,000 a year on my gas bill,” said Graham.

The Graham house still needs the power grid for cloudy days and times when electricity usage is high.

An inverter in the garage makes it all work together.

“This technology came out about six or seven years ago,” said Christ.

Graham believes solar power is the future, a way to replace foreign oil and he believes a way to save money in the long run.

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