conservation notables

Reduce your Carbon Footprint - Choose Solar

By Mara Soloway | January 03, 2017
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Local entrepreneurs offer strategies to reduce, reuse, recycle

In Houston, individual efforts to cut down on the amount of waste we create can seem insignificant in the face of so many people using so many resources each day. The good news is that local entrepreneurs offer ways to help make Houston a more sustainable city in which to live.

REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT BY CHOOSING SOLAR ENERGY

Joey Romano, president of LocalSun Energy (localsunenergy.com), believes more people would use solar energy if given an easy way to do so. For Houston residents who move frequently or live in apartment buildings, it doesn’t make sense to put solar panels on their roof. But through LocalSun, area residents who wish to use sustainable energy can sign up for an electrical plan that relies on locally produced solar energy.

LocalSun has been creating solar energy since 2015 in Sealy, 50 miles west of Houston, using 15,000 solar panels that create approximately 2,600 megawatt hours (or 2.6 million kilowatt hours) per year. It is the first and only solar farm in the local CenterPoint Energy distribution system. LocalSun’s partner, MP2 Energy, manages to the power once it is produced, sending it to customers and managing accounts. At night or other times when the sun isn’t shining, MP2 Energy uses energy procured from the wholesale market plus renewable energy credits.

“For every kilowatt hour of solar energy that customers use, that’s one less kilowatt hour of power produced by gas or coal that is required on the local grid,” Romano says. “LocalSun customers reduce their carbon footprint and support clean energy.” Projects like Local-Sun can also benefit the local economy by driving more clean energy projects to the area with the resulting jobs and added revenues for local counties.

Solar produces energy at constant cost rate for the life of system, allowing the company to state that it will never charge more than 8 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced by its solar farms, no matter how long a customer stays with the company. With the cost of solar power going down and technologies continuing to improve, LocalSun says it will share the savings in future rates.

Right now LocalSun’s focus is residential in the Houston area. Romano says they would look at adding business clients. “It’s up to the Houston-area customers how we grow in the future. Our growth is dependent on people choosing to buy from local sources,” he says. “Our business is grassroots, but our clean power is utility-grade, cost effective and reliable.”

Article from Edible Houston at http://ediblehouston.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/reduce-your-carbon-footprint-choose-solar
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