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Partnership Makes Solar Project Twice As Nice

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Feature Article by Lindsey Bertrand, BEC Staff Writer

What began with a few remodeling projects in 2017 became a true transformation for the vacation home of Rick Robinson and Cindy Harper near Pipe Creek.

“As we started remodeling and tackling various projects after we bought the house,” said Robinson, “we asked ourselves, ‘What can we do today so that we don’t have to tackle it in the future?’”

The Robinsons’ answer was to replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones, including an automated HVAC system, and to install better insulation. They especially wanted to minimize their heating and air conditioning costs.

Robinson had been thinking about other ways to save energy when he began to encounter Bandera Electric Cooperative’s messages and articles about the benefits of solar energy systems.

After seeing the typical cost to cool the house during their first summer, Robinson thought, “Now’s the time to do this.” He then contacted BEC Solar for a quote and estimates on potential savings. “After reviewing BEC’s quote and supporting data, solar began to make more and more sense,” he said.

“At first I was curious to know how a co-op would compete in this market in terms of designing, installing and maintaining a solar energy system,” said Robinson. “What would BEC bring that would make them the best choice?”

Miguel Rivera, project engineer, and Andrew Edwards, BEC Solar manager of business development, answered that question by sharing BEC’s history and the charitable work BEC did in Africa and other places to bring power in the form of micro-grids to people who wouldn’t have it otherwise.

“We researched, came back to Mr. Robinson and proposed a system that could make a difference in his home’s consumption,” said Edwards.

Based on the Robinsons’ consumption data and their energy saving goals, the team proposed an 11-kilowatt system, and installation began in July 2018. Then the project hit a snag.

As they were mounting the first set of panels, installers noticed an area on the roof that needed replacing.
With the support of the BEC Solar team, the Robinsons decided to temporarily remove the panels so that the roof could be replaced. While the new roof was being installed, Rivera and Edwards investigated what it would take to expand the solar system on the new roof’s available area.

“Fate has an uncanny way of throwing you a pitch you can hit out of the park,” said Robinson.
Because of the BEC Solar team’s professional approach and thorough research, the Robinsons felt educated and were able to see the potential benefits of a larger solar energy system.

“It was a very easy decision to expand the system,” said Robinson. “We nearly doubled the size of our system, and it will do everything we want it to do.”

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With the cost of electricity in mind, the Robinsons felt that a solar system was a worthwhile investment to minimize their energy costs over time. Their 56 panels and two Tesla Powerwalls with 10 kW of energy storage capacity make their used and stored power quantities much more predictable.

“The service has been superb and professional all the way around,” said Robinson. “BEC staff were really on top of their game when we had to pause the original project. Beyond their technical and engineering expertise, they also provided excellent customer service.”

That combination of skill and service is the hallmark of BEC Solar, added Edwards.
“Working with BEC is a partnership,” said Robinson. “It’s worth your time to sit down with BEC, let them take a candid look at your property and provide you an honest assessment. Rely on that relationship and then build upon it.”

 

Posted: 6/28/2019 10:00:00 AM
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