Solar Panels Reducing Homeless Shelter's Electric Bill

Faith Refuge in Wichita Falls is where homeless women and children take refuge.

The property has very little shade.

The air conditioning unit runs full steam ahead, which can cause the electric bill to soar but managers say these 100 solar panels are helping prevent that.

"We got them online in October 2012. Our energy bill on that date was about 50% more than it was the following month whenever we put them online," says Steve Sparks, executive director at Faith Refuge.

According to shelter officials, the utility bill would average about $40,000 a year.

These panels have not yet been in use for a full year and officials say they're powering more than half of the electrical items at Faith Refuge while saving an estimated $25,000 a year.

"Air conditioning, all the appliances in the kitchen that run off of electricity, all the lights all the computers. Everything that's electrical is on the grid here," Sparks says.

These panels would typically cost more than $1 million dollars but because of incentives, discounts and some subsidies, Sparks says the price tag was only $150,000, which makes the savings this shelter can generate on its electric bills priceless.

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