First solar panels installed in Nacogdoches

Published: Jul. 31, 2014 at 10:09 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2014 at 10:17 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Perhaps it’s a bit ironic that it rains the day a solar power array, an arrangement of solar panels, is fully installed at Stephen F. Austin State University. Native Inc., the Austin based company doing the work isn’t worried. They know the sun will come out tomorrow or eventually.

“The array will be the primary source and any surplus energy created by the array will back feed the grid,” explained Chris Renner, solar operation manager for Native Inc.

The Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building will still be on the grid, but solar energy will offset the cost of any traditional energy source.

“Our goal is to constantly run it in such a way that we can almost be net zero on electricity,” said Dr. David Creech, SFA Director of Gardens and Professor Emeritus. Creech has a green thumb. Now he’s learning about green energy.

Once the system is activated all that’s needed is sunlight to beam down on the southerly pointed solar panels. Creech and others will monitor the energy data on a computer or even an I-Phone.

“And you can actually see how much is coming from the grid and how much is coming from the solar array,” said Creech.

The solar array is capable of generating 50 amps of power. In just the couple of the days took to install the panels several people asked, ‘How can I do this at my house?’

“It’s kind of changed where it used to be something people did as an expense to save the environment, but now it’s starting to make financial sense to a lot of people, so they’re starting to add arrays to their house to save money,” said Renner.

That enables people going to green to have extra money for a rainy day.

The solar system was paid for by a grant from Green Mountain Sun Club that funds non profits wanting to use solar energy.