Our Favorite Solar Installations of 2021
January 3, 2022
Winter Storm Hero
Rob D. was the hero of a northwest Houston neighborhood during Winter Storm Uri in February of 2021.
Rob’s 22 SunPower solar panels provide 7.98 kW and offset 99% of his energy usage. Along with his Tesla Powerwall battery, his solar panels helped his family and neighbors keep the heat and lights on during the Texas Snowpocalypse.
“Neighbors were coming over to charge their phones. Our gas furnace worked fine on the Powerwall . . . Even on the cloudiest days, our panels still made enough energy to actually run the house without drawing down the battery,” says Rob.
Texas’s electrical grid stability continues to be uncertain. As a result, homeowners who protect themselves with alternative energy are in the best position to face future winter storms.
[Related: Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?]
Making the World Better for Our Grandkids
Unfortunately, a power outage led to Kimmy G.’s electricity being cut off as well on the southwest side of Houstin in September of 2021. But this time the outage was due to heat, not Winter Storm Uri.
Kimmy G. had been considering going solar for several years, but he finally made the switch to renewable energy in March of 2021. He partnered with Freedom Solar to install 34 SunPower solar panels (A-series, 410-watt) as well as a Tesla Powerwall. His solar project was completed in May, offsetting 95% of his electricity usage.
Kimmy G.’s powerwall was installed in September, ensuring that his family has power over the winter months regardless of any outages with Texas’s grid. “I have children and grandchildren…we want things to be good for them with the environment in the future,” says Kimmy G. on why he chose solar energy.
Driving Alternative Energy in the Bluegrass State
The automotive industry is experiencing rising trends in sustainability and electrification, specifically with electric vehicles (EV). The Swope Family of Dealerships in Elizabethtown, Kentucky is a third-generation family business that’s helping to lead the way in both areas.
Swope is taking control of their energy usage and planning ahead for the growing investments in EVs among many manufacturers through a grant that promotes alternative energy in rural America. The Swope Family of Dealerships installed 1,900 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels on Swope Toyota, Swope Hyundai, and Swope Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. These establishments are the first three solar-powered auto dealerships in Central Kentucky (not to mention Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum).
The systems will offset 1.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions each year thanks to their total energy capacity of more than one megawatt (MW). For example, this equates to planting 9,700 trees or replacing 128 gas-powered cars with EVs.
[Related: Home EV Charging vs. Public EV Charging]
Retirement Retreat With 360-Degree Solar Views
Darrell B. and his wife could have settled anywhere in the world when they became empty nesters. However, they decided to stay close to home. Darrell and his wife built a quiet treetop retreat on a property in southwestern San Antonio, Texas that has been in their family for generations.
Darrel is a geologist and the chairman of the San Antonio River Authority. As such, he takes pride in designing a modern, comfortable, and sustainable home that utilizes the natural features of the surrounding land. This includes a sophisticated thermal heating and cooling system using an underground aquifer, as well as solar panels that fully power the home.
The house is outfitted with 60 highly efficient SunPower solar panels capable of 415-watt energy generation. The panel array installation spanned three phases since Darrell added to the system over time to accommodate electricity usage. The 19.9 kW system ensures power supply for his family at the retreat for the next 100 years.
[Related: Tips to Save on Energy Costs]
Revered Texas Distribution Company Leaps Into the Future
With over a century in business, Fort Worth-based Ben E. Keith began selling Anheuser-Busch products in 1928. He is now the third largest independent beer wholesaler in the country. The company’s community leadership and commitment to sustainability continues this year as the Austin and Llano distribution centers became solar-powered.
Ben E. Keith Beverages installed a total of 4,440 solar panels across the two Central Texas locations. These panels offset two-thirds of the Austin facility’s energy usage (with a five-year return on investment). Llano is now the first commercial solar project in the city.
Together, the two systems will generate an annual 1.9 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy. That’s enough to power 244 homes and save almost $3 million in electricity costs over 25 years.
“Solar is an increasingly affordable, smart investment that will produce excellent cost savings,” says Jon Thompson, the Vice President of Ben E. Keith Beverage Operations. “We decided to move ahead now for reasons of financial and corporate sustainability.”
Solar-Powered Barn in the Hill Country
As a civil engineer, Ken H. understands the future of design and development better than most.
In 2018, he installed 32 X-series 350-watt SunPower solar panels and a 30kW generator on his Dripping Springs barn. After expanding his system this year, Ken now has 49 more solar panels filling the barn roof at his country property.
Ken H.’s solar power system has a 28.4 kW capacity and offsets his total electricity usage by 80%. The Texas Hill Country home now features a pond, above-ground rainwater tanks, and an impressive solar power array. All thanks to SunPower’s award-winning technology and aesthetics!
Austin FC Joins the Green Team
Austin, Texas welcomed its first major league professional sports franchise to town with Austin FC joining Major league Soccer (MLS). The Austin FC team immediately won over Austinites as the first MLS club in Texas with a local renewable energy partnership — Freedom Solar!
Freedom Solar is a proud partner of Austin FC. We then installed 134 SunPower solar panels on the south building roof of the $260 million state-of-the-art Q2 Stadium.
As a result, Q2 Stadium earned a LEED Gold Certification this year. We’re excited to take part in creating a more sustainable future for ATX as well as Austin FC. Welcome to the Freedom Solar family!
Contact Freedom Solar to Begin Your Solar Power Journey
If you’d like to learn more about Freedom Solar or how to make the switch to solar power at your home or business, contact us today. Call +1 (800) 504-2337 or request a quote through our online consultation form.