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Solar panels drop Richmond family’s energy bill to $8: ‘I can’t believe it!’

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Westover Hills family is seeing the environmental and financial benefits after installing solar panels onto the roof of their home.

Bruce Gould and his wife made the commitment to switch to solar power in January.

The Gould family chose Sigora Solar, which was founded in Waynesboro in 2011 according to the company's website. 

"The sun hits the cells, it makes electricity, and we use that electricity in real time," Gould described. "If we make more electricity than what we need, it goes back to the grid so our neighbors can use it."

The family's Dominion Energy bills are now lower than they've ever seen.

For example, in April 2018 the Gould's paid $100 for electricity. Their bill dropped to $7.98 in April 2019 after installing the panels.

The $7.98 accounts for Dominion Energy's cost of distribution services and the city's utility tax. Dominion Energy also offers a credit for electricity collected by the panels that went unused.

"The sun is here, the energy is free, you don’t have to transport it and worry about spills and fires and explosions," Gould said.

Gould said a 30 percent federal tax incentive helped his family make the switch which expires on December 31, 2019.

The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit will lower to 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021 and 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022.

The solar panels are financed through a loan and there are no payments for a year. Gould said after the tax incentives paying for the system will be cheaper than his electric bills in years past.

The cost of the system varies from house to house said Gould, who wished not to share his finances. Final prices depend on the number of panels and the size of your home.

But he believed the benefits go beyond money.

"We need to do something to help our children have a better place to be," Gould stated.

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