Sunshine Pushing Solar Energy

Sep 24, 2008 06:22 PM

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

SAPULPA, OK — Oklahoma has oil, but it has even more sunshine and that’s helping drive interest in solar energy. That’s helping one man go green.

On Wednesday, The News On 6 met with a retired petroleum geologist who has turned a corner on energy consumption. He sold his big truck and got a hybrid and has what is possibly the largest home solar energy system in the state.

Pat Graham is hooked on solar power.

“I cut my electric use by about 50%,” said Graham.

He covered his roof with 39 solar panels, which on a sunny day, generates 8,000 watts of power per hour. Graham believes it’s a good investment.

“You can spend some money and put some things on your roof and you’ve not only added value to your house but you’ve also added to your cash flow by cutting your utility cost,” said Graham.

Sun City Solar installed the system, which generates far more power than most people need.

“It all depends on your usage and it’s simple math, we come out and figure that out, some people need only 10 panels instead of 39,” said Seth Christ of Sun City Solar.

The system on Graham’s home has photo panels that make electricity and a thermal system that heats water for the pool. The regular pool pump runs water up to the roof, where it’s heated 10 degrees. That eliminates the gas water heater Graham was using.

“I’m pretty sure I’m saving about $1,000 a year on my gas bill,” said Graham.

The Graham house still needs the power grid for cloudy days and times when electricity usage is high.

An inverter in the garage makes it all work together.

“This technology came out about six or seven years ago,” said Christ.

Graham believes solar power is the future, a way to replace foreign oil and he believes a way to save money in the long run.


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National Sour Tour in Oklahoma and Arkansas

The public can view Solar Energy Installations in Tulsa and NW Arkansas during the 2008 National Solar Tour. For home and business owners interested in solar technology, the 13th Annual National Solar Tour on October 4th in Tulsa and October 11th in Bentonville, Arkansas will provide the opportunity to see commercial and residential solar energy projects across several  area counties.

 The nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is bringing together more than 5,000 homeowners, public agencies and business people across the U.S. to introduce tens of thousands of citizens to money-saving solar technologies, the largest grassroots solar event in the history of the U.S.

 The National Solar Tour includes a brief educational seminar and guided tours.

 The ASES National Solar Tour features real-life examples of how folks are using the latest solar technologies to 1) reduce monthly energy bills, 2) reduce harmful carbon emissions, 3) enjoy tax credits, and 4) increase property value.

 “Runaway energy costs is the economic issue Americans believe most personally affects them,” said Neal Lurie, Director of Marketing for ASES.

 The nationwide tours are slated for October 4th. This event is open to the public. Details on the specific dates and times of tours across the nation are at:

 What: ASES National Solar Tour

When: Tulsa, October 4th, 10:00 a.m., Arkansas, October 11th.

Where: Tulsa tour starts at: Sun City Solar, 6709 E. 81st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma,

Arkansas Tour starts at: NW Community College, Shewmaker Center, Bentonville, Arkansas

Price: Free

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Solar Rebates and their Effect on Small Business

Solar Rebates and their Effect on Small Business

With all the publicity about the push for energy independence and “going green,” it is easy to assume that solar energy products practically sell themselves.  This may hold true on the West coast, or in states with added incentives to encourage solar investment, but not so for all states.

The misconceptions may stem in part from the 30% tax credits offered by the Federal government for investing in solar energy.  These rebates directly benefit the consumer.1 There are no rebates offered to those of us marketing solar energy products.   As a matter of fact, the company must pay excise tax on all solar energy equipment delivered from another state.  Most solar equipment is manufactured in California and the cost to ship products to the middle of the country remains high, not to mention the overhead required to operate a small business.  Add costs for marketing, insurance and labor and you can see how the costs can add up in a hurry.  Ina global economy, even small business must keep their profit margins low in order to remain competitive.

Sun City Solar Energy has been in business since 1983, and the company is proud to be the most experienced and knowledgeable provider and installer of quality solar equipment in the area.  As such, Sun City Solar is contacted on a regular basis by individuals, architects, engineers, municipalities, electricians, plumbers and other professionals seeking information about the proper design, layout, equipment specifications, sizing and numerous other questions about solar energy.  Although we are happy to promote solar energy, giving this information to individuals, companies, agencies and design professionals for free does nothing to keep our doors open.

Small businesses new to solar have a very steep learning curve, especially if the owners believe they can take advantage of stimulus money available for renewable energy.  As taxpayers, we are grateful the government accepts only the lowest bid for the solar applications for local, state and federal government projects.  The bottom line is that only large companies able to buy equipment in bulk at discount prices will be able to win a low bid government project.  And there is no guarantee that because a company is large, the margin for error decreases.  Sun City has been able to capitalize on redesign and repair of systems installed by companies both large and small.

There are the programs funded by the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), which are publicized specifically to benefit small businesses.  These programs have fallen far short of their intentions.  Solar is a relatively new technology, and some of the government projects sent out to bid are not properly designed or specify correct equipment.  Small businesses that win a low bid further complicate the problem because they do not have the knowledge or experience to properly execute the project.  The end result is that a small business may win the battle, but lose the war.  In other words, the small business will win the bid, add revenue to their bottom line, but go out of business because they are not profitable. Also, a company that bids the job too low ends up substituting inferior products in an effort to keep the overall cost within the amount bid.  Often, this ends up being a lose / lose situation for small businesses and the government.  The government ends up getting an inferior product and the small business loses money because they are not familiar with the equipment and/or installation, do not include all the system products, or are unable to provide the extensive warranties required by the government.

A recent study ranking 160 countries according to their dedication to the promotion of environmental stewardship ranked the US 61st on the list.  As a whole, Americans are not willing to change their lifestyle for short or long term benefits.  Sun City Solar Energy has devoted many decades to promoting, encouraging and providing quality solar energy systems to improve the quality of life for our customers and future generations.  It has been a challenging, interesting and rewarding journey.  We encourage you to learn about the benefits of solar and become part of the solution for energy independence at

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
– Henry David Thoreau

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Sun City Solar Energy Adds Fort Smith, AR Dealer

Sun City Solar Adds Fort Smith, Arkansas Dealer

 Due to customer demand in Fort Smith, AR and Southwest Oklahoma, Sun City Solar Energy, LLC of Tulsa has expanded their dealer base to the Mid South region. The continued support for solar energy from the current administration, including the extension and expansion of the Federal tax credits, offers a unique opportunity to fill the Mid-South communities solar energy needs.

“The acceleration of new technologies, the need to diversify the country with sustainable alternatives to oil and gas, and the continuous improvement of our products and services supports the need for solar dealers in the area,” stated Pam Speraw, Director of Sun City Solar’s Business Development. “The addition of Fort Smith’s resident Chris Trager to our family of solar dealers is an excellent fit for Sun City Solar.” When asked about opening another office considering the current business climate, Ms. Speraw explained that “The economic conditions have added fuel to the solar energy business. Chris Trager and Rodney Ristow along with the customers we serve in Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Texas, realize this is a perfect time to invest in owning your own utility company by using free energy from the sun.”

The public is invited to attend a free educational solar energy seminar on May 7th at 6:30 p.m. at 110 Folsom Blvd., Pocola, Ok.

 About Chris Trager

Mr. Trager is a Manager of the Mid-South dealership, and brings twenty years of experience in the construction business to the Sun City Solar family. Chris was most recently the Director of Business Development for SSI Incorporated of Fort Smith, and also has a background in construction supervision.

 Sun City Solar Energy has been offering a variety of solar energy products to customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas since 1983. As solar energy specialists and professionals, Sun City is committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. SCSE installs the highest quality products, offers continuous dealer and customer support, and is focused on promoting cleaner, greener and energy independent communities for generations to come. For further information, visit or call Chris Trager at (918) 436-611

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Sun City Solar Energy Expands to Sherman, TX


Texas- Sun City Solar Energy today announced their expansion into North Texas, a move that will help position the Company to take full advantage of opportunities in the highly viable North Texas solar marketplace. Richardo M. Ayala, a senior engineer with Texas Instruments, and Richard Ayala, with 5 years in loans and auto sales, and Chris Mitchell, with nine years in retail management will operate the dealership. Their grand opening celebration was January 10th .The opening will included a 30 minute educational solar energy seminar, refreshments and networking.

“Over the past 16 months we have developed a business model for Sun City Solar and have made significant progress in implementing our model in Oklahoma and Arkansas, despite the challenging economic environment, stated Pamela Speraw, Director of Business Development for Sun City Solar. Speraw added that she is pleased to welcome Ricardo, Chris and Richard to Sun City Solar as they embark on their next phase of growth.

The Sherman Texas office is the fourth location for Sun City Solar. Ricardo Ayala conducted extensive research regarding options for renewable energy. “I believe Sun City Solar is committed to their customers and will establish us as a leading provider of highly integrated solar solutions, “said Mr. Ayala.”I look forward to delivering energy independence to North Texas, providing optimum value to our customers, and improving our community.”

About Ricardo Ayala – Over the past 32 years, Mr. Ayala held several positions with Texas Instruments. The past nine years he served as a senior product engineer developing new products and patents.

About Chris Mitchell – For 14 years, Chris Mitchell has served as assistant store manager for two large firms, concentrating on customer service. Mr. Mitchell is also involved in many social and civic activities in North Texas.

About Richard M Ayala – Richard M Ayala obtained a BBA degree with a double major in financial and economic from Texas Tech in 2004. After his graduation, he went to work for Wells Fargo financial as a credit manager. After two years with Wells Fargo, he took a new position as an internet sales manager with Classic Pontiac, Buick and GMAC of Carrollton.

About Sun City Solar Energy– Sun City Solar Energy designs, distributes and installs cutting edge solar energy technologies and equipment in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. Sun City intends to capitalize on its 25 years of residential and institutional knowledge of solar energy to improve the standard of living and quality of life for those who live and work in the region. For more information please visit

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Solar Power Slashes Electric, Hot Water Bills Significantly!

Solar Power Slashes Electric, Hot Water Bills Significantly

By Robert Bell – 7/14/2008

Solar thermal systems can reduce the hot water bill of some businesses by as much as 75 percent to 80 percent, and pay for themselves in a matter of a few years, said John Gerrard, owner of Sun City Solar Energy of the Ozarks, based in Springdale.

Gerrard became a dealer in September for Sun City Solar Energy of Tulsa. He spent six months training with the Tulsa team and consults with them often.

“Our first major commercial deal was World Gym in Lowell,” he said. “We’re doing their thermal apps for the pool and hot water, with a 21-panel pool heater and a 12-panel hot water heater with four 120-gallon tanks.”

For businesses that use a lot of hot water, a solar thermal system can equate to big savings. The tax incentives are also a factor.

Homeowners who install solar systems can get a tax credit of up to 30 percent with a cap of $2,000.

“On commercial, it’s an even a stronger incentive,” Gerrard said. “It’s 30 percent with no cap. On a $100,000 investment in a solar energy system, your tax credit would be $30,000, which you can take back one year or carry forward 20 years.”

Solar hot water systems and solar electric setups make up the bulk of Gerrard’s business, in addition to a fair number of solar powered attic fans, which can lower the need for AC.

The price for photovoltaic cells – which absorb and convert the energy of the sun into the alternating current used in homes and businesses – has actually come down somewhat in recent years because more of them are being produced.

Many people start out with a solar hot water system and, once they start to see the savings, move on to installing solar electrical systems, Gerrard said.

Gerrard worked on a project in Tulsa installing an $80,000 solar electric system on the home of an oil geologist, who will likely receive credits from the power company for putting excess electricity back onto the grid.

Some questions Gerrard answers frequently have to do with whether the solar panels are vulnerable to hail (they’re not) and if they work on cloudy days (they do) or in the rain (not as much).

Adding batteries to store electricity can add between 30 percent and 40 percent to the cost of a solar electrical system, Gerrard said.

But with battery backup, a home or business owner could operate with minimal reliance on the grid.

The Sun City Solar team installed such a system at one client’s house and said he would be able to run the basic appliances such as lights and refrigerators during a blackout, ice storm or other event that knocked out power.

Gerrard mentioned a retired couple that contacted him about installing a solar hot water system. They had crunched the numbers and found that investing in solar power would yield a better return than the certificates of deposit they had been investing in.

Another advantage of solar electrical systems is that they’re usually producing the most electricity during peak summer hours, when the sun is brightest, the temperature is highest and the power companies are charging the most for juice.

Copyright © 2008, Arkansas Business Limited Partnership. All Rights Reserved.

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Solar Power Interest Growing

Sun City Energy of Tulsa believes solar power is the future. They share their message with interested homeowners.
Sun City Energy of Tulsa believes solar power is the future. They share their message with interested homeowners.

In South Tulsa, a group met to plan some bold moves. They’re learning more about solar power in an attempt to free themselves of skyrocketing utility bills.

Sun City Energy of Tulsa believes solar power is the future. They share their message with interested homeowners.

“We’re very passionate about helping America become energy independent. And we think that every home should own a portion of their own utility,” said General Manager of Sun City Solar Energy, Deanna Christ.

“I want to make sure that I’m doing what I need to be doing for the environment. Plus, I got hit with a couple of $400 gas bills over the winter and that was just for hot water,” said Christella Chavez, who is interested in solar power.

America is now being gripped by the high energy costs Europe has been facing for years, but has been slow in changing.

“8% of the country is on solar power, whereas Germany, which has the same amount of sunlight as the state of Michigan, is 55%,” said Christ.

But, for more and more Green Country homeowners, becoming your own utility company is looking more and more attractive.

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