PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — With the cost of living increasing substantially since the pandemic, the budgets of families have been hit hard.
WPTV looked at how some people are finding ways to fight back against the rising costs of living under the Florida sun.
For some homeowners who are looking to save some money, they only had to look up at the sky.
"Well, I looked into it. It seemed very, very economical, down here with the sun," Mark Boos said. "We are in the Sunshine State."
Boos recently had solar panels installed on the roof of his St. Lucie County home — facing south and west to give him all the power he and his wife need.
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"It just makes a lot of sense," his wife, Lisa Boos, said. "You’re getting free energy, pretty much. Obviously, you have to pay for the panels."
And it's not cheap, but the Boos family points out that with financing, they're paying $150 a month for the panels.
Before installing the panels, their electric bill was double at $300 a month, and their Florida Power and Light bill now is ridiculously low.
"[Our FPL bill is] $8 a month, $9 a month, and that's running our A/C, our pool pump, lighting, televisions, dishwasher," Mark Boos said.
They still need power from FPL after the sun goes sets, but there are also tax breaks involved for solar.
And with so many sunny days, Florida residents are turning more to solar power to save money when everything is costing more these days.
"It's really hard to go off the grid altogether because of course you're giving up a lot of convenience," Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at Nerd Wallet, said.
Palmer said if the numbers work out, big changes like solar can save money. Average costs can run from $10,000 to well over $30,000 depending on the size of the system. It’s important first to review your electric bill and the cost of installation.
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"Solar panels might seem like a really daunting step to some people, but there are smaller steps, for example, replacing your big appliances in your home," Palmer said. "Oftentimes if we have old appliances, like an old refrigerator, washer and dryer, they're actually sucking in a lot more energy than the newer models, and so in some cases replacing those is a big upfront cost but it quickly pays itself off, and you end up saving money because it’s using so much less energy."
And there are also other things that she recommends like cutting services — both inside and outside the home — that cost money. As for the Boos family, they’re now thinking of using solar to save even more.
"If you want to get into backup power to power your home at night, they do sell battery backup units, which we’re going to look into the end of this year," Boos said.
So, for some homeowners, getting off the electrical grid and using the Florida sun for power can be a way to avoid being priced out of paradise.
ADDITIONAL HOUSING RESOURCES
- County-by-county resources for renters facing eviction
- OUR Florida - Emergency Rental Assistance Relief Program
- Palm Beach County Department of Housing and Economic Development
- Palm Beach County Community Services
- Boca Raton
- St. Lucie County
- Martin County
- Indian River County
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