Oklahoma is no stranger to using renewable resources for energy. You can see this with the plains filled with thousands of wind turbines. And it reflects statistically. In 2022, wind energy accounted for 44 percent of Oklahoma's total net generation. As a whole, Oklahoma generated 47 percent of its total electricity from renewable resources in 2022.

But what about solar energy? Oklahoma is one of the windiest states, but it's also known for lots and lots of sun.

Norman, Oklahoma, launched one of largest solar initiatives in the nation.

One Oklahoma city is planning on taking its renewable energy practices one step further. On March 21, Norman, Oklahoma, announced an initiative for its residents and businesses to go solar by 2025. This has now been considered one of the biggest solar initiatives in the nation.

The City of Norman has partnered with Oklahoma-owned business EightTwenty to launch the Norman Solar Initiative, which is "a five-month program that will unlock competitive discounts on American-made solar panels and installation for Norman residents, businesses and nonprofits." The goal is to convert two megawatts of power to annual roof-top solar production by 2025, which is what makes this initiative one of the nation's largest city-led solar campaigns.

What does this mean for other Oklahoma cities and solar energy?

Individuals and businesses across Oklahoma can install their own solar power through two primary methods - photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). According to the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment, these solar energy sources can be installed either on rooftops or ground mounts. The U.S. Department of Energy also offers a solar program to compete with costs of traditional electricity that is available to homeowners and businessowners in Oklahoma.

The only other city in Oklahoma that has offered an initiative similar to that of Norman is Oklahoma City, which in 2022 launched a group discount to residents and businesses who invested in solar energy.

As for the rest of Oklahoma, residents and businesses looking to add solar energy to their infrastructure will have to look for state or national solar energy initiatives for any kind of discount or grant. But maybe the recent solar initiative in Norman could pave the way for similar initiatives within other Oklahoma municipalities. Plus, with the climate changing, Oklahoma has an increased potential of solar energy. The state recently tied at sixth in the nation for solar power potential.

How much can Oklahomans save with solar energy?

Over the last five years, utility bills have been skyrocketing. They have become some of the most expensive bills in Oklahoma households. According to SaveOnEnergy.com, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average electric bill in the United States is $141.41, which is an average usage of 899 kWh. In Oklahoma, residents are paying on average $126.93 a month on electricity with an average usage of 1,155 kWh.

According to an article from Forbes, the cost of installing solar panels in Oklahoma can be a big cost up front. Depending on the size of the roof, solar panels on a residential home in Oklahoma could cost over $28,000. But the solar panels could eventually pay for themselves, starting at the 10 year mark. And after 20 years, Oklahomans could save an average of $26,212 in savings.

Although installing solar panels may not show immediate savings after installation, the savings will eventually stack up. But if more cities make similar initiatives like Norman, a majority of Oklahoma could make solar energy one the state's top energy resources.

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