How about a Hybrid Home?

Solar energy is nothing new, but an entire neighborhood equipped with solar panels? That's the plan for the new Discovery Gated Community in north Houston.

Solar panels use the sun's energy to create electricity. The more electricity the homeowner makes himself, the less he needs from the energy company. Craig Lobel is an energy consultant who says the new solar homes will save homeowners thousands over the years.

"We know as consumers electricity is not going down, so the more solar I have on my rooftop producing my own electricity prevents me from having to pay higher raters per kilowatt hour."

They're called solar homes, but they're really much much more. Energy saving appliances, windows, you name it, these homes will have it. The average home in this gated community will cost a little more than others, but Lobel says it will worth it in the long run.

"You do pay a little bit more for the home, but its offset by the 40 percent savings in utilities that you achieve every month every month."

Conroe's Brian Bagwell is a homeowner who likes the idea of using solar energy to save on electricity.

"Especially with gas prices rising the way they are, everything is expensive, even to drive to the gas station, so a cut on your electric bill would be a tremendous saving for the family I think, for my family anyways. Solar panel is the way to go these days."

Construction on the solar community is expected to begin shortly, with some homes being ready for move in as early as September.

Bill Stamps, KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.
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