Texas energy company offers to install solar panels for free

Would you like to have energy-saving solar rooftop panels installed at your home, without any upfront cost?

If so, you're an electricity consumer TXU Energy wants to reach through a new program to be formally announced today. The Irving, Texas-based retail electricity provider is teaming up with a California-based company, SolarCity, to lease solar panels that will be installed for free.

For example, a 4-kilowatt solar array of about 20 panels, sufficient for a three-bedroom or four-bedroom home, would have an initial leasing cost of about $35 per month. A homeowner paying 12 cents per kilowatt-hour might reduce a monthly electric bill by $50 with the solar system, producing a net savings after the leasing fee, said John Geary, TXU Energy's vice president for innovation.

Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, estimated the solar panels would result in "a savings of between 15 and 20 percent" on electric bills. Rive and Geary noted that savings could vary depending on homeowners' electricity use and rate.

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