PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Solar United Neighbors co-op has more than 50 new members who recently went solar after Hurricane Ian, hoping to prevent power outages in the event of another major storm.

Jack Vesey has two solar panel systems on his home in Coconut Creek.

“The benefits are a $30 a month electric bill,” Vesey said.

He told WPTV that going solar has saved him more than $300 a month and it comes in handy in the event of a power outage.

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Alex Hagan/WPTV

Jack Vesey explains how solar panel systems on his home save him more than $300 a month.

“I remember, I think it was Wilma, that hit us and we lost power for two weeks,” said Vesey.

WPTV also spoke with solar panel owner Ricky Carraway of Port St. Lucie on Friday.

“Every time I see them, it tells me it’s me,” he said.

Carraway said he took out a $40,000 loan for his solar system and between the loan payments and a spike in his insurance, he said he was spending more money each month.

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Alex Hagan/WPTV

Laura Tellez says more Floridians have joined the Solar United Neighbors co-op since Hurricane Ian.

“Somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$70 more dollars a month,” Carraway said. “So if you don’t look at the whole process, if you’re ignorant about it, you won’t know.”

While going solar isn’t for everyone, representatives from Solar United Neighbors told WPTV that more people have joined their community, especially the Palm Beach County co-op, since Hurricane Ian.

“One of the things that solar does is resilience in hurricanes, especially when you have solar paired with battery storage,” said Laura Tellez of Solar United Neighbors. “And so, I think being at the tail end of hurricane season, I think it’s been reminded that solar can provide that for us.

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Alex Hagan/WPTV

Solar panel owner Ricky Carraway says it’s a good idea to do your research before going solar.

That makes it worth the money for Vesey, but he agrees with Carraway that anyone interested in going solar should do their research before hiring an installer, because that can all the difference.

“I’ve seen panels on north facing houses and that’s not very profitable and that’s just because of bad companies out there doing business,” Vesey said.

“I think people should be more informed, be more educated,” Carraway said.

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